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Fashion : A SPECIAL REPORT: SPRING INTO FALL : Choice Cuts : Short,Sweet and to the Point : Men: Could the ponytail really be dead? Yes, say some hairdressers. The newest look is wash-and-wear simple.

May 02, 1990|ROBERT BURNS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Following in the fab footsteps of fashion, men's hair styles are going back to the future. Just like the groovy threads on clothing racks, the hippest in hair has its, um, roots in the '60s.

We're not talking Summer-of-Love-Hippies-in-the-Haight '60s. More like Beatle mop-tops and Moondoggie locks.

One of the main reasons this short cut is getting popular is that it's easy care. Low-maintenance guys project the perfect image in this age of activism. Showing up at a Heal the Bay fund-raiser looking as though you spent the last hour spritzing fluorocarbons into the atmosphere is definitely a coif faux pas.

"You could say that long hair, ponytails, kind of played out," says Linda Villalobos of the Umberto hair salon in West Hollywood. "Now it's more of a textured look. It's a look that's convenient for people's lifestyles. Everyone is so busy."

That means wash-and-wear hair. No blow drying. No heavy styling.

"It's a clean look," says Hiroshi Konishi, owner of Object hair salon in Los Angeles. "It gives an interesting shape to the head and it's so easy to take care of."

What is the look? Well there are two cuts very popular right now, although it may take a stylist to tell them apart. Basically, the cut is longer and one length on top, cut close--sometimes shaved--at the sides and back. Longer sideburns are optional but very cutting edge.

Slicking the hair back with Vitalis or other wet-look products gives the cut a professional, GQ model sort of appearance. Worn loose and clean, it is an updated '60s surfer image.

"It's a pixie kind of look for both men and women," says Villalobos.

Sort of a Gidget Goes Male?

"It's really a ladies' haircut," says Konishi--who thinks of it as almost 1940s-esque. "It's pretty much the most interesting hair style for men right now."

As for his customers, William Escalera of Menage a Trois in Beverly Hills says, "the really trendy ones want a '60s look," Escalera says. "Young guys who have never seen him tell me they want to look like Jim Morrison (of the Doors)."

"I think we've taken the concepts of the '60s and incorporated them into the '90s," says Frank Reale of New York Hair Salon in Santa Monica.

And then there's one look that's mod to the extreme: hair cut short all over with short, sharp bangs. Think of something between Mr. Spock and Caesar. Call it the et tu , do.

Well, what about all the guys who've spent the last three years growing their hair out?

"Most of the record people kept (long hair)," says Escalera. "The regular people cut it."

Reale notes that the ponytail is still in but "it's a bushy type of ponytail, very bulky . . . massively bulky."

OK, so long hair only works on 45-year-old rock stars and aging Alice Cooper groupies? Not necessarily. To keep it long and updated, the trick is to cut it one length all over. What of the future? "History always repeats itself," says Escalera of Menage a Trois, who points out that the really hot clubs in New York have left the '60s behind and are now doing the '70s. That's right: "Saturday Night Fever," polyester and puffed up, high hair.

Yikes.

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