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Color Me Cheap

Calling all smart blondes! On your salon's training night, get a quality color treatment without spending much green: Make it the highlight of your week.

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With summer just around the corner, sun-streaked tresses are making their perennial comeback -- but getting pre-beach-season highlights can be an expensive habit. Want to return to your roots without blowing your inheritance? Many top salons conduct classes for stylists' and colorists' assistants to fine-tune their skills under the supervision of the masters. Sign up as a guinea pig, and get top-end color for a fraction of the salon's usual rates.

On Mondays, hit Oribe at 11 a.m. for any color treatment ($40, for seven to ten clients), or head over to Bumble and Bumble (four sittings a day: 10:30, 11:30, 2, 3:30), which can accommodate as many as 50 "models" who'd like their color, highlights, lowlights, or hair painting done for $20. Tuesdays, try Lépine New York -- there are four to seven appointments available at 6 p.m. ($25 for single process, $45 for highlights). John Sahag assistants take a handful between noon and 6 p.m., charging $50 for single process color treatments that would cost $300 to $375 with a senior stylist. Frederic Fekkai's class is also held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. ($40 for any service), and, every other week, five slots are open at Pierre Michel at 6 p.m. ($45). Tuesdays and Wednesdays, lighten up at John Frieda (6 p.m., $40), or book a chair in Louis Licari's 5:30 session on Wednesdays (single process, usually $75 to $175, costs $40; highlights, normally $165 to $375, are $60). Stephen Knoll's assistants train at 6 p.m. and charge $25 for single process, $40 for highlights. Call to confirm times and prices, and be sure to make all appointments in advance -- space is limited.

Oribe, 691 Fifth Ave., near 54th St., tenth floor (212-319-3910); Bumble and Bumble, 146 E. 56th St. (212-521-6500); Lépine, 667 Madison Ave., at 61st St. (212-355-4247); John Sahag, 425 Madison Ave., near 48th St. (212-750-7772); Frederic Fekkai, 15 E. 57th St. (212-753-9500); Pierre Michel, 131 E. 57th St. (212-593-1460); Louis Licari, 693 Fifth Ave., near 54th St. (212-758-2090); Stephen Knoll, 625 Madison Ave., near 58th St. (212-421-0100).

Picks of the Week
Max Mara and Marina Rinaldi's beautifully tailored suits, sportswear, eveningwear, and accessories are mostly 60 percent off. Suits that retail from $800 to $1,150 are now $220 to $600. 560 Seventh Ave., at 40th St., second floor (718-747-1656); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Wed. 9-6:30, Thurs. 9-5; 5/7-5/10.

At The Bridal Garden, wedding gowns are being reduced by as much as 75 percent. Proceeds benefit Sheltering Arms, which helps disadvantaged children. 122 E. 29th St. (212-252-0661); Tues.-Sat. by appointment only; 5/8-6/23.

Rizzoli Bookstore is closing its SoHo shop. New and shopworn books are 50 to 80 percent off. 454 W. Broadway (212-674-1616); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 11:30-7, Sun. 12-7; through 5/20.

Always a Deal

Stop judging your bed's cleanliness by its duvet cover and neglecting the down comforter within. Le Blanc Downwash, available at Gracious Home, prevents the down's natural oils from drying out and leaves it soft and jasmine-scented. So indulge yourself -- at a price that won't keep you up at night ($8.99 for sixteen fluid ounces). 1220 Third Ave., near 70th St. (212-517-6300); 1992 Broadway, at 67th St. (212-231-7800).

Check out the spring 2001 issue of New York Shops, our guide to the city's best stores, including a six-month roundup of "Sales & Bargains." On sale at newsstands now. To order a copy, call 800-496-7833 ($4.99 plus $2 shipping and handling).


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