upr-header-1.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
UPR doesn’t happen without YOU! Help us reach our goal today as we spring to the finish line. GIVE NOW

Inventor of the scrunchie dies, leaving behind a fabulous fashion legacy

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw once made this declaration about a hair accessory in an episode of "Sex And The City."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SEX AND THE CITY")

SARAH JESSICA PARKER: (As Carrie Bradshaw) No woman who works at W Magazine would be caught dead at a hip downtown restaurant wearing a scrunchie.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

But the scrunchie never really went away. And for that, we can thank its creator, Rommy Hunt Revson, who died earlier this month.

SUMMERS: She first made them in 1986. She wanted to come up with a hair tie that wasn't made of metal or plastic. And Revson later told the podcast "Every Little Thing" she was inspired by the waistband of her sweat pants.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, "EVERY LITTLE THING")

ROMMY HUNT REVSON: And I said, you know what? That pucker-y waist, I'm going to try to mimic that for my hair.

SHAPIRO: Freelance journalist Sara Radin called herself the internet's unofficial scrunchie historian, and she remembers Revson this way.

SARA RADIN: She was a genius who came up with an invention that really changed how women dress.

SUMMERS: And Patrick Hughes, a fashion historian at Parsons School of Design, says the scrunchies' visibility in late '80s and '90s pop culture made it a big hit.

PATRICK HUGHES: Well, when I think of the heyday, I think of the strength of the scrunchie, I immediately go to Madonna. I think of Janet Jackson.

SUMMERS: Me, too. But all trends must come to an end. He also remembers the "Sex And The City" moment.

HUGHES: (Laughter) That was tremendously humorous and also true.

SHAPIRO: Hughes says the early 2000s brought a cultural boom in New York that left the scrunchie behind. But by 2019, as red carpets and Teen Vogue declared, the scrunchie was back. Here's journalist Sara Radin again.

RADIN: There was novelty to it. It felt quirky. It just was like a fun accessory that added something different to an outfit.

SUMMERS: OK, Ari, I think you're going to love this one as a fellow dog owner. Did you know that the original name that Revson gave it was Scunci? She named it after her dog.

SHAPIRO: Her dog was named Scunci.

SUMMERS: I guess.

SHAPIRO: The pronunciation didn't stick, but the scrunchie - not Scunci - has more than proved its staying power. Rommy Hunt Revson died September 7 at 78 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kai McNamee
Ashley Brown is a senior editor for All Things Considered.