Maybe it's something to do with mid-year malaise, a yearning for something high-impact that is low-effort or the fact they pair so well with high-necked winter knitwear, but it feels like everyone is cutting their hair into a bob, or thinking about it. French, shaggy and micro versions are cropping up all over town and tempting longer haired lasses to book in with their hairdresser.
One person who answered the call of the chop is Clementine Nixon, who fronts band Clementine Valentine (formerly Purple Pilgrims) alongside her equally well-maned sister Valentine. Her angular, chin-skimming bob has been playing on our brains since early May, when it was on display in all its glossy glory as the art-pop duo soundtracked fashion designer Benjamin Alexander's latest collection launch.
Ahead of the release of the new Clementine Valentine album The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor, out on August 25, we asked Clementine to tell us about the artistic and historic influences behind her hair reinvention.
You and Valentine were sort of known for your long, ethereal tresses, but you now rock an incredibly chic bob. Tell us what prompted this change?
I just felt like a change! But to quote one of my favourite bands Broadcast: "I'll change my hair but inside I'll stay the same."
What other memorable hairstyles have you had?
So many. Starting with bright red henna that I somehow persuaded my mum into when I was 9, closely followed by a few misguided Britney inspired styles. My Amélie phase in art school, followed by bleach blonde, the list goes on…
But I’ve settled on my natural colour for a good few years now.
Speaking more generally, how would you describe your relationship with your hair?
Who 'does' it?
Sean Mahoney at Colleen.
What’s your daily/weekly routine? What products do you love?
I try to keep it quite simple and natural. I use Rainbow Henna & Biotin shampoo and conditioner.
Rainbow is an OG hippie brand that has been around since the early 70s. It’s completely natural with a delicious ingredients list that includes marigold, chamomile, aloe vera and green tea. It makes my hair remarkably shiny - I have to order it online but I feel like this is a bit of a hack because they’re both under NZ$20.
Do you have any other hair rituals?
When I find time I’ll make a hair mask by mixing together an egg yolk with a couple drops of rosemary essential oil.
I leave it on for a couple of hours (ideally while in the bath) and wash it out with an organic apple cider vinegar rinse. It’s super conditioning and is a lovely reset when my hair is feeling dull.
In 2018 artist Liz Maw painted an incredible portrait of you and Valentine. Do you have any other favourite ‘hair in art’ works?
This postcard I found in a forgotten gallery somewhere in Europe:
You grew up between Christchurch and Hong Kong. Were there differing beauty ideals that you encountered in each place?
The beauty ideals are vastly different, but the main thing I picked up on as a kid/teenager was how Cantonese girls hair looks beautiful even in 100% humidity - that’s a gene I unfortunately do not have.
Do any other cultural influences play a role in your philosophy towards hair?
I grew up very close to my grandmother, who is a Scottish Traveller (a nomadic ethnic minority of the British Isles). Long hair is culturally really important to Traveller women - it’s highly unusual to see a Traveller girl with short hair to this day.
Being always encouraged to keep my hair long made me want to rebel and cut/dye it a million different ways - but at other times wish for the long thick tresses that my sister inherited from our Traveller side of the family.
You've spoken before about how your musical themes and lyrics often reference classical imagery. Is there a bygone era that you feel is linked with particularly appealing hair inspiration?
Currently romanticising 1920s hairstyles - the super short bobs must’ve felt so freeing after the Victorian era styles!
Do you have a go-to way you style your hair?
I keep it pretty simple. I was recently gifted a Dyson hairdryer which really lives up to its hype, and I recently started using the Original Mineral Gold Smoothing Balm which I’m loving.
Do you have hair muses?
At the moment, Oscar Wilde.