One in a series on the clothes that had a moment at Paris Fashion Week.


Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

PARIS —  The hair is always angry at Junya Watanabe. The hair is always sad at Haider Ackermann. And so the clothes in both these collections always seem just a little bit more complicated because the woman wearing them seems more complex.

She’s not one who goes for flowing locks or a controlled bun. Dreadlocks and braids would take her into murky cultural terrain, and she is omni-cultural or anti-cultural. She is a little bit of everything or she is nothing at all.

The hair at these shows doesn’t flatter anyone — not in a beauty-school, ambush-makeover way. This woman is not trying to be pretty. Or sexy. Or political. She is just being. Isn’t it challenging enough doing that?


Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

A lot of crazy things happen on the runway that have nothing to do with the clothes. There are all kinds of theatrics and drama. There have been dogs and goats and wolves. Yes, live wolves. Stylists have painted models like kabuki performers, put light boxes on their head and asked them to balance atop heels cut like ragged cliffs.

But nothing seems so intimately transforming as what happens to models’ hair. It has been braided and teased and fried into a frizzy cloud. Dreadlocks have caused controversy. Weaves were once an issue. Kinky curls have been a mark of rebellion until now they are a sign of fashion’s broadening embrace.

Models have been dehumanized with lookalike wigs that turn them into a line of clones. They have been infantilized with sweet pigtails. They’ve been turned into Marie Antoinette.


Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

But the hair at the fall 2018 presentations of Watanabe and Ackermann has been as it always is: just downright unflattering hair. Hair that is meant to make models look. . .  not quite so much like models. It’s intended to make them, if not quite unattractive, definitely imperfect and authentic. As if they just rolled out of bed this way.

Watanabe loves for his models to have punk hair or street hair. He likes it full of spikes and sharp angles. He likes aggressive hair even when his clothes are not. His models always look a little bit angry even if, this season, they are wearing giant cuddly sweaters and massive blazers that make them it seem as though they are young girls who’ve wandered into a parent’s closet.


Junya Watanabe Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

For Ackermann, who always presents his gothic romance of a collection through a cloud of mist or smoke, the models appear to have been resurrected from some gloom, set free from grief.


Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

His colors always have undertones of gray and brown. They are always a little be dirty or impure. And so the hair suggests that the women who walk his runway have been through something sad or painful. But they have survived.

They come to you with their murky colors, with their coats tied around their waists, like otherworldly nomads looking for more welcoming ground.


Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

Haider Ackermann Fall Winter 2018 collection (Stefan Knauer/MCV Photo for The Washington Post)

The hair is not pretty because their lives aren’t shiny, bouncy and fresh. They aren’t have a bad hair day. They’re battling through a complicated, difficult day. And surviving.

Also at Paris Fashion Week:

Two new designers took the time to channel their vision — and they got it right

Yeah, these sneakers are ugly. They’re also kind of fabulous.

Sweatshirts made into blazers. Hats made out of hair. This designer is thinking creatively.

Only one Paris designer had fans rioting in the street. But is his fashion any good?

Fashion magic in Paris: These colors should look hideous together. Somehow, they’re exquisite.

Dior wants to dress you like a 1960s student radical. But what’s the message supposed to be?