Barclays is in the midst of a scandal over benchmark interest rates. Political unrest in Syria has seen bomb attacks going off in Damascus. And Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise have called it quits. Clearly, the apocalypse is upon us. What’s a girl to do?
Well, if you’re one of the myriad celebrities who have trotted out hairstyles in unnatural shades and shapes more akin to the outrageous residents of the Capitol in the Hunger Games than your average red carpet, apparently the answer is to turn to the bottle—of dye, that is—or electric shaver.
At a Serpentine Gallery Summer Party last month, the Kills’ Alison Mosshart arrived with strands in an ombre ranging from rose petal pink to rusted blood red. Kelly Osbourne recently debuted a purple mane, a change from her previously, purposefully greyish tone. And of course, Katy Perry has long been flying the flag for Crayola-hued enthusiasts the world over with her ever-evolving locks.
Perry’s bold choices come courtesy of Manic Panic, the barrier-breaking hair color company founded in 1977 by New York native sisters Tish and Snooky (the singer’s preferred blue was their Shocking Blue shade, while her purple was a combo of Ultra Violet, Purple Haze and Electric Amethyst).
“With the economy being in the dumper, I think people gravitate towards color,” says Snooky (Manic Panic offers vegan, semi-permanent dyes in every shocking hue imaginable).
Adds Tish, “When we first started Manic Panic, all our friends were going in and out of the building with different colored hair and the landlady said, ‘It scares the old people, you and your friends with green hair!’”
Just imagine what said landlady would make of all the girls who have been shaving random patches of their heads. Rihanna showed up at the Met Gala with an elaborate updo’ that showed off the side patch of hair she’d shaved, while It Girl Michelle Harper has been working a side-shaved-meets-ninja-top-knot look. Model Daria Werbowy lopped off her locks into a choppy bob with an undercut and a thin blonde braid-cum-rattail. And the musician Robyn recently sported what Erin Anderson, co-founder of Williamsburg’s Woodley & Bunny salon, calls “faux chops”: long straight side burns dangling from an otherwise cropped bowl cut. What does Anderson make of all these Mad Max-esque antics?
“These ladies are in so many pigeon holes about how they should look and act, this is their way of a little rebellion,” says Anderson, who sports an undercut herself (out of necessity—it’s a bulk-reducing technique for thick hair that she picked up at Vidal Sassoon in London). “Just the feeling of that clipper on your head is liberating. Once the metal hits your head and it’s on and that hair is gone… it’s probably hard to stop at that one patch.”
Photos: Kelly Osbourne, Rihanna, Robyn: Getty Images; Alison Mosshart: TK; Michelle Harper: Sherly Rabbani & Josephine Solimene