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Slick-back Hair Big in NY at First of Big Four Fashion Weeks

02/24/2015 02:54 pm ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015

I just watched the Carolina Herrera collection again from New York Fashion Week. Beautiful evening gowns and dresses, fabulous, inventive prints and cool slick-back hair that was emblematic of this versatile look that dominated the catwalks at this apex fashion event.

Incorporated in the hair on Herrera's runways were these metallic holders for long ponytails that accentuated this ultra-clean, sophisticated, minimalist look. Loved it.

New York is the first of the Big Four Fashion Weeks. Next we go to London, then Milan and we finish in Paris. The hair is different at each of these venues - that was certainly the case in September last year, when designers pitched their ideas for the coming spring and summer. There are two major Fashion Week cycles a year.

Granted, the focus here is on clothes. Designers are taking their creativity to market, hoping to get big orders for the coming fall and winter. But the hair, as always, is integral.

Of course, there are many 'slick-back' styles. On the runways in New York, we've seen a lot of center parts and natural hair color. Some of the looks were finished in long shiny ponytails, like I mentioned above. These typically were gathered low on the back of the head. There were also bobs, some with soft, loose ends. Some designers dropped the part deep on the side. There was also a smattering of boy cuts.

Here's how to do that slick-back wet look: While hair is still damp after wasking, use a very light gel. Apply mousse to the roots with your fingertips to give it some body and 'traction' for building some volume, if that's what you want. A lot of what we've seen in New York, though, has been very polished and tight on the scalp. Then blow dry straight with a paddle brush. When dry, lightly tease near the roots for desired volume then smooth over a top layer of hair that you sectioned out. Use a pomade or a wax for a wet and shiny, but not greasy, finish. Reduce the pomade beyond the crown if you want soft, loose ends. Finish with hairspray.

Not all the hair was slick-back, of course. Max Azria's BCBG paired long, loose bobs in natural colors, with thigh-high leather boots or short spikey ankle boots and short dresses and sweaters in natural, muted colors and textures. Designers had the hair tucked under the scarfs and loose turtle and cowl-neck sweaters (remember, this is for the coming fall).

J.Crew went with longer bobs, also in natural colors in a loose, easy style with the ends tucked beneath a scarf or jacket collar. This is a trend we've been on for a long while, natural colors. We see the exceptional blast of blue or fuchsia but ombres, for example, remain virtually extinct, which sometimes indicates that a style is priming for a comeback. Even highlights have grown more and more subtle.

Be happy, be open to change. More on the Fashion Weeks soon.