It was a crime against good taste, loved by footballers and cheesy celebrities. So what on earth has sparked its unlikely return of the 80s mullet?

It was a crime against good taste, loved by footballers and cheesy celebrities. So what on earth has sparked its unlikely return of the 80s mullet?

As a good GP engaged on an Military base within the village of Bovington, Dorset, Dr Alastair Bush would usually anticipate to observe sure guidelines.

Order is strictly enforced within the army and there are insurance policies in place in the case of self-discipline, manners and look.

However there may be one rule Dr Bush is completely happy to flout — and he does so with unashamed flamboyance.

For the previous two years he has been rising a thick, tawny mullet, cascading down his again in luscious, free-flowing curls.

Whereas his younger sufferers have watched on in envy, the 45-year-old doc’s mullet — now a powerful 30cm — has develop into the speaking level of the bottom. Nevertheless it will not be right here for for much longer.

In two weeks Alastair and his novelty coiffure will journey 10,600 miles to Kurri Kurri, a small city two hours’ north of Sydney, Australia. The rationale? Mulletfest, a world occasion by which greater than 8,000 rivals vie for the coveted title of Finest Mullet — and the place Alastair, who’s utilizing the problem to lift cash for Testicular Most cancers UK, hopes to carry the medal residence for Britain.

Bad hair g'day: Jason Donovan

Hanging fashion: Chris Waddle (left); Dangerous hair g’day: Jason Donovan (proper)

A long story: Dr Alastair Bush has for the past two years been growing a thick, tawny mullet, cascading down his back in luscious, free-flowing curls

A protracted story: Dr Alastair Bush has for the previous two years been rising a thick, tawny mullet, cascading down his again in luscious, free-flowing curls

It’s, irrespective of the way you have a look at it, an totally ridiculous feat and even perhaps extra ridiculous that photos of Alastair’s flowing mullet have made headlines in nearly each nationwide paper this week.

As he places it: ‘It is a pretty low bar to enter. All I’ve needed to do is develop my hair.’

However this rural GP’s journey to fully-fledged mullet-wearer has captured one thing of a phenomenon in fashionable grooming.

For his is way from the one mullet being proudly sported on the streets of Britain. From catwalks to school rooms — with a specific growth amongst teenage schoolboys who’re flocking to barbers of their droves with outdated photos of David Bowie and Jason Donovan on their smartphones — mullets are in all places you look.

Fashions with mullets have been noticed on the runways in London and Milan, gracing the collections of designers together with Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen. Younger actresses together with Emilia Schule — who just lately starred as French queen Marie Antoinette — have additionally been experimenting with the look.

The fashion that launched a thousand 80s hair disasters has been taken on by TV heartthrobs, too: Regular Folks’s Paul Mescal sported one on the Bafta crimson carpet this yr and Dacre Montgomery, who performed Billy within the hit Netflix sequence Stranger Issues, has been credited with single-handedly making the mullet cool once more.

Hair salons the Mail spoke to —from Exeter to Edinburgh — say they’ve seen a surge in requests from shoppers, with one senior barber chopping extra mullets within the final two years than she has up to now twenty years.

On-line, curiosity within the retro look is booming: on video-sharing platform TikTok there are greater than 10 billion views for the time period ‘mullet’ whereas Google recorded 2.24 million searches for it worldwide up to now 12 months.

For what’s, frankly, an terrible throwback, there’s quite a lot of love on the market for the mullet. So what’s behind this weird obsession?

Famend hairdresser George Northwood, who counts Rachel Weisz, Alexa Chung and Alicia Vikander amongst his A-list shoppers, says it is a ‘quintessential fashion’, paying homage to ‘hair icons’ akin to Debbie Harry and Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. ‘I’ve seen an uptick in shoppers referencing mullet-type cuts, akin to shags or Seventies and Eighties kinds,’ he tells the Mail. ‘This constructed since we reopened after lockdown.

‘Our clientele are into the rather more wearable, much less extreme tackle the pattern, with flattering layers and an announcement fringe. My shoppers do not use the terminology “mullet”. They are saying they need it a bit lengthy, however a bit brief, choppier, with extra layers and shaggier.’

George, who admits to as soon as having a mullet himself (full with extensions) says the ‘undone method’ is common because it means fewer journeys to the hairdresser.

‘It is rather more forgiving and appears extra easy and wearable when it is grown out barely.’

