The release of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal” music video made for a mid-Monday fever dream. Brought forth, once again, from the moody, idiosyncratic mind of Petra Collins (Collins is also behind the “Good 4 U” video), “Brutal” provided a compendium of Y2K beauty with a menu of hair looks that, together, encompassed an era marked by playfully brash rebellion.
Upon entry into the video’s glitchy, throwback dimension, viewers are introduced to an array of Rodrigo avatars, each sporting a stylized wig and the exaggerated personality to match. At-first-glance references include ’00s pop-star peroxide and The Fifth Element, setting the tone for the myriad of hairstyles to come. A slicked ballet bun finished with a subtle spray of lengths begins the “real” Rodrigo’s parade of looks, followed by interminable plaited pigtails (topped with a cherry red newsboy cap), low-slung space twists reminiscent of Mandy Moore’s “Candy” music video (bedroom set and all), and the video’s main mane moment, a duet of partial pigtails bound within a cascade of wavy brunette run through with burgundy.
All the work of Rodrigo’s go-to hairstylist Clayton Hawkins, the hair in “Brutal” melded perfectly with the video’s artful digital masks. The result was a lesson in range, augmented reality, and referential beauty—and it’s a complete visual treat.