When does a trend’s final nail come? Is it when it be clears on the cover of the New Yorker? Or is it when it is turned into a children’s toy? Dialect mayhap worringly for the man-bun, both have struck in the same week.
Ken, long-time consort to Barbie, has unprejudiced been released in a new series of incarnations, as Mattel seeks to restock the couple – who are increasingly being harassed and marginalised by modern congruence politics. Among his fresh looks is the bun.
“Brooklyn’s eccentricities are an constant font of inspiration for a guy in my line of work,” says artist Peter de Sève, who drew this week’s New Yorker include, featuring a man in a tank top furiously reworking his locks into a topknot at his depict.
We long ago passed the “they’re selling hippy wigs in Woolworths, maaan” shake. In 2015, Asos announced “clip-on man buns” as an April Fools’ caricature, but the truth was that Amazon had already been selling them.
But thingumajigs take time to percolate. For the bun, it has been a long journey to irrelevance. In Daimabad, India, an archaeological hole of third millennium BC bronzes yielded an artefact picturing a man with a bun guiding two oxen, with no fewer than four cobra hoods uplifting up around his penis. The coolness die was cast.
Soon enough (a few thousand years later) the archaic Chinese had their own version. It wasn’t long (a few hundred years) in the vanguard Buddha himself could be seen on a statue in Kashmir with his mane in a bun. Nirvana had never looked so now. Fast-forward past 1300s Maori, Edo term Japanese Samurai, David Beckham and Jared Leto, and you make ones appearance at Zayn Malik sporting and removing his man-bun inside the terminal month. Car company Kia’s latest US campaign self-consciously contains one. That’s lucid: Kia.
It cannot be long before it is culturally codified with its own emoji, thereby sealing it as shorthand for a hipness that has passed it by.
Of by all means, for 97% of men, the trend was always going above their heads. The amounts of confidence, nous and hair involved precluded them. Identical to a Davos summit of fashion, this was a trend that no more than pretended to be concerned with ordinary folk. Yet, as with Davos, its symbolism has had an bearing on everyone’s lives. If its elevation to the New Yorker and Ken doll suggests the man-bun is on the way out, then the pendulum purposefulness swing away from its polyamorous wavy-gravy vision of masculinity.