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June 18, 2009 7:11 PM

Eye, Fashion

Prep Time

I was never one for Greek life in college and my usual routine of getting ready for black tie events in a fluorescent-lit bathroom with my colleagues doesn't seem like a fair substitute. So entering Ric Pipino's new Centre...

I was never one for Greek life in college and my usual routine of getting ready for black tie events in a fluorescent-lit bathroom with my colleagues doesn't seem like a fair substitute. So entering Ric Pipino's new Centre Market Place salon Wednesday night, I felt like I had been transported to a posh and well-equipped sorority. Alexis Bryan Morgan sat in one of three chairs having her tresses done; Claire Bernard was in back with huge rollers in her hair; Tinsley Mortimer was having base applied to her face, and Genevieve Jones and Zani Gugelmann walked in toting garment bags with their dresses for the evening. The only thing missing was a kegger and a few Zeta Chi boys.

Instead, there were platters of prosciutto and cheese and chilled bottles of rosé and white wine that Pipino and makeup artist Alexa Rodulfo had set up for a group of girls attending that evening's Whitney Art Party. Pipino held court in the dove grey painted front room with a gaggle of stylists, while Rodulfo set up shop with three assistants in the back among upholstered furniture.

"I had a double espresso at 4, but I could use another one now," said Pipino, as he wielded a can of hairspray. "I think we're doing 11 girls tonight--but keep bringing them on."

Below: Ric Pipino and Alexa Rodulfo at work. PHOTOS BY KEVIN HATT. _DSC1308.jpg
salon.jpg Bernard and Mortimer chatted about possible European summer vacation plans, as Rodulfo worked on Bernard's eyes.

"You can't talk for the next minute," Rodulfo ordered Bernard, as she painstakingly finished her makeup.

"Okay, I'll do all the talking," said Mortimer.

Despite the veritable assembly-line efficiency of the setting (the manicurist Kristina Konarski even sent her unnecessary assistant home) and bubbly demeanors, things got increasingly chaotic as the clock ticked closer to the Whitney's 9 p.m. start time.

"I'm very easy--I just want the wet look," Fabiola Beracasa assured Pipino.

"Can I get you something?" one of Pipino's assistants asked a slightly frazzled Jones.

"Yeah my BlackBerry!" she said, eventually locating it in the back.

It was a bit of culture shock for Rodulfo, who had just returned from Paris two days earlier.

"I haven't changed my Facebook status yet," she laughed. "The girls all wanted to come late...I keep doing them and it doesn't seem to make a dent."
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