Let’s riff for a second, because some trends seem absolutely bananas until they take hold. Cargo shorts, dad shoes, Christianity—all met with a healthy sense of skepticism at first. The strongest trends are slow burns, after all. They work their way into your system, and even when they’re embarrassing (see: cargo shorts), you can’t deny the presence they have in your life. Look at all those pockets! Still, that doesn’t make them any less grating. And it is in that spirit of resigned annoyance that, today, we turn to Timothée Chalamet and his dumb haircut in Netflix’s new trailer for The King.
In short, he’s a boy prince who gets promoted to boy king, and he runs around with swords and whatnot. But more importantly, look at that…thing on his head. It’s somewhere between the popular Caesar cut of the late ’90s and the always-iconic bowl cut. And it means that Timothée Fuckin’ Chalamet—hair god among mortals—has chopped off his signature tousled locks in favor of looking like a fancy royal baby.
But it’s more than that, friend. This is a trend alert. You might think, Justin, this is only one instance! To that, I’d like to respectfully say you have not been paying attention.
Like most popular trends, this revolution started many moons ago, with gay men and black women. Drag queens Katya and Trixie Mattel dredged up these monstrosities in their respective seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars in 2016 and 2018. These haircuts/wigs are gross, but they signaled the start of something bigger than even they knew. Mattel even had a one-woman show called Super Bowl Cut, which ran through 2018.
From there, the cut started making its way out of niche circles and into the mainstream. Perhaps you saw it earlier this year when Ma, from the movie Ma, had her own version of the bowl cut. This is somehow a style that was sold as relevant in 2019, and though you may disagree, we’re here talking about it.
The bowl cut (and its altered forms) has made a triumphant comeback, settling into its place in the zeitgeist. Perhaps we should have expected that the straight, white male had finally accepted the power and reach of this burgeoning trend when Finn Wolfhard’s character Mike, in Stranger Things 3 also appeared with a modified bowl cut. Granted, the series is set in the ’80s, so some may call it “era-appropriate,” but true bowl cut aficionados pegged it for what it was: a statement.
(It should also be noted that the bowl cut, in various fashion-y forms, has become a modern staple of fashion week. It appears both in the audience and on the runway, and on both men and women. Yes, it’s disconcerting.)
Back to today, the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Nineteen. We can now confirm that the bowl cut had planted its stake in the haircut landscape. Though it may be subtle and a little untidy, Chalamet’s own bowl is an awakening of sorts—a chaotic haircut shift to match a chaotic time. Long live the bowl cut. May it rule for years to come.