By Amy O'Connor
I have equally disliked a host of haircuts from both NYC’s top salons and unnoted random snip joints. A very pricey, curly mullet is a memorable hair disaster that ties for worst with a misshapen hack job from a tiny place on the Lower East Side. But most of my cuts have been fair to middling. The only haircuts I’ve really loved have been by Ric Pipino, and it’s only when Ric has cut my hair that I’ve been stopped on the street by strangers compelled to find out who did the job. And thus I was overjoyed to hear that Ric, hair stylist extraordinaire for over 25 years, had opened a flagship salon partnered with Wella Professionials in the Galleria on 57th St.
While fashion insiders, celebs and the stylish set have been getting their effortlessly chic haircuts and color at the intimate Pipino Nolita salon downtown, Pipino 57, spread over two levels, features a color bar, spray tanning, eyebrow shaping, manicures, and a curated selection of jewelry by hot designers such as Pamela Love and Manon Von Gerkan along with books and objects which echo the easy glamour of Pipino’s cuts and color at the downtown salon, but on a grander scale.
I had been blowing out my hair straight and ignoring that it had become too long and shapeless. It was time for something shorter and low maintenance that I’d wear curly. My main hope was that the new cut would be stylish, not curly Granny-style or like Shirley Temple’s coils or poodle-ish or like ‘80s rocker Billy Squire (or Constantine Maroulis, for the American Idol set). I was hoping for something kind of classic or French-inspired a la Ines de la Fressange. So, I got a haircut, but it didn’t quite sit right with me – curls to the collar bone in long layers that maybe looked a bit bohemian chic, but, I must admit, brought to mind Constantine Maroulis pre-blowout and even the twisted strands of a Raggedy Ann doll I had as a child. I wanted something tighter, neater and with shorter layers in the back that would boost the volume a bit. I went to Ric armed with some images of Shalom Harlow wearing a short Flapper-style curly bob. I think I will always look up Shalom Harlow’s haircuts for reference since she has sported so many fabulous curly cuts.
Ric set to work, working quickly with concentration. Being the easy-going Aussie that he is, he humored me as I neurotically kept asking him if my new cut would be like the one in the photos, and he reassured me that the end result would be much like the cut in the photo. Truly, I had nothing to worry about, Ric has an unerring eye and mastery over any type of hair. I finally buckled down to the task of tabloid reading, and we had a good laugh when I looked up and said, “It looks great just like this, no need to use the diffuser,” only for Ric to point out that he had just finished drying it with the diffuser!
Ric is wonderfully thorough with his client consultations; asks what you envision for your hair, how you usually style it and makes sure that your cut is the perfect complement to your face and hair texture. Because of his precise artistry, another earmark of Ric’s cuts is how beautifully they grow out, a great perk for those of us with hectic schedules that make frequent trims tricky to fit in. I walked out already enjoying my new shorter ‘do, and while I don’t place too much stock in the opinions of others, no one loved my former mid-length cut, but this one has reaped me loads of compliments, even from my guy (and we know guys supposedly prefer long locks). Total satisfaction!
PIPINO 57 – WELLA PROFESSIONALS FLAGSHIP
115 E. 57th Street
(Between Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY, 10022