Evan Agostini/Invision, via Evan Agostini/Invision/Ap
THE haircut of the year has arrived. Yes, already. Vogue is calling it the Chop, others have named it the Karlie, after the model Karlie Kloss.
Ms. Kloss, already a fashion world veteran at age 20, cut off about seven inches of her dark hair late last year. Vogue declared it the “cut of the moment” in a four-page feature story in the January issue, saying “the season’s new hair is swingy, sexy — and refreshingly easy to wear.”
The cut was the brainchild of the hairstylist Garren Defazio. It rests just above the shoulders, with some layering in the front, and is topped off with bangs. It echoes the signature 1960s haircut of Jane Birkin.
“I love it,” Ms. Kloss told the Web site Fashionologie backstage at a fashion show soon after the new cut was unveiled. “I can’t stop touching it.” She added that having short hair “actually takes the focus off your hair and puts the focus on you. I’m starting to realize that it’s all about confidence.”
Ms. Kloss, a host (with Joan Smalls, a fellow model) of MTV’s “House of Style,” had long hair that served as a kind of blank canvas for stylists and designers to work with. Such hair gives model a look that is “plain, uniform, like a mannequin” Mr. Defazio said. “I gave her a personality by cutting it.”
“Karlie’s been looking for a new look,” he said. “Her hair had been worn out from shows and shoots. Vogue called and said, ‘Would you do a cut?’ and I said Karlie should be the one to do it on.” The length, at just below the jaw, wasn’t so short as to be “out of proportion,” Mr. Defazio said, but also allowed her hair to become healthy again.
He is emphatic that it’s neither a bob nor a shag, but a one-length cut with a slight layer in the front. It’s a low maintenance look that sets off the face. “I cut it to encourage her natural wave,” Mr. Defazio said. “It’s long enough so she can gel it back, and it’s modern because it’s airy and rumpled. Short hair is in.”
Versions of the cut, with its length hovering somewhere between the chin and the shoulder, and with a few layers and fringe of bangs, has been spotted on models like Arizona Muse, Catherine McNeil, Karen Elson and Lily Kwong. The television presenter Alexa Chung has worn a similar cut for years. Margherita Missoni and Jessica Seinfeld both cut their hair into similar chops last year, as did the designer Olivier Theyskens, who sent models for his Theyskens’ Theory Spring 2013 collection down the runway in similar styles to his own.
“When Kate Moss cut her hair really short, everyone started cutting their hair,” Mr. Defazio said. “When somebody who is notable finds their look, it catches on and becomes a trend.”
It comes as no surprise that this cut came early in the year, when so many women resolve to make changes in their look, whether it’s ditching ombré highlights or deciding to wear their hair naturally curly. Even the singer Kylie Minogue rang in the new year with a picture of a new, shorter cut and the message posted on Twitter: “New Year. New Haircut. Hello 2013.”
As for Ms. Kloss’s feeling about the cut, Mr. Defazio said: “She’s in love with it. She can wear her hair natural and doesn’t have to blow it dry. She said finally she’s got a look she can just shampoo, put on lipstick and mascara, and she feels finished and modern.”
Perhaps most importantly, the Chop marks a turn away from the beachy waves ubiquitous on everyone from Hollywood actresses (think of Sofia Vergara) to suburban teenagers. “I’m so tired of the soft wave, red carpet hair,” Mr. Defazio said. “Like dead straight hair, wavy hair got old. Some of the other models are taking their hair above their shoulders and in the salon, women are taking their hair to collar bone and above. It’s a natural look.”
In a strange twist, Ms. Kloss recently walked in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, where she was given extensions to simulate long, wavy hair.
The Chop has inspired an array of reactions online. A Huffington Post headline asked “Karlie Kloss’ Haircut: The Next ’Rachel’?” referring to Jennifer Aniston’s Friends-era layered cut. While some commenters found the style plain, others found it inspiring. “Now that I see it on Karlie, I have the sudden feeling that it would make me look like a goddess,” Jamie Peck wrote on Thegloss.com.
“It’s been a year of big change for me,” Ms. Kloss said in the Vogue article. “Now feels like a good time for a fresh start.”
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