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Why Is Long Hair In for Male Models This Season?

Darlin', don't you go and cut your hair.

The styling at Tommy Hilfiger's runway shows might, in a typical year, be charitably described as classic, or even conservative. And, yet, this year — even though his spring 2012 menswear collection was hardly a departure from his usual preppy standbys — many of the men who walked the runway for Hilfiger were sporting flowing locks, hovering somewhere around shoulder-length, or even longer. The long-haired look also popped up in varying degrees at Perry Ellis, Simon Spurr, Lanvin, Tim Hamilton, Nicholas K., Marc Jacobs, and Steven Alan.

For at least a few of those designers, the long-haired look isn't especially at odds with their edgier aesthetic; but, taken as a whole, it looks as if the clean-cut male model with the Don Draper vibe might be on the way out. Taylor Hendrich, director of the men's division at DNA Model Management, said that his long-haired "boys" had gotten more gigs and more interest than the short-haired models that the agency represents. "Men's fashion in the past few years had been based solely on very clean, handsome, and beautiful men," said Hendrich. "Finally, the trends are starting to change, and with that has come longer hair and more editorial faces."

So, do all of the long-haired men on the runways have anything to do with the rotten economy? Almost certainly not, although women's skirt lengths are, quite famously, an economic indicator reflecting the national mood — short in the boom times, longer in a downturn.

But consider this theory: Lately, we've seen a lot of guys in expensive suits and short haircuts behaving badly. Between the Wall Streeters clutching their faces in worry at the tanking economy and the Washingtonians on C-Span debating the debt-ceiling with the maturity of middle-schoolers, it wasn't exactly a great summer for The Man — and so, who wants to look like him? It's especially telling that a designer like Hilfiger felt the need to separate himself from the clean-cut look and embrace just a whiff of a counterculture. Maybe even corporate types don't want to look like other corporate types these days. After all, Don Draper himself didn't look so imitation-worthy last season.


Complete coverage of the Spring 2012 shows here.

Related: The Prettiest Boy in the World

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Photo: Imaxtree