Worth the Wait
Celebrity hairstylist Ric Pipino opens his first New York salon
Story by Christopher T. Spargo / Photography by Tribble & Mancenido
Ric Pipino may be the only man in the world to have gotten his hands on Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Lindsay Lohan, and Eva Longoria Parker — follicularly speaking. The internationally renowned hairstylist has made a career of being the go-to guy for every major model, celebrity, and socialite on the scene with his distinctive cuts and masterful coloring. Now, after stints on three continents, Pipino has taken on his latest endeavor; opening a New York City salon.
Pipino began his career in Sydney, and then worked stints in London and at Warren Tricomi in New York. Following his time at Tricomi, he received the opportunity to open his own salon in Miami’s Shore Club in 2002. “It was just after Sept. 11 and it seemed like a really great time to create something new,” he says. “Miami was on the rise and had become a huge new destination.” Recently, after seven successful years, his Miami salon was shuttered due to management changes, and Pipino was given the chance to concentrate on his new project.
Given his place among the hairstyling hierarchy, it may surprise many that Pipino is just now opening his first New York outpost. The wait, however, was more than worth it. Pipino New York is homey, welcoming and relaxed, complete with black and white herringbone floors (inspired by David Lynch’s cult classic Twin Peaks), three black diamond styling chairs designed by Fendi, and works from the likes of Ben Watts and Sante D’Orazio lining the walls. It may be a salon, but it is one that drums up major, major apartment envy. Even further jealousy results from the front steps lined with vases of fresh flowers and the reception room filled with an assortment of pastries, macaroons, tea snacks, coffee, and freshly chilled wine.
The three-chaired salon has already played host to many a boldface name, most notably when Pipino invited a majority of New York’s “It” girls over prior to this spring’s Whitney Museum Art Party. Tinsley Mortimer, Fabiola Beracasa, Genevieve Jones, Claire Bernard, Alexis Bryan Morgan, and Meredith Melling Burke were just a few of the gals who gathered downtown to be curled, sprayed, and set before heading across town to Skylight Studios. After their tresses had been appropriately teased, make-up artist Alexa Rodulfo was on hand to polish the lovely ladies’ porcelain faces. “It was great to see the salon in action,” Pipino says. “They were all real sweethearts and very happy, and it was a fun night to prep for the cool event.”
Lest the only thing to sparkle be the client’s new dos, Pipino has also outfitted his NoLIta digs with a collection of baubles and wares from some of his closest friends. Pamela Love dagger rosaries, Antony Todd home décor items, Mesi Jilly rings, and the aforementioned Genevieve Jones hand bags are just some of the goods available for purchase. Also adding to the ambience is the salon’s playlist, mixed by girl about downtown Harley Viera Newton exclusively for Pipino.
To get word out about the new salon, Pipino can surely rely on his already vast client list as well as strong word of mouth, but he is also utilizing other outlets. “I’m tweeting,” he says. “It’s great! Great, fun people I knew 20 years ago are contacting me.” Of course, Pipino is not just hoping to catch up with old acquaintances. “It’s about getting my new brand out there and showcasing the image of the salon and getting wonderful feedback,” he says. Unlike his client Lohan however, do not look for constant updates. “I’m not a big one on getting on my BlackBerry every five minutes and telling people where I am,” the stylist says. He is also not about resting on his laurels. Already in development is a midtown salon and his soon-to-be-released product line, Revolution in Cut.
Pipino still continues his work for designers including Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren, as well as editorial jobs, but it is clear that his heart is in the salon. “Editorial work is make-believe for photographs. It’s highly stylized and looks beautiful,” he says. “But the salon is the real deal. You need to give someone a really great haircut, and a great stylist can make sure the client can maintain that style until the next time she gets it cut.”
So who exactly does Pipino want to get in one of those three coveted chairs? Without missing a beat, the Australian import quickly throws out the name of America’s sweetheart: “Julia Roberts. I will meet her one-day. She’s one of my favs. She’s awesome.” Naomi, Elle, and Eva aren’t so bad either.