Zendaya may have pioneered the ’90s supermodel and butterfly bob haircut trends, but the Euphoria star is embracing more experimental styles this year. Case in point: the jellyfish haircut, which she debuted at Schiaparelli’s spring-summer 2024 show for Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. Talk about a fashion statement.
Much like its fellow animal-inspired cousins, the wolf and octopus haircuts, the jellyfish cut is yet another take on a heavily layered shag—just a much more dramatic one. “It’s a half-short, half-long mullet style,” Raven Hurtado, stylist at Maxine Salon, says of the jellyfish cut, adding that its asymmetrical aesthetic basically makes it two haircuts in one. “The jellyfish cut has disconnected sections, with the top section [having] very short layers while the bottom layer is long and textured.”
The top section is short and rounded, resembling a short bob or a bowl cut or, in Zendaya’s case, micro fringe, while the bottom remains long. Translation? The long layers resemble tentacles, hence the “jellyfish” name.
Even before Zendaya debuted her new look, the jellyfish haircut had reached TikTok infamy, having amassed billions of views on the app. Pinterest also predicted a rise in jellyfish cuts this year; searches “jellyfish haircut” are up 615%, according to the site. Obviously, Zendaya is right on trend.
That said, the style isn’t actually anything new: It’s inspired by the hime (or princess) cut, which originated during Japan’s Heian period. Like the newly named jellyfish, the hime is also bilevel, consisting of blunt, bob-length fringe in the front and lengthy tendrils in the back.
That said, don’t go calling this a mullet. Dan Williams, stylist and salon owner at Studio Dan Williams, says the style is in a league of its own. “I wouldn’t classify this as just a mullet; it’s definitely more avant-garde, and much less hair left longer,” he tells Glamour, noting that the jellyfish is an ideal choice for someone seeking to experiment with a short blunt moment in the front while maintaining length in the back.
“If you’re thinking of chopping that long hair into a bob, I would try doing the jellyfish haircut,” Williams continues, clarifying that the chop works on all hair types and textures since its so customizable. “But it’s definitely for a niche, artsy, and experimental group.”