Johnny Harrington is the hairy face of John Lewis Male model beard styles.
He&rsquo,s a 32-year-old former kitchen fitter called Johnny Harrington and he&rsquo,s lean with gingery hair and freckles. He also has the kind of beard that falls down the front of his face like a bib or a veil, in a style most recently associated with Osama bin Laden.
But you could also put a sepia tint on the picture and you&rsquo,d be gazing back at a look that was virtually compulsory for men at the time of Alfred, Lord Tennyson or Charles Darwin but hasn&rsquo,t been seen since.
There&rsquo,s nothing new about the fashion for beards. I&rsquo,ve had one for six or seven years and when I grew it I felt like a late-comer among my friends. What has changed is that now they are everywhere. A colleague speaks of being in a pub the other night and finding that every single man under 30 had a beard.
They seem to be obligatory among celebrities too. David Beckham has had one for a long time as has Brad Pitt. But now it seems that every male who has ever stood on a red carpet is sporting face fur, from Will Young to Robert Pattinson, Hugh Jackman to Ralph Fiennes, James McAvoy to Ben Affleck.
It&rsquo,s a couple of years since panicky research from the male grooming trade revealed that sales of razors and blades had fallen by seven per cent. That was at least balanced by a rush on beard trimmers. But as &ldquo,hobo chic&rdquo, takes off and it becomes sexy to look like an ageing tramp, even that level of grooming seems to be falling away.
Elauan Lee, fashion editor at Attitude magazine, says Hollywood A-listers have a lot to answer for. She adds Jake Gyllenhaal, Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Gerard Butler to the above list, as well as Ryan Gosling, who at 32 is young to be sporting a full-on beard and still have crazed fans dropping at his feet. But even 25-year-old Zac Efron is following the trend.
Male model facial hair styles
&ldquo,Today, stubble is a minimum for sexiness and style and the braver will go to a full-on beard,&rdquo, she says.
&ldquo,It&rsquo,s all about being a man. This is an obsession with masculinity. You can have a slick, smooth-tailored look and groomed, neat hair, but to give it that dangerous edge, facial hair is a must. In the fashion world, this look has been bubbling up for years. Today there are a lot more male models with trademark beards who would refuse to shave and get booked on that basis. While the A-listers won&rsquo,t go past a neat and tidy bush, the fashion world takes it to an extreme, with a look in line with a Victorian gardener.&rdquo,
Another famously hirsute man is James McAvoy
Today, stubble is a minimum for sexiness and style and the braver will go to a full-on beard
Attitude magazine's fashion editor, Elauan Lee
For Sheriff Mehmet, master barber at the grooming salon Mr Rizzo in London&rsquo,s Covent Garden, the popularity of beards is partly about saving time.
&ldquo,Men can get up in the morning and they don&rsquo,t have to shave when they&rsquo,ve got to answer their Twitter and however many other things and then get to work,&rdquo, he says. &ldquo,But it&rsquo,s also about the icons. David Beckham&rsquo,s beard is going long, Brad Pitt&rsquo,s is going longer and so is Ashton Kutcher&rsquo,s.
And the bands that are cool at the moment like Mumford &, Sons also have a big influence. Everyone is outdoing each other and they are all going longer and longer.&rdquo,
He now divides his bearded customers into two categories: those with a very tidy, tailored outline and the very natural, rough-looking beard worn with a trendy hair style.
&ldquo,It&rsquo,s as if they&rsquo,re saying, &lsquo,I may have a mad beard but I&rsquo,ve got sharp clothes and great aftershave on. I&rsquo,m not a tramp,&rsquo,&rdquo, he notes.
In the trendy salons marketing themselves as old-fashioned barber&rsquo,s shops, beard grooming is the new shaving. At Mr Rizzo, a beard shape and trim, including full consultation on how best to grow and condition a beard and mask bald areas, will cost you £,18.
For sociologists, a fashion trend never happens in a vacuum. It&rsquo,s clear to see how the last stragglehaired era, the Sixties and Seventies, was a reaction against male convention on a par with women burning their bras. Some US writers have suggested that the current elevation of a more unkempt masculinity as sexy is rooted in the 9/11 heroism of, for example, the firemen in the Twin Towers.
Male model beard styles
This theory is impossible to prove but fashion is a superficial business and it&rsquo,s just as likely that trends emerge accidentally in the constant quest for new and fresh looks.
Elauan Lee notes that French Connection and Jean Paul Gaultier have used bearded models to show their collections in the past couple of years and autumn/winter 2012 was an especially hirsute season with Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Trussardi and Missoni all pushing the hairy man.
&ldquo,That means John Lewis is relatively late to the party with their use of Johnny Harrington,&rdquo, she says. &ldquo,But one thing is for sure. The bearded man looks set to stay.&rdquo,