Shaggy noggin of Kato is the talk of the trial


A ripple of excitement swept through the nation's hairstyling salons Tuesday. Kato was on the witness stand.

As I've mentioned in the past, the O.J. Simpson trial will be remembered for having the most spectacular hair in the history of criminal law.

And of all the well-coiffed witnesses, lawyers and cops, it is the shaggy noggin of Kato, the faithful house guest, that fascinates the stylists the most.

Michael Schultz of Chicago's Blair Gordon Salon is an avid Kato watcher. He says:

"God only knows what's going on in that hair. Or in that head, for that matter. It looks like to me he's got a lot of old mousse in his hair. You're probably talkin' 3-day-old mousse hanging around in there.

"But that's the cool L.A. look. Everybody's doing it. Here too. It's grungy, it's shaggy, it's dirty, it's sexy. It's all the rage. I'll tell you, I sell more hair-care products to make your hair look dirty than ones to make your hair look clean.

"And makeup? Kato, definitely. I'd say some serious bronzing powder, just to make him look smooth and perk up the real. They're all tan, you know."

Another Kato watcher is Marcus Rincon, a stylist at Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Salon.

"It's no accident it looks greasy and dirty. That guy has enough money to afford a haircut, so it's not like he just hasn't washed his hair in a while. It's the look he's going for. The grungy hair reflects his lifestyle."

You mean he's an unwashed bum?

"No, he's carefree. He's, well, what is he? He is Kato. He's that kind of guy.

"It's something we've been doing for a while. It's a shaggy, layered cut, uneven in the shape. And the layers are so long. It's that round layering within the shape that gives him the looseness, the movement he's got. I like it. Don't you?"

I don't know. Unless he washed, he wouldn't win a ribbon at a dog show.

Mary O'Connell, a stylist in Chicago's swank Lincoln Park neighborhood, is a serious and hard-boiled Kato watcher.

"First, let's talk color. Kato is definitely not as blond as he was last summer. He's gone darker. Big-time roots.

"Second, the dirt. It looks dirty, greasy, filthy. But it's supposed to. He's working seriously hard on that. It's carefully smeared with a hair cream, a finishing cream meant to make your hair look greasy, dull, dirty and messy. I think he's trying to portray a rock-star image. That's his goal. Definitely.

"Kato's kind of like doing a bi-level shag. You see a lot of those hunks on soap operas going for that. It's like they want to have long hair, but they don't want it all one length, so they can't decide.

"He's trying desperately to avoid the clean, straight, blow-dried look.

"But I think he's gone way overboard. It's what you might call an overkill. He's desperate to look rugged and wild. Instead, he just looks like he isn't clean and needs a shower bad.

"Then we'd have to talk to him about that makeup he's got on. What is that all about? You know he's got some kind of California tan underneath it all because they all do. But he's trying to make it look more even or something, so he's got some kind of flat matte pancake thing going on. It's real heavy, like a wet powder or something. He's probably got his little theater makeup bag and he's doing it himself.

"Who can blame him, though? He's an actor. He can't be shiny!"

Matthew Williams of Art and Science said: "He's going for the bad-boy image. If you look at fashion magazines, you'll find two popular looks for men: very short and aggressive or long and lived-in looking. He's going for the lived-in look. Very lived in, I'd say.

"It conveys a very anti-establishment look. But if you ask me, he's confused. He needs to decide which way he's going. Is he going to be a guy in a sport coat like he wore today in court. Or is he the guy with the chaotic, greasy hair.

"If he keeps the hair in chaos, he should wear tank tops. If he wants to wear a sport coat, he needs to cut it and clean it. Otherwise, when you mix it, it confuses the eye.

"Then I'd do some immediate low lights to fix those roots. Please!"

I just hope that F. Lee Bailey has the job of cross-examining Kato. He'll probably say something like:

"House guest Kato, during the past 10 years, have you ever, even once, during those 10 years, taken a hot bath?"

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