Since Jared Leto didn’t walk the red carpet at Monday’s Emmys, another man’s locks had to be an object of obsession. Thank goodness True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga was on hand—and donning some excellent braids. Fukunaga won an award last night for directing the episode “Who Goes There,” but his hair emerged as the most talked about element of his appearance on the broadcast. Has the man bun given way to man braids?
The former has been around for longer than you think—The New York Times had a man bun trend piece back in 2012—and it shows no evidence of going out of style: Kit Harington trotted out the bun on the red carpet yesterday, while Leo DiCaprio donned one in his ice bucket challenge video. Still, Fukunaga’s braids sent corners of the Internet into a frenzy, perhaps heralding a new age of hipster men’s hairstyles.
I am not generally a fan of man-braids, but hello, Cary Fukunaga you make a strong case, sir.
— Una LaMarche (@sassycurmudgeon) August 26, 2014
— Alexandra Jacobs (@AlexandraJacobs) August 26, 2014
Man buns: out, Cary Joji Fukunaga braids: in.
— Aly Semigran (@AlySemigran) August 26, 2014
The staff of New York‘s The Cut debated the merits of the braids late Monday, with some strongly in favor (“They were HOT. Smoking”) and others strongly against (“NOT ALLOWED”). The Gloss declared that Fukunaga’s braids “stole [Leto's] spotlight.” Meanwhile, Vulture—which announced last night that “the era of the man-braid has begun”—went straight to the source for further information on the braids.
Fukunaga called his style philosophy “business in the front, party in the back.” He also revealed that the man braids were not entirely his doing: The hairstyle required “help.” Which brings us to the main reason the man braids probably won’t surpass the man bun—they’re just too complicated. Even a man of such prodigious french braiding talents as Chris Pratt probably can’t braid his own hair. (Though, to be honest, it’s hard to put anything past Pratt these days.) A messy bun, for both men and women, is a lazy hairdo, even if Leto’s famous Globes bun merely looked like he did it all himself. Buns take little thought and little work. Braids require planning to be executed well.
Plus, let’s not forget that however hot Fukunaga (or anyone else) may look with man braids, there is a perpetual counterpoint: Riff Raff. Take, for instance, his appearance at this weekend’s VMAs.