Tom Ford's Spring/Summer 1999 menswear collection for Gucci was designed to be one part 70s rock star, one part Venice era 1700s and one part man of wealth. (Photo from Gucci 1999 Collection)
Besides the sumptuous silk moir suits and damasked velvet slippers, many of the Gucci male models strutted down the runways in an updated 1999 version of the Mullet hairstyle for men.
The Gucci versions of the Mullet was designed around either a very short crown with a very long ponytail that was draped across one shoulder (see above and side photos) or a spiked out version.
The short Gucci Mullet (as shown to the right) was designed to capitalize on the current 1999 popularity of the "near buzzed" look for the top hair and the long ponytail look for the bottom.
Unfortunately I was not able to locate any photos from the Gucci show that showed the male Mullet haired models from the rear view. The best photos of the buzzed/ponytail Mullet were frontal photos which demonstrates the overall look.
The spiked version of the Gucci Mullet consisted of a heavily waxed, very texturized crown with a ponytail.
As you can see from the Gucci model shown to the left, the heavily waxed top hair was molded to splay out from all sides and to provide a dramatic overall look to the hair.
There is no question that the 1999 Gucci version of the Mullet was a definite departure from the Mullet sported in the past by famous Mullet heads such as Billy Ray Cyrus or Michael Bolton.
However, the '99 Gucci Mullet definitely fit with a rock star look which was part of the goal of the Spring.
Does the Gucci Mullet signal the beginning of a whole new revival of the Mullet hairstyle? Or was the Gucci Mullet just another unique accessory to add the crowning touch to Tom Ford's "one part rock star" menswear collection?
It appears that the answer is a little of both. The Mullet again reared its head on several Jean Paul Gaultier models in the Autumn/Fall menswear collection and was spotted on Karl Lagerfeld's models at his latest show.
The Mullet has also been seen on a more regular basis on the streets of New York where fashion tends to start new cycles.
I recently encountered a "30 something" male Mullet, his "20 something" wife with her own version of a "Fullet" and their 3 year old little boy with a miniature version of the Mullet at the San Francisco airport. The male's Mullet looked more Country Western while his wife had a more rock style of Gullet. The little boy had the buzzed top and the long "tail" at the back.
My only regret is that I did not have a camera and the time to get permission to capture the family of Mullets on film. It never fails, the best hair subjects always show up when I am camera-less or pressed for time.
Jean Paul Gaultier's Mullet
While Gucci introduced his own unique 1999 Mullet at the Spring/Summer show, Jean Paul Gaultier followed Gucci's Mullet lead at the Autumn/Winter 1999-2000 shows.
Jean Paul Gaultier had one basic version of the Mullet woven into his "phantasmagorical world of designs". (Photo from the 1999 Autumn/Winter showing of Jean Paul Gaultier)
The Gaultier version of the 1999 Mullet was designed around full crown hair that was neither waxed nor spiked, and a thinner wispier type of tail that covered the neck and the top of the shoulders.
The Gaultier version of the Mullet appeared to have shorter back hair than the Gucci look which featured longer ponytails.
The Gaultier Mullet was more in keeping with a Michael Bolton or Billy Ray Cyrus version of the Mullet.
The famous Mullet hairstyle seems to be back in style for 1999/2000. At least on the fashion runways of Gucci and Gaultier and Lagerfeld.
Whether the Mullet hairstyle will become popular with the masses can only be determined over time.
Although the Mullet was in full display for both the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter menswear shows there was no sightings of the female versions of the Mullet at the women's haute couture or prt a porter shows.
Whether the women's fashion and hair designers will follow the men's leads in the Mullet revival is unknown at the present.
What The Heck Is A Mullet Anyway?
Although the Mullet was recently seen on the male models strolling the fashion catwalks for Gucci, Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld, the hairstyle has been in and out of fashion since the 80s. Maybe even earlier.
