Hair accessories are back. Perhaps they never quite went away, but there was a considerable lull in their popularity, the butterfly clips and comb headbands of the ’90s and early ’00s giving way to perfectly set waves. Now, brands are offering maximalist velvet bows, padded headbands, and hair claws, which some are calling “coquette core.” And a sub-category has emerged, combining the hyper-feminine hair adornments with food, letting fashionable adults and cute children wear barrettes that say “butter noodles.”
You have probably seen some examples by now. French hair brand Coucou Suzette offers hair claws in the shape of strawberries, avocados, and even a mussel for all your Little Mermaid fantasies. Cantinelle has claws that look like a leaf of green chard or tomatoes, and barrettes of red beets. Along with “butter noodles,” Eugenia Kids has clips with phrases like “tater tot,” and one that’s a row of mushrooms. And with Susan Alexandra you can give yourself a fruit cornucopia halo, or clip your bangs back with a martini olive or egg.
Coucou Suzette founder Juliette Mallet says food-styled hair claws are a perfect confluence of trends. First, the return of the hair claw “goes along with the return of the ’90s nostalgia,” as millennials and older members of Gen Z amass buying power and look for trends that remind them of their youth, while younger generations, as they always have, emulate the trends of those who came just before their memory. And food, she says, is an “infinite source of inspiration, creatively speaking.” She found her own inspiration from fake foods she encountered in Japan.
It’s become such a trend that even bigger brands are getting in on it. Moe’s Southwest Grill recently released a “que-so cute” claw clip made to look like a tortilla chip, a pun on the “chip clips” you keep around the kitchen (which some girls absolutely used as hair clips back in the day). “The Que-So Chip Clip celebrates the comeback of the iconic ’90s claw clip in true Moe’s spirit,” Joe Artime, Moe’s vice president of marketing, told Eater. It could also, presumably, double as an actual chip clip.
Food hair accessories are absolutely part of a wider trend of food-printed clothing, which Mallet says offers “originality, color and kitsch.” But they also evoke older images of food-as-adornment, whether it’s Bacchus’s grape crown, Carmen Miranda’s fruit hats, or even the Green Bay Packers’ cheeseheads. A hair claw shaped like a lemon is both campy and practical, childishness with a wink. Should fashion be anything else?