The Origin of the Klute Cut

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Klute not only made Jane Fonda an Academy Award winner but also a hair influencer. After its release, women across the United States were requesting the “shag” cut that her character Bree showcased on the screen.

But while the film may have helped popularize the haircut, it didn’t create it.

In 1970, Jane Fonda was tired of having long hair.

As she wrote in her autobiography, “Hair had ruled me for many years. Perhaps I used it to hide behind. The men in my life liked it long and blond, and I had been a blonde for so long that I didn’t even know what my own color actually was.”

Describing her realization as a “hair epiphany,” she decided it was time for a change. She turned to her husband’s barber, Paul McGregor, and gave him these instructions: “Do something.”

The result was her new look.

“I knew right away that I could do life differently with this hair.”

It wasn’t just Klute, however, which drew attention to her new cut.

Prior to the movie’s release, in November 1970, Fonda was arrested on the charge of drug smuggling, when her vitamins were mistaken for something else. At the time, she had gone on a college campus tour protesting the Vietnam War, and she believed that it was for this reason that she had been targeted.

The resulting mug shot from her arrest has since become a popular image and one which is even included on some of the merchandise that she sells on her website.

“I sure got a lot of mileage out of that arrest."

She later reflected, “I actually think that Klute, from a fashion point of view, is the most iconic film I've done.”