“It looks like the tip of a penis,” a close friend says. I’ve just showed her the poster for Netflix’s new historical epic The King, starring prestige twink Timothée Chalamet.
On Monday, Netflix dropped the trailer, which is about, well, some medieval European king. We get few concrete details about who this medieval king is (England’s King Henry V, also known as Hal), what he’s battling for (respect following his dad’s death) and why Robert Pattinson suddenly appears with luscious long locks (he’s the villain: Louis, Dauphin of Viennois).
What it does offer is Chalamet rocking a modern bowl cut with faded sides and a bushy top.
Did Henry V actually rock a bowl cut in the 1400s? Allegedly, that’s accurate, according to the U.K. publishing house The History Press. But the bowl cut is also the men’s hairstyle of the moment. Every skinny boy smoking Juuls, wearing gold chains and living on New York’s Lower East Side or L.A.’s Highland Park — that is, Chalamet knockoffs — are styling their hair like Chalamet’s cinematic King Henry V.
For those who only know the horror of a Dumb and Dumber-era bowl cut, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the bowl cut is back, baby.
The bowl cut has been on the rise for a moment. As Esquire’s Justin Kirkland reports, drag queens Katya and Trixie Mattel brought the styles back on the respective seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars in 2016 and 2018. “The haircuts/wigs are gross, but they signaled the start of something bigger than even they know. Mattel even had a one-woman show called Super Bowl Cut, which ran through 2018,” Kirkland writes. However, Mattel’s and Katya’s looks, while stunning, aren’t always modern. Mattel’s mode is ’60s Dolly Parton, while Katya is a self-described “Russian bisexual transvestite hooker.” Vintage bowl cuts are an apt part of the story they’re oh-so-successfully serving.
For the 2019 style — messy and curly, with less hairspray — we have actor Finn Wolfhard to thank. On Stranger Things, he and Noah Schnapp rock bowl cuts as teenagers Mike and Will. The show’s lead hairstylist, Sarah Hindsgaul, told InStyle the actors are put on a four-month haircut ban before filming starts. For the first and second seasons, this meant Wolfhard rocked the bowl cut on the red carpet and while performing with his indie rock band, Calpurnia.
Soon after, the TikTok and K-pop boys swooped in and adopted the two teen actors’ styles. The bowl cut of today is paired with high white socks, oversized or cropped shirts and an effortlessly cool charisma.
That’s not to say every bowl cut is a good one. Some football owner named “Mark Davis” decided that he wants to look like a knockoff Mario Batali. Then, of course, there’s U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who looks like the Benjamin Button version of Prince George. Why do wealthy white men hate personal grooming?
Regardless, an important question remains: Is the bowl cut even a good look? Are we looking at the equivalent of Macklemore’s “Hitler Youth” haircut that quickly went out of style? Like the butt cut, is this the latest K-pop staple to take over stateside? It’s too early to tell. Chalamet’s bowl cut has elicited mixed reactions:
I, for one, hope the look stays. It’s part of the late-1990s/early 2000s revival alongside flip phones and velour tracksuits. But most importantly, the bowl cut is supported by Chalamet, a former White Boy of the Month. Honestly, I’ll do anything he does, including a questionable haircut.