High Fashion Pigtails: The New Symbol of Innocence Lost

"Twirl on them haters."

Tough. Mean. Snoop Dogg. Not exactly references or adjectives one would expect to be included in a conversation about pigtails. The hairstyle seemingly associated with the age of innocence has taken a drastic turn, as sweetness is routinely swapped for “strict” braids and a badass attitude. Pigtails today—as seen on both the runway and red carpet A-listers—are less virginal Catholic schoolgirl…and more Catholic schoolgirl skipping class and smoking in the bathroom. 

Yesterday at Creatures of the Wind, hairstylist Anthony Turner crafted two, tight inverted plaits. “Every other season here we’ve been a little romantic—there’s always been a little bit of fluff or [the look] is a bit disheveled,” said the pro. “This season we’re swapping that completely and doing something really hard.” Influenced by street culture and photos of Snoop Dogg (“They loved his hair,” noted Turner of the designers’ rapper beauty inspo), the mane master worked Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Full Form Mousse through models’ strands to give hair “guts” and prevent any flyaways or “fluffies” before braiding. Coupled with a two-tone “bitchy lip” by makeup artist Mark Carrasquillo (comprised of NARS Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte and Velvet Lip Glide in La Palace and No. 54), the finished package was a “smash of cultures,” said the face painter. “I live in a city that’s very urban, so I like when girls steal from each other.”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen pigtails on the runway, as the style made appearances at Chanel, Miu Miu, Giles, and Marni for Spring ’16. Mane master Sam McKnight referred to Karl Lagerfeld’s interpretation as the “double catogan” or “ponytail X2,” and you better believe those aluminum barrettes are going to set you back a lot more than the colorful, plastic baubles of preschool past. The same can be said for Miu Miu’s version, which Miuccia Prada paired with sheer negligees fit for a “sexy salon.” 

Off the catwalk, the entire Kardashian clan is getting in on the double braid action, as is Hailey Baldwin, Shanina Shaik, and Lily Aldridge. Beyoncé sent a political message through her plethora of natural and textured hairstyles in her new “Formation” video, which included two thigh-grazing braids that can be effectively used to “twirl on them haters.” 

Pigtails have evolved from a saccharine style rooted in youth to a grown-up bad girl look. Now, as Turner said backstage of COTW, two braids tell the world that a woman “means business.” 

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