Friday, August 28, 2009

I haven't yet washed Oribe out of my hair. I have a party tonight, so I will indeed wash and try to style it myself. That should be interesting.

I just copied this bio from his Web site, my additions are in brackets!

Oribe has been one of the most sought after hairstylists for fashion, editorial and advertising work for the last 30 years. [Understatement of the decade.] His collaborators include countless photographers, like Bill King, who introduced him to the fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, a co-conspirator during his Steven Meisel years. There was the meticulous Irving Penn, who Oribe still refers to as Mr. Penn [for those non-fashionistas, Irving Penn is the John F. Kennedy of fashion photography]; and Helmut Newton, who shot Cindy Crawford for American Vogue with hair that Oribe teased to infinity; and others like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Francesco Scavullo and Horst. Oribe has worked with creative directors like Fabien Baron and Keesha Keeble; make-up artists like Fran├žois Nars [he told me his still working with Francois, whose now experimenting with photography], Pat McGrath, Kevyn Aucoin and Stephane Marais; and fashion designers like Gianni Versace, a mentor who inspired Oribe’s tattoos [OMG, I didn't know that!], and Karl Lagerfeld, who took the rock and roll hairstylist under his wing [I would sell all Roxy's jewelry to be under that wing, let me tell you].

And then there were the models, the celebrities and the icons he transformed and worked with, from Beverly Johnson the pre-cursor to the supermodel, to Christy Turlington who [he styled MY hair after!] Oribe appears with in an iconic Vogue spread, to the always radiant Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell. In fact, it was Diana Ross who showed Oribe how to really secure a wig. Of course, one can’t leave out Jennifer Lopez, who called for Oribe to help define her look after imagining him doing her hair ever since she was a girl on the subway reading his name in fashion magazines. [Hold up, J. Lo—Meredith and I called him first! Okay, so we weren't on the 6 train coming from the Bronx, but we saw him first!] All told, Oribe has contributed to just about every major magazine and worked on just about every major fashion show [let's change that to read "any magazine or fashion show that matters]. In the last year alone his editorial and campaign work has been seen on the covers and pages of Vogue, Elle, Allure, W, V and Pop. [Charlize Theron on the cover of The September Issue, Michelle Williams on October Vogue cover and Penelope Cruz on next month's VF cover.] When he is not on set, Oribe is working out of his South Beach salon. Oribe’s magnificent career continues to grow - in large part because he loves what he does.

One reason I worshiped Versace and all those involved with that era: Fashion was art to them, not commerce. Versace circa 1993—gowns beaded to within a milimeter of their lives, constructed as meticulously as a Chuck Close portrait. Oribe's hair artistry was the punctuation in Versace's sentences. The only accessory needed. We didn't even need to look at the editorial credits to know Oribe's work—his styles were always iconic. Cindy, Christy, Naomi and Linda's haircuts were as recognizable as their faces.
But this was 17 years ago. Was I living in a past that perhaps Oribe had outgrown? Nah.

Okay, from the top. Wednesday: I'm armed with the Versace Signatures FIT book and an Anthousa home ambience gift set. And a million little voices in my brain screaming, "Omigod. Omigod. I die. I die. I die. Act normal. Don't scare him. Get a grip, Green!" So. I walk in. He's perched behind the reception desk, his once jet-black pompadour a sexy salt-and-pepper shade now. When you find a look that works for you, work it.

He looks at me and knows who I am—probably because I have crazy stalker eyes and insanely damaged hair.

"Hi-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" shrieks the idiot.

"Hiiiiiii!," says the God. "I'm so sorry about yesterday!"

"Hubidahubidahubida. Noit'sfineareyoukidding? Omigod." Shut up, you retard. God.

He leads the drooling JAP back to his chair. I give him the gift set (with fawning card) and show him the book.

"Wowww. I haven't seen that in so long!" he's super soft-spoken, and seems to get a kick out of seeing the book.

I'm not sure how much he knows about me, but he says he knows some of the story. He knows about the cancer; he doesn't know that I'm a lifelong fan. But I tell him I've been following his career since I was in high school and he is genuinely flattered and appreciative. After all, there probably aren't too many hairdresser groupies.

