Once upon an 80’s film, the scrunchie was considered the epitome of style. From Heather Chandler’s symbolic red scrunchie in cult classic Heathers (1988) to Madonna’s oversized velvet number in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), whether round-the-wrist or in a high top, the stretch-hairpiece was staple to any Brat Pack ensemble. Think TLC in aztec lurex, Debbie Gibson cassette covers or the colour-popping cast of Saved by the Bell.
For 2014 the scrunchie has retuned from hiatus — and it’s gone high end. The revolution started quietly last season, with Ashish, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuiton all backing the trend. For 2014, consider Rag & Bone’s pre-fall monochoramtic collection topped off by blunt fringes and silky scrunchies or Trager Delaney’s dollar-bill stretch bobbles for A/W14. "I used some Chanel tweed strips as scrunchies on the ponies at the last Chanel RTW show and they looked great," explains hair stylist Sam McKnight. "I love a scrunchie. It's the best thing to secure a messy pony/bun combo. Function and fashion both in one, the comeback is upon us." McKnight collaborated with Vickisarge on a range of bejeweled scrunchies, meanwhile Fred Butler has been crafting the bygone style in neon tie dye and psychodelic patterns.
"The retro, whimsical companion to the Sports Luxe trend, the scrunchie captures a youthful nostalgia"
The fabric-covered elastic was born in Vancouverin 1984 at the hands of Jane Reid, who originally called it the ‘Bunch Bangle’, before Rommy Revson later patented the design in 1987. Hillary Clinton coined the phrase Power Scrunchie with her array of White House hair apparel. "If Hillary Clinton continues to wear them despite protests from her staff, well that's all the convincing you need," says NY-based Katalina Sharkey de Solis, who co-founded Scrunchies of Instagram with Ruthie Friedlander, Deputy Editor of Elle.com. The tongue-in-cheek account champions the return of the 80’s relic, referencing Melissa Joan Hart and the cast of Full House amongst their array of dedicated imagery. "The late 80s/90s are finally distant enough to be sartorially revived and tap into the nostalgia," says Sharkey de Solis.
The West London set, namely the likes of Cressida Bonas and Cara Delevigne, should also be given props for the scrunchie revival; indeed the latter was the face of My Crazy Scrunchie, a Dalston-based haute accessory label run by it-girl team Laura Fraser and Eu Simo Grijalbo. The line is sadly now defunct, but made enough of a stir to be commissioned by Vivienne Westwood to design her S/S13 hair pieces, and put the scrunchie firmly back on the fashion radar.
The retro, whimsical companion to the Sports Luxe trend, the scrunchie captures a youthful nostalgia, particularly matched with current favourites Birkenstocks, velour and other such nineties-throwbacks we never thought we’d see fashionable again. As Sharkey de Solis says, "everybody loves a good comeback story."
Text by Mhairi Graham