Slicked Back Shine

Slicked Back Shine

This classic sleek hairstyle enjoys a modern reboot on our menswear shoot

The slicked short back and sides has an illustrious history. The sleek style – hair combed from the front to the back, high off of the face – has its roots in 1740s France when the king’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour, caused a stir with her coiffed hairdo. Fast forward to the 1930s, when silver screen heart-throb Clark Gable popularised the look, through to the 50s, when Elvis Presley’s much-admired rockabilly interpretation became synonymous with a generation of rebellion. Slicked-back hair was then revisited during the heady, capitalism-fuelled 80s, by which time the style had lost much of its volume, leaving a rakish, flatter style in its place – think Michael Douglas as yuppie Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film Wall Street. Today’s reincarnation is still groomed, but also plays with subtle, separated texture.

‘The look is a modern interpretation of the 50s style. It has a nice, fluid movement, but still has structure,’ says Danny Cowan, Art Director at Toni&Guy Bournemouth. For inspiration, look to Boardwalk Empire star Michael Pitt or Jared Leto in Gucci’s Guilty campaign. Recreate by working label.m Volume Mousse into dry hair, before roughly blow-drying to give buoyancy. ‘The label.m Volume Mousse helps to maintain a lot of softness but still gives a firm hold,’ says Danny. Then simply smooth on a generous helping of label.m Gel and comb backwards for a healthy, groomed shine.

‘The look is a modern interpretation of the 50s style. It has a nice, fluid movement, but still has structure’ Danny Cowan artistic director & partner, Toni&Guy bournemouth

  • Words: Rebecca Parker

  • Photography: Rex Features, @gucci, Edd Horder