Pret-a-Reporter

Celebrity Hairstylist Orlando Pita Is Sick of Red-Carpet "Sameness"

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Hairstylist Orlando Pita

Stylist who tends the manes of Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Connelly and Naomi Campbell gives his trend predictions for upcoming awards show season.

Celebrity hairstylist Orlando Pita has a bit of a problem with awards shows. “The red carpet’s become really safe,” laments the man behind the manes of Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Connelly and Naomi Campbell. “There’s a lot of sameness.” He blames that sea of impeccably—but similarly—dressed actresses in part on “these style shows where people who don’t know about fashion or how to cut a dress critique people.”

Recalls the super stylist, who has worked with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss since the late ‘90s, “When I was a kid and you looked at the Oscars red carpet you had a potpourri of looks. It was fun, and that’s kind of gone away. What I would like to see is people daring to be different. And I don’t mean you have to wear a swan dress like Bjork,” he clarifies.

“Safe” extends to hair, too. Now-pedestrian styles like the standard curling-wand waves (that many women now do every weekend thanks to YouTube tutorials) and “this kind of updo with a little volume and waves pinned up in the back” should be saved for weddings, in his opinion. Says Pita: “I think celebrities have more of a license to go for it and inspire people, but they play it safe. I’d like to see stars amp it up a bit.” He would also love to see more “cool haircuts” like Jane Fonda’s on the carpet, worn down, not in a ‘do. “‘Dos seem old fashioned.”


MAN AT WORK: Orlando Pita backstage at Maiyet's spring 2016 fashion show. (Photo: Courtesy of Maiyet)

As for what the Orlando Pita Play haircare creator (which debuted in February) is personally predicting this awards season, he expects more natural texture. “We’ve been seeing it on runways," he says, mentioning the Carolina Herrera show he worked on in February as an example. “There are a lot of designers doing it so I predict it’ll inspire celebrities to not want to iron their hair straight and then curl it.” He also sees stars wearing less extensions that are so obviously fake.

At the VMAs several stars embraced the natural curves of their locks. Kim Kardashian, for one, had a less voluminous blown-out mane with a slight wet look and shiny waves (done by blow-drying with a diffuser), and Alicia Keys, too, kept her texture au natural. “In the ‘80s women did that all the time — their hair back and that wet look and it’s beautiful and groomed and you don’t look overdone,” says Pita of the return to healthy, less processed manes. “Hopefully at the Emmys we’ll see more of that.”

Though the ‘do is ultimately dictated by the dress, for him at least, Pita says he loves the contrast of an evening gown and hair that’s down and loose. “I think it looks more modern,” he says. The less worked-on the better. “You can blow dry with your fingers and scrunch the hair a little — I don’t mean ‘80s scrunch with mousse — to get a natural texture.” His latest range for Play is Polish + Protect (launching September 15 at all Ulta stores and ulta.com), which contains nine products that aim to return hair to its original lustre, reduce frizz and protect against environmental and heat stressors.

Atmos-Shield Hair Protectant Treatment Spray, $34, and Strong Bond Split End Sealant, $26, are two heroes for achieving better looking natural locks. And for those who need more thickness or texture, his Max Capacity Hybrid Hairspray ($28) adds more, plus volume. “I always talk about Seinfeld: It’s about nothing but it’s about everything,” says Pita. “I like my products to feel like there’s nothing in your hair, but they do everything they need to.”


RULE BREAKERS: Sarah Jessica Parker paired her updo with a black LBD by Calvin Klein at the 2001 Oscars; Gwyneth Paltrow opted for a sleek bun and baby pink Ralph Lauren gown at the 1999 Oscars. (Photos: Getty Images).

That said, there are times for updos, like Pita’s favorite red carpet look he ever created, for Gwyneth Paltrow when she won the Oscar for 1999’s Shakespeare in Love, wearing a princess-y pink Ralph Lauren dress and a “severe, slicked back side bun that isn’t really what you would do with a dress like that,” says Pita. Another fond memory: Sarah Jessica Parker attending the Oscars in a black Calvin Klein minidress. “She was killed for it, and I thought, Good for you. She looked beautiful, and why do you have to wear a long gown with a train like a mermaid when 90 percent of the women will do that?” he asks.“It’s the kind of thing I wish more people would take control of. Like Alicia Keys: I love that she tries something different and puts some of her style into it instead of just letting the hairstylist and stylist have all the say.” 

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