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BY DESIGN : Rachel Really Gets Around

August 31, 1995|DENISE HAMILTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Every few years, one highly visible hairdo gets a headlock on American women.

Farrah Fawcett's feathered wings. Dorothy Hamill's helmet bob. Kate Moss' straight and stringy anti-style. And now, Jennifer Aniston's "Rachel," a retro-'60s layered cut with a full crown, half bangs and a bit of a bouffant.

With a little help from "Friends," the hit NBC sitcom on which she appears as Rachel, Aniston has set the style of the moment.

"I've had women fly out from New York, Chicago and Dallas just to get their hair cut like Jennifer," says Chris McMillan, who cuts Aniston's hair and works out of the L.A. salon Estilo. "It's crazy and ridiculous and they're out of their minds. But they know who I am and they want that cut."

McMillan says he is booked for the next four to six weeks, with more than half of his clients demanding the Rachel treatment.

Rachel-mania has also struck at the tony Jose Eber Salon in Beverly Hills. "I'd say 40% of the people who come in ask for it," says a representative of the Rodeo Drive salon.

At Yutaka on Melrose Avenue, stylist Michael Okin says that 15 out of 50 women he saw last week asked for the Rachel. Okin says he likes to give the Rachel cut because it looks good on most women, regardless of the length or thickness of their hair.

"That cut's been around for a while now, but Jennifer really made it more universally recognizable," he adds.

Today's Rachel cut is a standard that hairdressers learn in beauty school, says Lynn Fountain Campbell, owner of Shear Perfection Hair Salon in Hollywood. Angie Dickinson sported it for the TV show "Police Woman," and Goldie Hawn wore it back when it was called "The Gypsy." The latest version is particularly popular on the music and fashion scene.

"It seems to be a certain craze," confirms Janine Jones, senior press manager for "Friends." "But we don't want [Aniston] to become the Farrah Fawcett of the '90s."

When the show started last season, Aniston, who plays a pampered young woman embarking on a life of independence after leaving her fiance at the altar, had long tresses. About three episodes into the season, she began getting shorter cuts until finally settling on the current Rachel look. NBC started getting up to 10 calls a day from women desperate to know who cut Aniston's hair.

McMillan's business picked up to the point of madness. The stylist is now in demand for music videos, including one for Chynna Phillips, and commercials. Patti Kassover--yes, McMillan has an agent--says her client charges $60 for a cut for celebrities and proles. "He's very non-selective," she says.

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