Actor Paul Mescal (pictured at the 2023 BAFTAs in London in February) sporting a mullet

Actor Paul Mescal (pictured on the 2023 BAFTAs in London in February) sporting a mullet

Mullets everywhere: Actress Emilia Schule (pictured at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival) with a mullet hair-do

Mullets in all places: Actress Emilia Schule (pictured on the 2023 Cannes Movie Pageant) with a mullet hair-do

This low-maintenance side appealed to the aptly-named Dr Bush, who began his mullet mission in the summertime of 2021, when his standard hairdresser was closed throughout lockdown. ‘My nephew and his associates from college began rising mullets after they could not get a trim, and one Christmas we had been chatting and looking out on the web after I got here throughout this competitors,’ he explains. ‘It seemed like quite a lot of enjoyable.’

As somebody who’d all the time had a wise short-back-and-sides, it wasn’t the feat itself that involved him, however the attitudes of associates and work colleagues.

‘My hair’s fairly thick so I wasn’t fearful about with the ability to do it, it was extra about whether or not I might endure the search for so lengthy,’ he explains, including: ‘My male associates prefer it however my feminine associates are typically much less enthusiastic. There appears to be fairly a powerful gender divide in the case of mullet appreciation. That stated, quite a lot of women are jealous of my curls.

‘My mom hates it. The primary and last item she says to me after I see her is, “Please inform me you’ll lower it off”. Fortunately I work with quite a lot of younger troopers, primarily of their twenties, and so they discover the mullet humorous. I would not have grown it if I had common sufferers.’

He admits his haircare routine has obtained much more difficult.

‘Beforehand it concerned a little bit of Tresemme and that was it. Now I exploit Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine conditioner then Hask Argan Oil [Repairing Hair Oil] adopted by both Pantene Excellent Waves or Aunt Jackie’s Do not Shrink Gel.

‘Having lengthy hair has given me a significantly better understanding of all the trouble women with lengthy hair go to. Brushing out tangles within the bathe is one thing I will not miss.’

However he says he is additionally reaped the rewards — ‘the man who cuts it does the entrance two-thirds solely, not the again, so I get my haircut cheaper’ — to not point out elevating greater than £1,500 for the testicular most cancers charity, a plight he’s keen about elevating consciousness of, given his younger male sufferers.

Lots of them would, had been they not barred by Military laws, get a mullet themselves — being of the age at which an ‘ironic’ coiffure could be very du jour. For stroll into any sixth type centre or college playground right this moment and you will spot boys aged 11 to 18 displaying off ‘dos their father would have been pleased with 40-odd years in the past.

Charlotte Clemons’ 14-year-old Barney is one in all them. ‘He is been sporting his mullet since a horrible lockdown buzzcut grew out in 2021,’ she explains. ‘It was his thought, borne of eager to tidy up a nasty haircut, however he then continued to have it shaved on the sides and grew the again lengthy. He grew to become recognized domestically as “the boy from the rugby membership with the mullet”.’

Charlotte, 45, who runs her personal enterprise and lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, together with her husband and 4 kids, says she was initially ’embarrassed by the judgment from different mums’.

Like different girls her age, she remembers them from the primary time round. ‘I had flashbacks to Pat Sharp’s mullet and simply had a basic aversion to boys having lengthy hair, however after I stated to Barney, “You seem like Pat Sharp” he replied merely: “I do know and I prefer it!” He was totally conscious of all of the outdated mullets from a long time in the past however he fairly likes being a bit retro.’

For his half, Barney says loads of his associates have mullets, and so they even examine haircuts with ‘mullet-off’ competitions to see whose is greatest. ‘It is a common fashion amongst my rugby and agricultural mates, in addition to at my state college,’ he provides.

‘Most of my associates love my hair, together with the ladies. I feel it fits me and have gotten no plans to chop it off within the close to future.’

Rugby and mullets appear to go hand in hand: sportswriters famous their prevalence through the World Cup final month, and rugby union group the Exeter Chiefs, nearly all of whom flaunt some model of the fashion, have been flying the flag for mullets for years.

Elsewhere in sport, Aussie golfer and Open winner Cameron Smith captivated the world final summer season along with his flowing mullet on the inexperienced at St Andrews.

Each Bridget Hawthorne’s sons, Fred, 14, and Louis, 12, have been impressed by their sporting heroes to get mullets up to now yr.