I tell him that I'm in his hands, he can do whatever the hell he wants—with the caveat that I want it to be a little trendy and plan to grow it out. Once he touches the hair, I can see him go into The Zone. I give him the quick hairstory.

He feels his way around my noggin and proclaims that we need to do a deep-conditioning masque first, then cut, shape, style, slowly so that we can see how it's looking both wet and dry.

"It definitely needs shaping," I say, fingering the back growth.

"Yes, we need to get rid of the mullet thing."

"Yes! Thank you!"

"I love your hair though! So thick and healthy!" He genuinely loved working with my hair—for as much smack as I talk about it, I do have lovely hair, objectively speaking. Most hairdressers have always bitched about how much hair I have. Oribe relished working with it. When I ask him which kind of hair he likes to work with, he says, "I love all hair!"

I start with questions about Versace and the 90s. Ask him what that era was like. And it was magical for him too; Gianni was a doll, he says. And one of the most brilliant couturiers. I ask if he remembers the FIT exhibit and he does. He thumbs through the book a little and muses, almost as an afterthought, that he did pratically all of the girls' hair in that book. In fact, he volunteers, he still works a lot with the Versace clan and recently went to Donatella's birthday. He loves the entire family, raves about how nice they are. I've actually never heard anything bad about them. My only interaction has been with Santo's daughter Francesca, years ago, but she was a doll, wearing jeans from the Gap and comfortable chilling at my apartment in L.A. with Lee Ann and me.

Anyway, so he still does Versace campaigns. And lots of Vogue covers. (Too bad the VOGUE banner covers the hair on each issue!) But what he's doing hair for and whose hair it is seems to matter little to him; it's the hair he loves. Which is why Oribe is an artist and revolutionary. He's in love with his job. I ask him which is funner, editorial, runway, regular haircuts? He just loves it all.

So we agree on bangs and cutting off the mullet, but beyond that I'm game for whatevs. (Dad was SHOCKED I relinquished any control.) So he starts cutting. The Versace book is perched on the table with his equipment. The cover shot is this:

And this is the the interior page I'd ear-marked for him to sign.
In the back of both our minds, I planted the seed for the haircut without even thinking about it. The more the cut took shape, the more Oribe it became. His signature is all over his work. Oribe is no shrinking violet. He is the undisputed king of Big Hair. Even when big hair isn't in, if Oribe does it, it's in.

I tell him that pre-chemo I was your typical UES Jap-head—stick straight, no bangs, long layers. "So I have no idea how to style my hair now. It was always wash and go."

"I think the bigger the better! I think with your cheekbones you can go BIG or you can slick it back and be sexy or you mess it up. I just did Posh and put a piece in to make it BIG and it looks great!"

"Wait, did you do THE Posh?!"

Nooo. He did the correction;)

"I want you to come back before you have it straightened! I want to see your hair natural! And don't ever let anyone use a razor on your hair ever again, okay?"

So he cuts and I talk and drool and fawn and die. He cuts it wet, then blows it, then they flat-iron it. Then he sees how it's shaping up and cuts again, dry.

After the wet cut:

Flat-ironing it before he cuts it dry
The dry cut

After we finish, Oribe runs off with the Versace tome to find a pen to autograph it with.

He returns and shows me excitedly several photos of Christy, pointing. "This is how you should do your hair! Make it big, messy. Look at this! It's perfect!"
You can see me looking at Hemley like, "Is this seriously happening?"

God, why can't I just squeeze him into my Balenciaga and tote him home with me?

More post- shots TK from Tomas. I'm already emotionally drained from trying to capture all the dialogue, much of which is classified information that I'm not even going to touch on . . . I will post photos from tonight over the weekend.

Long live fashion, the arts, inspiration and creative mavericks. I'm so happy to report that the first 'idol' of mine I've met is indeed worthy of worship; a true artist who takes immense pleasure in his craft. Not for fame or money or glory, but because, as his bio states and as he proved to me: because he loves what he does.

We should all be so lucky. Oh, and he's happy to be the ending of my book. I cleared it with him. And I told him that I'm quoting him on my book jacket saying: "I just loooove your hair!"