The polar vortex was still buffeting New York City, but backstage at Rag & Bone's fall menswear show, the space heaters and blow-dryers were humming. At the end of a long line of tables, hairstylist Matthew Mulhall added finishing tweaks to each look, waving off models with a congratulatory "You're done" before beckoning another to the chair.
Showtime style tips
"We took our inspiration from a very English, early-eighties, working-class sort of guy," says Mulhall between blasts of hairspray. "Not too-cared-about, kind of disheveled—a rough, strong look." Joy Division was a major point of reference, and it's easy to connect the lines from singer Ian Curtis' basic cut to the close-cropped, pushed-forward looks on the runway. The bangs were kept short, choppy, and close to the face, with plenty of texture.
Mulhall styled the men with the new V76 by Vaughn line, starting with the Ultralight Grooming Spray ("A base product that mixes quite well," Mulhall says. Watch the video below for a quick how-to) followed by a gel, which is combed through and blow-dried. For a touch of texture, he rubs some V-Rated Natural Wax through his hands to draw out tousles of hair, followed by a hit of spray to reduce shine and set the style.
Why opt for a new line over something tried-and-true? "You can layer the different components, which I like," Mulhall says. "Some other products can be quite heavy. You put too much in, and you have to wash the hair, whereas V76 builds up really nicely. There's no petroleum, and it's not too greasy, so it's great for me."
How to get the look at home
That said, most men won't undertake as many steps as a professional groomer will just to look disheveled in the morning. To streamline the routine, Mulhall recommends running a comb through your hair and messing it up with the wax—"just put it on top right away, piece it in place, and leave it to dry naturally. It'll probably get a texture just as good and is a more believable street look."
Hair coiffed, the guys headed back to the catering table to sneak a few more bites before dressing. London-based model Ben Allen (pictured above), 18, was more than happy with the grooming for the show. "It's quite simple. Rag & Bone doesn't go out of its way to be something it's not," he says. "The hair's obviously quite relaxed and natural, and the makeup's quick and clean, just to cover up any imperfections. It's about as masculine as you can be. With makeup on, anyway."