Saturday 22 November 2014

No more Mr Pretty Boy – the beard is back!

Celebrities are embracing face fuzz, but it takes grooming, writes a hirsute Joe O'SheaHair-raising attempts: Colin Farrell and Ryan Gosling both wear their beards well

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  Actor Chris O'Dowd (L) and Dawn Porter attend the premiere of 'The Sapphires' during the 56th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon West End on October 15, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for BFI)
Chris O'Dowd
Brad Pitt sports a beard in a Chanel advert.
Emmet Byrne, The Butcher Barber looks after a beard trim with Liam at the Johnson court shop. Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Actor Javier Bardem arrives at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 07: Actor Ryan Gosling arrives at Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Gangster Squad' premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on January 7, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 01: Actor Colin Farrell arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'Total Recall' held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

It may not be welcome news for the women of Ireland. Or Gillette and Wilkinson Sword. But beards are back and in a very big way.

If this week's BAFTA awards are anything to go by, Oscars night in Los Angeles will be a veritable beard-fest, featuring some of the world's most glamorous male stars looking very hirsute on the red carpet.

George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Bradley Cooper are just some of the male superstars who no longer carry a razor in their wash-bags.

Even Stephen Fry, hardly known for being the rugged outdoor type, was rocking whiskers at the BAFTAs and making a joke about not being the "only actor who has come here tonight with a beard".

Fry may have been indulging in his customary wordplay (a "beard" has long been Hollywood slang for a woman who provides cover for a gay but closeted male actor).

But as the BAFTA host looked out over the rows and rows of shaggy-chinned stars, he could have been forgiven for mistaking the throng in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for a crowd scene from beard-heavy biopic Lincoln.

The trend towards facial hair, also seen recently on male models during Paris and New York fashion weeks, is already starting to be seen on the street here in Ireland.

Our own male celebs, from Chris O'Dowd and Colin Farrell (who has always had a thing for the rough 'n' ready look) to TV presenters such as Brendan Courtney and Craig Doyle have been spotted sporting face furniture.

O'Dowd in particular has been a beard aficionado for years, saying; "I generally have a beard when I'm not working and always have."

The star of Bridesmaids and Moone Boy may be a long-time beard-wearer but it seems more recent converts are following a trend that has some pretty complex origins.

Many pop culture commentators believe facial hair has become shorthand for "authenticity".

The theory is that the suddenly sprouting beards are a push-back against the previous trend towards male prettiness, the ultra-groomed boyish look that has held sway since the mid-noughties.

In Hollywood, actors such as Ryan Gosling and Gael Garcia Bernal can avoid the pretty-boy tag by simply growing out a bit of stubble.

And when George Clooney wants to do hard-edged and authentic, he ditches the razor and goes for the Old Man Of The Sea look (quite literally in The Perfect Storm), telling fans that he expects to be taken seriously in this particular role.

"It may look slightly scruffy but if you are going to carry it off with a sharp suit or tux, you have to get it exactly right."

Emmet, who owns The Butcher Barber and counts several Irish rugby internationals, well known musicians and TV presenters amongst his all-male client list, says he has seen a sharp rise in the number of his clients now shunning the razor.

"It's very much the look right now whether it's unshaven – what they used to call designer stubble back in the '80s – to full beards. It's part of that return to a more grungy look.

Irish Independent

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