The Mullet is two haircuts rolled into one. To achieve the Mullet look, the hair is cut shorter on top and left long, to very long, in back. On a female, a Mullet is called a Fullet, by those in the know. Some also call it the Gullet.
According to the very popular mullet websites, the originator of the term "mullet" seems to be Mike D of the Beastie Boys fame.
Billy Ray Cyrus appears to be the "King of the Mulletheads" no matter how he wears his hair. For many, Billy Ray will always be the leading poster boy for Mullets.
Although it is considered controversial, it is also listed by many "in the fashion world know" as one of the top ten hairstyles for men in the history of men's hairstyles. It is actually hard to believe since the Mullet was very popular back in the 80s but fell out of fashion by the 90s.
While it can still be found by expert "Mullet hunters" is has not been a big male "hair trend" in the most recent past.
The Mullet is controversial because society has often held the opinion that long hair on men was anarchic. Therefore, the Mullet, also known as the neck warmer, hockey hair, Camaro cut and mud flaps, to name just a few of the Mullet's many handles, has always been considered one of the most radical men's hairstyles.
People react to the Mullet in very different ways. They either love it or hate it. It is rare for people to view the Mullet in an impartial way. The hairstyle generates very strong opinions.
Although it has been spotted throughout the world, the headquarters for the Mullets & Fullets is the United States.
David Bowie popularized the Mullet during his rebellious Ziggy Stardust days
(Shown to the side in a photo from the June 1999 GQ Magazine)
where he was known to spike his crown hair and add an eyepatch, when appropriate.
Other rock musicians quickly followed Bowie's lead and the Mullet look has remained popular with some segments of the rock world off and on for over 20 years.
The 90s Mullet has been very popular with two distinct types of people which includes musicians and sports fans. In the world of musicians the Mullet is still popular with Rock/Metal and Country Western.
In the sports world, Mullets tend to be most popular in the ice hockey world. Dallas Star's players Darryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher are great examples of reformed Mullets.
My own personal favorite Mullet model was Michael Bolton, BEFORE he cut off that glorious length of hair.
(Photo of Michael Bolton from his Time, Love & Tenderness album).
Not all people shared my opinion about Michael's hair, although many did. Many people had the opinion that Michael's Mullet was created in response to his thinning top hair.
It is hard to know exactly why he sported his own unique version of the Mullet.
What is known is that women went crazy over his long hair and Michael helped maintain popularity of the Mullet at the height of his stardom. Even Oprah Winfrey publicly shared her appreciation for Michael's former Mullet styled locks.
One of my other favorites, Kevin Bacon, is another famous star/musician that sported his own version of the Mullet for a time.
While the Mullet is most popular with men, women also adopted the short/long Famous female rocker Pat Benatar sported her own version of a Fullet at one point in her career.
Is A Tail A Mullet?
A form of the Mullet is the "tail" which enjoyed its own level of popularity. The "tail" is definitely a member of the Mullet family and what is the start of a full blown Mullet.
Dan's Mullet Haven which sadly has not been updated since the late 1990s, has some great basic information about the tail.
His interesting Mullet site has a note that the tail, also known as the rat-tail (a close relative of the mullet) was pronounced illegal in Missouri in 1983. According to his site "a $100 fine is given for first-time offenders whilst persistent criminals can expect 6 months in prison".
It is amazing the things that can happen because of the way you choose to wear your hair.
Where To Get All The Scoops On The Mullet?
It appears that in 1999, once again, the Mullet style has become a hot look in men's hairstyles. If you are interested in reading about this controversial, but popular at times hairstyle, the Web has some great sites that I found while researching this article.
Listed below are the Mullet sites that I visited (updated 1/20/2001) and a little description about the site. I highly recommend all of them.
While I tried to visit as many Mullet sites as possible, I am sure I did not find them all. If you have a Mullet site to recommend that I visit in the future, please email me with the URL for the site.
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- Revised Publication Date: 01/18/2010