Martha gets swept away with 'do

We like the coat, the Hermes Birkin bag, even the haircut.

But Martha, are you sure that swept-away look is what you should be going for in federal court? After all, you've been charged with securities fraud and other unseemly crimes. Do you think obstruction of your left eye could be construed as obstruction of justice?


It's all part of Martha Stewart's act, says Jerry Oppenheimer, who wrote Just Desserts: The Unauthorized Biography, a dishy account of the craft queen's life. "Martha's a great actress," he says. "She's actually been coached by her attorney in preparation for possibly testifying in her own defense, and the hair thing is part of her act."

The peek-a-boo 'do suggests "she's trying to hide from the jury of her peers who could send her away to prison," says Oppenheimer, whose book was reissued in paperback last year.


Hair colorist Parvin Klein helps Stewart get ready for her close-ups at the John Barrett Salon in the penthouse of Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan.

But Barrett himself comes on the phone before Klein can discuss court colors. "We don't want to comment, especially at this time," he says, as if someone has died.

So it is left to Judy Pressman, founder of JPImages, a Pikesville image consulting firm, to analyze Martha's stylish appearance.

A woman who wears her hair swept over her face is "like a man with a beard. ... it gives a feeling of hiding something," Pressman says.

She hasn't seen Martha in motion on television, just a glimpse of her in a newspaper photo. The "feeling of 'I'm sexy, I'm spicy, I'm happening' - that would be the very message she doesn't want to give," Pressman says.

She thinks a more "chic and elegant" look that says, "I'm very grounded in everything I am and everything I do," would be preferable, she says.

Then, there is this: "I do think she looks good, though, more youthful," Pressman says.

Isn't that the coup de grace for any domestic goddess?