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Heaven by Marc Jacobs Spring 2022

Scene kid raccoon tail hair was everywhere at fashion week

Rawr XD

  1. THE LOOK: An elevated version of a scene kid’s raccoon tail look – a little grungey, a little glam. It can be colourful or monochrome, but it’s always contrasting stripes of the clip in extension vibe.
  2. WHO’S DOING IT? Sam McKnight created a very grown-up, high fashion version for the models at 16Arlington, while Cormio models went full nostalgia with colourful teen clip-ins. Paloma Elsesser also rocked high contrast stripes in the new campaign for Heaven by Marc Jacobs.

  3. HOW CAN I GET IT? Hope onto Etsy for some coloured clip-ins, head to Bleach London for some more permanent streaks, or dig out your old hair mascara (officially we cannot endorse this).

Fashion went scene this AW22 season. It’s an unlikely statement, but a true one. It started in London, where Sam McKnight at 16Arlington created a polished, grown-up version of a scene kid’s staple: raccoon tail hair. Racoon tail hair involves high contrast horizontal highlights, sometimes just bleached blonde, sometimes in a variety of colours. The style could be dyed in but was more often the result of clip-in extensions which were then paired with a side fringe and a lot of backcombing.  

For his take on the raccoon tail, McKnight opted to leave the backcombing in 2008, instead elevating the look by giving his models the sleekest poker straight hair. He then hand-painted contrasting colours including burnt orange, indigo and black onto the hair for a floating feathered effect. McKnight called the look “modern grunge”.

The raccoon tail then cropped up in Milan at Cormio’s first-ever runway, which presented a collection paying nostalgic tribute to Jezabelle Cormio’s childhood in South Tyrol. Here the look was much more true to its original MySpace style, with models walking with clip-in extensions dyed bright green and orange. Devilish, Soo Catwoman cowlicks also appeared on the catwalk, bringing an element of teen angst to the shrunken cardigans, plaid skirts, crocheted dresses, childlike tees, and boy scout ties that made up the collection.

Finally, the look appeared over at Heaven, Marc Jacobs’s angsty teen offshoot. For its SS22 campaign shot by Harley Weir, Heaven brought together an eclectic array of models including Nicki Minaj, Mena Suvari, Sky Ferreira and Yung Lean. Paloma Elsesser also starred, wearing a lilac knit minidress and striking, high-contrast raccoon tail hair. Created by Evanie Frausto, this is the raccooniest-raccoon tail hair of the lot: dark brown and bleached blonde horizontal stripes cascading down her high ponytail. A bleached fringe completed the look.

The return of the raccoon tail look is very much in keeping with our current noughties nostalgia. The scene revival first started in 2020, when the dawn of the new decade brought calls for a RAWRing 20s. In the summer the look reached TikTok where users posted tutorials of subcultural beauty looks brimming with side-fringes, extreme backcombing and neon coloured make-up. The TikTok hashtag #raccoontail currently has over seven million views.

Around this time we also saw the sister look of raccoon tail hair – skunk hair – become a big hit with the celebrities, most notably Dua Lipa. In September, clearly ahead of her time, Nigerian rapper Deto Black debuted a black and white striped look, while in promotional images for her new make-up line GXVE Beauty, Gwen Stefani sports a black dip-dye that contrasts heavily with her platinum blonde hair. 

Now, raccoon tail hair has made its way onto the catwalk. With the news cycle becoming increasingly bleaker every day, it’s perhaps unsurprising that we are returning to experiment with scene and emo aesthetics, trends born out of disenfranchised youths expressing themselves through dark poetry, dark music, and dark make-up. In these grim days, as Dazed’s Gunseli Yalcinkaya wrote, “the desire to escape from our skin prisons, into bold and unfamiliar territories, cannot be ignored.”