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Looks to Dye For : Technicolor tresses are back, bolder than ever. And this time guys are leading the pack.

July 16, 1993|MAUREEN SAJBEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's lurid. It's garish. People are wearing it on their heads.

Rock stars were the first to dye their hair brilliant fuchsia and nuclear-accident orange.

Duran Duran's John Taylor and Nick Rhodes abandoned their brown and blond locks for fire-engine red and amethyst before starting their North American summer tour. Taylor, the dark, romantically handsome bass player, made his switch to red backstage before a rehearsal and surprised even his own band members.

Weiland, lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots band, did his own dye job. In his last video, his Luke-Perry-from-hell short 'do was a glow-in-the-dark orangey yellow. Recently, he switched to a fuchsia, using a shade called Red Rose, one in the English-made Manic Panic lineup of hair dyes.

Perry Farrell of Porno for Pyros has a flamingo pink 'do, also self-administered.

Technicolor hair is being picked up by a bold few of the general public, especially guys who work in fashion. It has its roots in the punk movement of the '70s, when green and blue mohawks roamed Melrose. Singer Cyndi Lauper and fans kept the momentum going until the mid-'80s, when the fashion faded.

This recent dive into color is an all-new take because the cut that goes with it is different and it's mostly on men.

"It's not a wild cut with wild color," says Danilo, New York's hair god at the Pierre Michel salon in the Plaza Hotel. "It's simple, normal hair with brilliant color."

Danilo, who uses Manic Panic, has been through a range of peacock hues. Some of his clients, among them fashion designer Todd Oldham, are also playing with color.

Oldham's longish bowl-cut hair was emerald for several months, then sapphire. Danilo hopes Oldham will go with ruby next to continue the jewel theme.

"Hair-color sales so far this decade have been much higher than in the '80s, probably due in part to MTV," says Tish Bellomo, half of Tish & Snooky, the sisters who have wholesaled Manic Panic in the United States since 1977. They began at St. Mark's Place in Manhattan's East Village and recently moved a few blocks north to the former basement crash pad of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.

Manic Panic dyes are a semi-permanent vegetable dye in a base of conditioner and last from a week to a few months, depending on the color and condition of the hair. The most popular colors are plum, alpine green and two shades of red called Fire and Rubine. The 32-tone color chart looks like a paint sampler at Standard Brands. And, yes, there are customers who buy lagoon blue, apple green, daffodil and tangerine.

"I saw a guy walking down the street the other day," says Bellomo. "He was dressed conservatively, carrying an attache case and his hair was short, combed back and bright orange."

In Hollywood, Manic Panic is available at Sunset Beauty Supply. The dyes can be applied at home, but most hairdressers recommend a salon.

"To do this, you have to bleach your hair because it (the dye) only grabs to processed hair," explains Danilo. "In a salon, you can get bleached to one tone. When you do your own, you get a tie-dyed effect."

Those who want permanence may want to consider Japanese dyes.

In Beverly Hills, Umberto colorist Stuart Gavert mixes bright orange, green and canary yellow Grigio dyes from Japan with browns to achieve a rich natural look. But he is now getting requests for the bright colors unalloyed with brown. He winces--"for the same reason I cringe when I see bell-bottoms," he says.

Gavert, who had turquoise hair in the mid-'70s, says it's natural that kids in '70s revival clothes would want '70s hair colors.

Walter Giedrocz, a shoe salesman in Beverly Hills, was one of Gavert's first new color customers. He chose streaks of Crayola yellow on a base of cinnamon brown. The combo attracts stares on the street, but Giedrocz says he likes it. And, perhaps more important, his employer doesn't mind.

"Bright colors give you a look-at-me kind of look," explains Gavert. "It's one of the things you do when you're young."

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