Polarizing hair was all over the Grammys red carpet last night, from Miley Cyrus’s bouffant (described by people on the internet as looking like an “expensive cat”) to Lana Del Rey’s fringe helmet (ask your stylist for “gradient waterfall bangs.”) But no one’s hair was more divisive than that of Taylor Swift, who wore hers mostly loose, save for a scruffy side braid that looked a little at odds with her custom Schiaparelli gown.
“Who the hell thought of doing that horrible braid? your 5 year old niece?” someone commented on Schiaparelli designer Daniel Roseberry’s Instagram post of Swift from last night. “She has the rare ability to make Schiaparelli look like Jessica McClintock,” said another. (Representatives of Schiaparelli said Roseberry was not available to comment on the look.)
Jemma Muradian, a longtime member of Swift’s beauty team, is likely behind the style. She’s worked with Swift for years on some of the singer’s most striking bang-related looks — like the Anna Wintour–esque bob she had in 2016 and, more recently, her hairstyles during the Eras tour. Fans have long looked for messages in Swift’s hair: She had a mysterious, single braid at her collaborator Jack Antonoff’s wedding last year, which Swifties described as “Folklore-coded,” a reference to the braid she wore on the cover of the album. But they seem divided as to what this particular Grammys look is telegraphing. One fan described it as a confusing mix of Swift’s Folklore and Reputation eras — the braid being a nod to the former, the dress more of the latter. Several fans said the braid reminded them of a snake, and was therefore a clear nod to Reputation:
Others thought the look, which included opera gloves and a watch choker, was a sartorial tease for her upcoming album, which Swift announced last night. If that’s the case, The Tortured Poets Department is sure to contain as much melodrama as its title promises.
Whatever the case, Swifies seem to mostly like the hairstyle. “In theory it looks immature and lazy, but there is something written into my coding that makes me still love it,” one colleague told me. “I think Taylor has a similar appeal — just accessing our young and silly sides.” Many others noted that the braid harks back to girlhood. “This is literally the ‘I got bored in class’ hair style I’m crying,” someone wrote on X. “It’s 100 percent summer camp, being bored in class, being bored anywhere when you are 10, and absentmindedly doing something that you think will look really cool,” said a friend. “It reminded me of Mia Mckenna-Bruce in How to Have Sex,” added another colleague, citing a film about teen girls coming of age. “The characters are just so youthful and girly, like they have charms on their iPhones and cool nails and cutout going-out tops.”
And there is something perennially girlish about Taylor Swift — it’s part of her appeal. She manages to tap into everyone’s inner teenager, an impressive feat for someone who is the same age as Adele.