Reflective stylist likes white while at work

Candid Closet

July 18, 1996|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,SUN FASHION EDITOR

Stylist Paul Skotarczak believes a visit to a beauty salon should be an experience of renewal -- a chance to sit back, find new confidence and emerge for the better.

He may have discovered the key to reflection during his years as a semi-cloistered monk of the Black Franciscan order, where he also studied for his degree in philosophy. Although his time as a monk was a rich spiritual experience, he says, he wanted more.

"I thought it possible to touch and influence more people by being in the world," he says. "They don't teach you that in the monastery."

The outside world was a rude awakening.

"I had no job experience; I was scrambling for work. Some hairdressers offered me a free haircut, and as I watched them work I said to myself, 'I can do that.' " They offered him an apprenticeship. "All those degrees, and I decided to be a hairdresser."

Now, 13 years later, he and his partner Bruce Perna have built a prestigious business at Paul's namesake salon at Festival at Woodholme. There a grand plans for a the spa where his clients can retreat for an hour or a day to refresh body and spirit.

"I don't preach," he says, "but I know that confidence and comfort with yourself improves the quality of your life."

How do you resolve the glamour of a successful salon with your spiritual self?

In my own way, I offer guidance and help to my staff and my clients. If you want quality in life, you have to keep your conscience clear in everything you do. If you do, I guarantee you that nothing will go wrong. I strive to project strength and confidence and that carries over to the people I work with.

Does that mean confidence in your own style?

Yes. Trends and fashions are great, but the classics are timeless. People often tell me I don't dress like a typical hairdresser, whatever that means.

I consider my clients. Every day at work, I wear a white shirt and tie. That white shirt serves as a canvas for my clients. When I work behind them, we look together in the mirror. A busy or colored shirt would distort what is happening with their image; obscure the hair color and silhouette.

I wear white shirts so I can see a hair style taking shape.

Surely, there's more to your wardrobe than white shirts?

I love colors and fabrics, too. I discovered Missoni in Florence last year. The colors draw people because when you feel great, you radiate.

I find Missoni here at J. S. Edwards, where Eddie is very nice and current.

The people at Gage are very knowledgeable, too. I also get a lot of things from catalogs, because there's so little time to shop; life is so busy.

You must have some leisure time. How about play clothes?

I love the idea of tennis whites. I play weekly. Now that I'm 42, I understand the need for exercise.

Then there's the garden. We turned a cornfield into acres of landscaping -- grasses, formal gardens, herbs, lilies.

xTC Do you shop trendy garden catalogs such as Smith & Hawken for garden gear?

Some of the tools are cool. The idea of spending $50 on gardening gloves is ridiculous. I use the $1.99 hardware kind.

Are there dressy occasions in your calendar?

Sure, who doesn't look great in a tuxedo? And I love parties. The house was built for entertaining -- elegant, casual, extravaganzas. It has a ballroom. I had a white costume party with laser light effect for 300.

White again? What did you wear?

White slacks and a white vest. No shirt.

What was your monastery dress code?

Long black robes and a cape.

Basic black and a cape sounds pretty classic. Would you ever wear a cape again?

If it was possible to get away with wearing one and still look debonair, I'd do it. Just haven't found the right one.

How did your sense of style develop?

I don't know. Years ago, I did do some small jobs for Barry and Bobby Bricken, and their clothes are fine. I know what I love. Life has to be versatile and so do clothes. I try for a confident look. Add a smile and it's magnetic.

It's all in how you carry yourself; work yourself into your clothes. I exercise to improve my posture. As a business owner, I find that what I project is the kind of client I attract. That's how I put myself together, with an eye to comfort and confidence.

Any favorite accessories or acquisitions?

Great-looking scarves wrapped simply under a luxurious sport coat are wonderful to wear. Belts are tricky, they have to be just so.

What tends to accumulate in the closet?

Bathrobes. Let me count. I see 14, and there are many that are put away. I have summer cottons, terry, silks, kimonos. They're so comfortable to wrap into after a long day. I designed kimonos for my spa and hope they're just as comforting.

Know a dresser? Let us know. Write Candid Closet, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax it to (410) 752-6049.

Pub Date: 7/18/96

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