You’ve seen his work everywhere: the braided bangs at Herve Leger, on celebrities Instagrams, in your favorite fashion magazine, or backstage with DVF. Orlando Pita is one of the few whose name dominates fashion week season after season, keying hair for some of the biggest shows and creating iconic looks that are worn on the streets season after season. As an editorial stylist, he is known for gorgeous architectural shapes and timeless styles that become major hair references year after year. So what makes a mane master? Orlando Pita lets us in…
How did you get started in the industry?
My brother was an assistant to a fashion photographer back in 1984 and the hairdresser booked for the day had to cancel half an hour before the job was starting. They couldn’t find a replacement so my brother suggested me. They agreed, I went in and did the job. A week later the photographer’s agent called me and asked for a meeting. She said she thought I had something and wanted to represent me so we agreed to try it for 6 months. Thirty two years later, I’m still here.
What was your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, I go into every job thinking my career depends on it. I’ve had many challenges so it’s hard to pick one! To deal with everything, I surround myself with an amazing team of stylists and that has greatly contributed to my success. We can’t do everything by ourselves.
YSL’s last show was a 3.5 hour live show on French TV. Over 100 models, with all of the greats returning for one last time to walk for Yves Saint Laurent, the man sending 40 new couture gowns and past masterpieces from his 40 year career. As you can imagine, it was a huge production! When I’m in a situation like this, I don’t let my head go to that place of “you can’t handle this” and I have learned not to place the people I am working with on a pedestal – I go in and I do what I am there to do and I guess that’s how I handle it. Don’t lose your head!
Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest role model is my father. Even though he passed away, he is with me everyday.
Do you have a signature look that you are known for?
I have tried my whole career to embrace all kinds of hair styles and textures, from avant garde to natural. I don’t want to be known for one look but rather for being able to make all things possible.
What was the last major hair makeover that you’ve done?
Last June, I cut Amanda Seyfried’s waist-length hair down to her collarbone. She absolutely loves it and we’ve kept it up since.
What products or tools do you swear by?
It would have to be my new Body Breakthrough from Orlando Pita Play. It’s so versatile and leaves hair with amazing body and shine. I used it to start all of my hairstyles. It’s become how I start all my hairstyles. But I love all my babies.
What’s your favorite Instagram account to follow?
What was the best piece of advice that you’ve received?
The advice that I took, to open a salon and work within the hair industry and not just fashion. I missed haircutting and working with the public at large.
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago and what advice would you give to new stylists?
Not to get ahead of myself and be impatient. Try living in the moment.
For hairdressers I would say follow your heart and passion, there is nothing more satisfying than doing what you love. Being freelance and starting there can be moments when things aren’t going your way, don’t quit hang in there.
What’s next for you?
I’m obsessed with working on my new line, PLAY. I especially love meeting with my chemist. It’s really exciting to have someone help you to make your dreams a reality.
My art team is also fantastic – there are a lot of people working hard to help me make this happen! I’ve had so many “pinch myself” moments over the past few weeks now that the official launch us upon us! I am so grateful for it all!