Joan Crawford once quipped, “I think that the most important thing a woman can have—next to talent, of course—is her hairdresser.” Unfortunately for Joan, she never met the one-named wonder, Oribe.
If you’ve picked up a fashion magazine in the past, say, three decades, chances are you’re already familiar with Oribe’s work. The photographers with whom he has collaborated make his portfolio read like a who’s-who of the industry: Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Patrick Demarchelier, and—as of the release of Barneys’ Better Than Ever campaign—the one and only Bruce Weber.
Oribe joined Weber in Miami for the project, marking the first time the two had the chance to work together in such an in-depth way. “I had done a few shots with Bruce in the early ’90s,” Oribe said, “including a shot of three boys that was one of my favorites for years.” But up until now, they had never done such an involved shoot together. Though that’s not to say Oribe was a stranger on set.
“Oh, I’ve worked with almost all the girls for years,” Oribe continued, recounting stories of Vogue cover shoots with Elaine Irwin, a national tour with Christie Brinkley, and nightlife engagements with Susanne Bartsch dating back to the ’80s. “But for this, I loved that I was able to add something to a Bruce Weber photograph—beautiful, sexy women. Barneys delivered the amazing roster, but then I got to exaggerate them, to bring out even more of what you expect each of them to be.” He added that his job was that much easier, since all the women were “open to looking incredible.”
But you don’t have to take a seat in his chair to get a little of the Oribe styling magic for yourself. His eponymous product line, launched in 2007, pairs his take on old world hairstyling with new world technology and the finest ingredients. “After years in the industry and working on sets, you get to be a bit of a chemist,” Oribe said of collection. “You mix things to get the desired effect, so eventually you know what works.” Amazing products equal beautiful hair. And for anything in life that that mantra doesn’t cover, Oribe also offered this bit of advice: “If you hope for the best and put your heart and soul into something, you’ll find that it usually works!”