Demand for the 'undercut' soars: The hairstyle that's a cut under the rest
By Paul Bentley
Last updated at 2:23 AM on 20th July 2010
Cutting edge of style: Alice Dellal shows off her undercut haircut
When it comes to fashion statements, this one is razor sharp.
Increasing numbers of women are ditching their flowing locks in favour of a much more cutting-edge look.
Salons are reporting soaring demand for the 'undercut', which involves shearing away a section of hair while leaving the rest longer.
Once the preserve of punk rockers and schoolboys, it seems that women are adopting the edgy style after a series of celebrity endorsements.
Model and socialite Alice Dellal has stepped out with an undercut, and Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud, Amelle Berrabah from the Sugababes and pop singer Rihanna have also had close encounters with the clippers.
Former Spice Girl Mel B has been sporting the severe look since the beginning of the year - and her two-year-old daughter, Angel Iris Murphy Brown, has a slightly less extreme version of the style.
High Street salons are now reporting a sharp increase in the number of women asking to have their heads partially shaved.
According to HOB salons, home to British Hairdresser of the Year Akin Konizi, as many as a quarter of its clients are requesting some form of undercut.
And at the Lisa Shepherd salon in London, staff say they are shearing the sides of around ten girls' heads every week - creating styles ranging 'from the subtle to the extreme'.
But celebrity stylist Shepherd insisted the 'beautiful' modern undercut was a long way from the punk style of the past.
Undercut: Popstars Amelle Berrabah, left, of the Sugababes and solo singer Rhianna sport the trendy cut
'It's not the undercut we saw in the 80s on David Bowie when it was an aggressive, punky look,' she said. 'Now it's looser and longer with graduated layers.
'By razoring the edges you can create a more frayed, softer finish and tailor it to suit you.
'It can be a very beautiful cut, if done well.'
The style was made famous by David Bowie in the 1980s. It was copied by schoolboys a decade later and became David Beckham's trademark when he was signed up to endorse Brylcreem early in his football career.
But its feminine reinvention began just last year when it was worn by Miss Dellal.
Her look inspired fashion designer Issa to use a version of the cut on her catwalk models during autumn/winter shows.
Star man: David Bowie in the 1977 film The Man Who Fell to Earth sporting the original undercut
Pop stars followed suit, and hairdressers are now enjoying the knock-on effect.
Jason Cocking, director of Shepherd's salon, said: 'The reason it has become so popular is because an undercut feels individual and makes you believe you've got something different.
'The current fashion trends - much influenced by the late 80s and early 90s - have made what was originally a more indie, underground look commercially popular.'