What do Ralph Lauren, Sydney’s criminal gangs, the Olympics and Lawson’s Men’s Hair have in common?

The answer was until recently, nothing. But here at Lawson’s Men’s Hair, we noticed a definite connection starting to occur not long after Ralph Lauren launched his RRL Ralph Lauren A/W 2011-2012 Collection.


Let me explain. Lauren had somehow come across ‘mugshot’ images of career criminal Sidney Kelly, held in the archives of the NSW police

sidney kelley

He purchased the rights to these images and subsequently used them as inspiration for a hugely successful advertising campaign for his clothing range. I suspect he didn’t even think of a quirky flow-on effect from the campaign; which is a surge of men arriving in hair salons across Sydney, requesting the severe ‘undercut’ style so popular in the mid-1920s and featured prominently in the evocative images he used. Happily, here at Lawson’s Men’s Hair we are happy to oblige and have recreated the look on many of our customers.

These undercut styles were also popular with the men of the British Olympic team at the 1924 Paris games, made famous by the stirring film, Chariots of Fire.


The athletes sported (excuse the pun) the undercut style but also added definite side parts, which they then slicked back into place. We wonder how they managed to hold the style so firmly in place, given Murray’s Superior Pomade wasn’t produced until 1925 and Brylcreem didn’t appear until 1929.

Lauren is now no longer alone in featuring these men’s hairstyles. Many top designers have created slicked-back styles for runway models in their menswear collections this year.

Calvin Klein Men’s Collection F2012 (in January) was only one of many runways where the slicked-back look appeared and more recently at the S/S 2013 men’s collections (this June) we saw some stunning examples of slicked-back grooming; amongst our favourites were Prada

prada slick back

and Hardy Amies.

hardy amies ss2013

The hugely popular TV shows, Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, have added to the hype – Michael Pitt’s (Boardwalk Empire) hairstyle, in particular, has captured the imagination of a new generation of men.


So there you have it. A new trend based on the criminal gangs of Sydney. Who’d have thought? Our most recent photo shoot celebrated side parts and slick back trend – take a look above and on the Lawson’s Look Book page. Men’s hairstyles tend to stay in fashion longer than their female counterparts so expect this trend to stay around for months to come.

There’s no escaping it – grow out your top layers and let us find your criminal element. They say fashion loves a bad boy ……

Image Credits: RRL Ralph Lauren A/W 2011-2012 Collection, NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Justice & Police Museum, Historic Houses Trust of NSW,


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