'He's been sporting his mullet since a terrible lockdown buzzcut grew out in 2021': Charlotte Clemons with son Barney

‘He is been sporting his mullet since a horrible lockdown buzzcut grew out in 2021’: Charlotte Clemons with son Barney

Bridget, 46, an government assistant who lives in London, hails from New Zealand and says she was ‘fairly relaxed’ about it however her British husband, who wears his hair brief, was much less eager. ‘They’re each actually into rugby and play at their non-public college, whereas Louis additionally performs for a membership domestically,’ she explains. ‘Their predominant driver is that their favorite All Blacks rugby participant is Tamaiti Williams, who has an impressive mullet.’

Reactions to the boys’ hair have been ‘blended’, she provides. ‘Just a few associates with daughters have been horrified. One among them joked “They was once such lovely-looking boys!” ‘

As she and different mother and father will attest, mullets will be controversial, with many seeing them as an indication of youthful protest or revolt. In reality, the coiffure was outlawed in Iran in 2010, as a part of a clampdown on ‘decadent’ Western fashions.

Final yr, a non-public college in Australia made headlines after its principal banned mullets, branding them ‘an inappropriate coiffure that doesn’t adjust to the school’s expectations’. Any pupil seen with one was suspended pending a go to to the barber.

Final month, a mom from Sunderland claimed her 15-year-old, Toby Quinn, had been positioned in isolation for having a mullet, which the college stated went in opposition to its hair and uniform coverage.

Whereas synonymous in lots of minds with the 80s, mullets have a pedigree going again hundreds of years after they had been symbols of conflict. Historians have traced the fashion way back to historical Egypt and Greece, the place texts recommend it was common with warriors.

The helmet-like hair was not solely aesthetically pleasing, with the longer size on the again displaying a person’s energy and virility, however sensible, too: the again saved their necks heat, whereas the shorter strands on the entrance ensured they may see and had been much less prone to be yanked by an adversary.

In Homer’s Iliad, the spear-toting Abantes warriors are described as having ‘hair lengthy on the again’.

Centuries later, with the daybreak of the punk scene within the 70s and early 80s, mullets made a comeback. Bowie’s well-known Ziggy Stardust ‘do was really lower by his mom’s hairdresser, however the offbeat look quickly set a pattern and impressed others, together with Andre Agassi, Patrick Swayze, Mel Gibson and even George Clooney.

Not each mullet was as swoon-worthy as the unique: amongst seems to be that ought to, maybe, not be repeated had been DJ Pat Sharp’s spiky mullet and Kevin Keegan’s notorious bubble perm: mullets had been notably common amongst skilled footballers.

There are, say Matt Taylor and Nick Peters, inventive administrators at Daniel Galvin, proper and improper methods to work a mullet — and sure varieties of hair it is extra prone to go well with. ‘It does go well with youthful folks extra as a result of with older folks it might look old style, slightly than on-trend. Additionally, it tends to work higher on colored hair because it enhances motion.’

The trendy mullet, they add, is completely different to the retro ones, ‘as a result of folks having put down the hairdryer and hairspray and choosing a extra pure, wearable texture’.

Certainly, George Northwood says the 2023 mullet is so common it has been adopted by girls, too: the likes of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Suki Waterhouse, Billie Eilish and Scarlett Johansson have all sported the fashion in recent times.

Its ubiquity simple, George says there are essential fashion guidelines to observe when you do go down the controversial route.

‘You will require common trims of these shorter layers to be able to maintain the proper form, relying on how extreme a mullet you want,’ he explains. ‘Should you’ve obtained extra of a daring, choppier mullet, you’ll actually wish to exhibit and personal these shorter layers; they’re fairly the assertion. The actual, basic mullet is not for the faint-hearted.’

Again in Dorset, that is one thing Dr Alastair Bush is aware of solely too nicely. His hopes are excessive for a medal at Mulletfest, however as soon as the competitors is over, he says, the unorthodox coiffure has to go.

Buddies have urged he cuts it off and both donates it to charity or turns it right into a novelty wig. One other thought is that he burns the hair and retains the stays in an urn, just like the legendary cricket Ashes.

Dr Bush’s present view is much less romantic, nevertheless. ‘I am nicely and really achieved with the mullet now,’ he says. ‘I feel I could also be chopping it off and leaving it in Australia.

‘It has been a enjoyable journey — however I miss my short-back-and-sides.’

His mom will, little question, be very relieved.

Extra reporting: SADIE NICHOLAS

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