There are certain hairstyle trends that emerge that, at face value, seem super easy to pull off, but once you get into your own bathroom to do your ‘do, you realize how difficult they can be to get right. For the longest time, the low bun seemed to fall into this category. It’s a style that appears easy, breezy, and minimal, but can feel a little intimidating if you’re not one used to slicking your strands down and back. (Plus, it can easily fall into Founding Fathers territory for a few of us unfortunate souls.) But the low bun is back on the New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 runway, and luckily, it appears to be a lot more accessible this season.
This isn’t the first time a low bun has been spotted at NYFW. The style reined supreme for Spring/Summer 2021, with designers like Alice + Olivia, Sandy Liang, and Tom Ford sending polished iterations of the look down the runway. That season, however, things were a lot more adorned. Bejeweled hair pins and flouncy bows accented these low-maintenance styles, which helped give them a little extra oomph.
And while the accessories seem to be taking a back seat this season, the buns of NYFW S/S ‘23 seem to be a little less stuffy. This isn’t your typical one-size-fits-all low bun. In fact, backstage, hairstylists seem to be approaching the style in a choose-your-own adventure type of way, making it much more accessible. Christian Siriano, PatBo, and Alice + Olivia have all shown their versions of this style. And while they may differ in terms of inspiration and technique, there are a few through lines to this trend: Lots of gel, structural accents, and high shine.
It’s only about halfway through New York Fashion Week S/S ‘23, so expect to see this trend continue to crop up. But if you’re ready to jump on your low buns ASAP, keep scrolling for a little inspiration from the best looks of the week so far.
It comes as no surprise that the beauty look at Christian Siriano was inspired by Old Hollywood. The designer held his Spring/Summer ‘23 show at NYFW at Elizabeth Taylor’s old apartment, infusing the evening with some silver screen glamour. The hair, however, called to mind another starlet of the time.
“The style is a modern take on the iconic Audrey Hepburn bun–confident and sleek, with a little edge,” said lead stylist Lacy Redway. She first created a deep side part and swept the hair into a low bun with the help of TRESemmé’s Tres Two Extra Hold Gel. Redway then used a comb to create that vintage-inspired separation across the forehead, giving the look a little more texture and dimension.
For extra hold, Redway then applied TRESemmé Tres Two Extra Hold Volumizing Mousse to the style and dried it with a blow dryer, giving the hair high shine and volume. She finished with a generous mist of hairspray to set the whole look, ensuring there were zero flyaways as the models made their way down the runway.
The look at Jason Wu was decidedly ‘90s, with smudgy lids and cool-girl buns. Olaplex lead stylist Jimmy Paul used a handful of the brand’s products to smooth and nourish the strands so it looked healthy and textured, not stiff and grungy. “The inspiration was a ‘90s New York City girl, going fast,” Paul told TZR. “It’s meant to look like it’s not about the hair.”
To start, Paul worked Olaplex’s No. 9 Nourishing Hair Serum into each girls’ strands. “It’s a mild heat protectant with a bit of texture and hold,” he explained. If the models had thicker hair, he also used No 6. Bond Smoother, to keep the hair looking small and tight. He finished with the No 7. Bonding Oil for shine, before braiding the hair and twisting it into a bun. He left the ends free and simply flat-ironed them to help them keep their shape.
Alice + Olivia
There were two types of buns at Alice + Olivia: A classic low bun and one that hit right in the center of the head. The reason? “Some of the girls are wearing trucker hats, so they needed the low buns,” said Moroccanoil Global Artistic Director Kevin Hughes. The models with the buns in the center were accented with a scrunchie.
Hughes started by applying Moroccanoil Treatment or Moroccanoil Treatment Light to the models’ hair for shine, then the brand’s Smoothing Lotion to help remove frizz. Hughes wanted texture to the hair, and for the models who didn’t have a lot, he employed a trick. “We’re pinching the hair with clips, spraying a bit of Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray, and then a little hairspray before removing the clips,” he said. “That creates that texture with movement that we really wanted to see in the hair.”
Whether it’s slicked back, center parted, or accented with a braid, there are tons of ways to wear a low bun this season. Stay tuned…