Parting Words

You can’t talk about hair as a general thing – that’s what magazines do wrong,” sighs hairstylist Orlando Pita on a recent Friday morning. The mind behind some of recent history’s most copied hair – Gucci’s long hippie extensions, Gwyneth Paltrow’s sleek do at the Oscars and Golden Globes – is busy preparing for the Spring 2000 fashion shows (he’ll work Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and others before jetting to Europe for Gucci, Versace, and Demeulemeester). But today, he’s at Ray Beauty Supply, the dingy Hell’s Kitchen shop for hair professionals, rummaging in the dusty aisles for his favorite off-priced goops (while recovering from Madonna’s post-MTV-awards bash the night before). If you’ve ever read a fashion magazine, you’ve seen his work. Here’s what’s behind it.

Toss those plastic combs and brushes and get stuff that’ll really grip hair: Pita chooses resin combs like the NuBone II ($5.99) and round nylon and bristle brushes like the Lado Pro ($9.99). “Styling’s much easier if you use the right shampoo and conditioner,” he explains. Terax Original Shampoo ($11.95) and Terax Crema Hair Treatment ($16.99) are two favorites. “I shampoo my hair maybe twice in fifteen years,” Pita jokes. “But the models love this.”

Pros don’t buy flimsy appliances. Pita swears by the Super Solano Professional hair dryer ($79.99) and Hot Tools Professional curling irons ($29.99). “I have them in a whole range of sizes,” he says. You’ll want the one-inch model. His straightening iron of choice is the Solano Saphire ($149.99). To finish, Pita has an arsenal of shine and anti-shine pomades he deems essential for the runway (including Kiehl’s Creme With Silk Groom, not sold at Ray’s). Here, he finds Redken Water Wax ($12.99). “I’d do sleek hairstyles with that, like the Gucci style.” For messier work, he picks Fudge for Hair varnish ($11.99). “It’s the only one that makes hair look coarse, dry, and sticky,” he says, smiling. For frizz, he uses John Frieda Frizz Ease ($9.99), which doubles as a medium for other products, like Revlon Fanci-Full Color Styling Mousse ($4.99). “Want to be a redhead for a day?” Pita asks. “This is what we use on shoots. But it’s dry and matte – mix it with Frizz Ease first.”

Finish styles off with Smoothies Metal-Free Ponytail Holders ($3-$3.50 for three; “better than red or green for adults”); for an extra-tight grip, try “bungee” hook-ended bands (“for when you don’t want the style to move at all,” he explains).

Ray Beauty Supply Company, 721 Eighth Ave., near 45th St. (212-757-0175).

Picks of the Week

I. Freeman & Son is closing its antique-silver showroom and taking 75 percent off most serving pieces and tabletop accessories: Prices are from $25 for a silver-plated soup ladle to $400 for a six-inch sterling bowl to $2,000 for a pair of Sheffield candlesticks. 120 E. 56th St., Suite 440 (212-759-6900); M.C., V., checks; Mon.-Thurs. 9-5, by appointment only; 9/21-9/30.

Halston, Iceberg, and Moschino are just a few of the designers whose wares are 50 to 75 percent off at the “57th Street Invitational,” a sale to benefit unicef. You’ll also find Jill Stuart, Joseph Abboud, Trussardi, and Poem. Le Firme, 37 W. 57th St., fourth floor (212-755-6900); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 8:30-7, Sat. 10-5; 9/20-9/25.

Lin-Weinberg’s mid-century-modern furniture and home accessories are on sale for 30 to 50 percent off. Designers include Eames, Wormley, and Knoll. Prices are from $60 for a set of goblets to $650 for a Knoll armchair to $2,500 for a George Nelson desk. 84 Wooster St. (212-219-3022); A.E., M.C., V., checks; Mon.-Sat. noon-7, Sun. till 6; 9/23-10/3.

Two Percent Solution

It’s the rare fall shopping spree that benefits anyone but the spender. But this weekend, give your wardrobe and your conscience a boost with a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Saks is donating 2 percent of store and catalogue sales (and one percent of outlet sales) to the CFDA/Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Fund. At Saks Fifth Avenue; 9/23-9/26.

Parting Words