Oribe Canales

Co-Founder, Oribe Hair Care

One of the most sought-after celebrity hairstylists in the world, Oribe Canales was famous for creating the sexy, big, beautiful hair that became synonymous with the rise of the‘90s supermodel. Oribe’s work graced the runways of nearly every well-known designer and the covers of major fashion magazines worldwide, as well as countless international ad campaigns and commercials.

Born in Cuba in 1956, Oribe immigrated to the United States as a child. At 18, he attended beauty school in Buffalo, NY, where he met the soon-to-be-legendary hairstylist Garren, who encouraged him to pursue his passion for hairdressing. In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Oribe began a partnership with photographer Steven Meisel and makeup artist François Nars that would re-define beauty in that era. Oribe formed a career-defining relationship with Gianni Versace in the early ’90s, which led to countless creative collaborations, including iconic print ads and commercials as well as groundbreaking runway shows. During that time, he was also known for his palatial Fifth Avenue salon at Elizabeth Arden in New York City.
It wasn’t until the late ‘90s that Oribe became a household name thanks to his alliance with aspiring musician Jennifer Lopez, who reached out to him having spent her teens admiring his work in Vogue. Beginning with the cover of her first album, On the 6, they collaborated for nearly two decades.

In 2008, Oribe began working with Oribe Hair Care president and co-founder Daniel Kaner to translate his love of hairdressing and individual beauty into the collection of products he’d always envisioned: A range grounded in traditional hairstyling and blended with leading technology and the finest ingredients. The result was an edited line focused on the needs of the hair-obsessed.

​​Oribe genuinely loved what he did, and he did it with passion and conviction until his death in 2018.
“I’ve been a hairdresser for most of my life. Hairdressing is what I do, it’s what I love.”
(Oribe Canales)

The Oribe Canales Timeline

A journey of true creativity, authenticity, and mastery.

1956 Born September 13 in Jaruco, Cuba.
1977 Oribe Canales begins beauty school in Buffalo, NY.
1978 Hired by Garren for his celebrity-filled salon at the Plaza Hotel.
1980-88 Oribe begins his editorial career, styling hair for the cover of the most prominent fashion magazines.
“Oribe Canales was one of the first stylists to create a hairstyle that would make you say, ‘Oh, THAT’S Oribe hair!,’ whether it was on the covers of magazines, the red carpet or in beauty campaigns.”
(Scotty Cunha, Celebrity Hairstylist)
1981-83 Returns to the Garren salon.
1985-86 Begins work with prominent Italian fashion magazines.
1985 Creates the Oribe Agency, which represented such hairstylists and makeup artists as François Nars, Laura Mercier, Danilo, Serge Normant, Bobbi Brown, Jimmy Paul and others.
1987 Oribe opens his first salon, located in the Parachute store on Columbus Avenue — then one of the hottest stores in New York — followed by a second salon in the store’s SoHo location. Clients included everyone from Christy Turlington to Steven Meisel, with whom he soon began collaborating on shoots, such as a Comme des Garçons campaign featuring Turlington.

Begins working with Meisel and Nars, a team that dominates the runways, campaigns and international magazines and leads to the creation of the Big Six Supermodels.
1992 Created hair looks for the reopening of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The busts, based on Christy Turlington, featured hair crafted from raffia and papier mâché.
1990s Oribe is connected to Gianni Versace. As Versace’s career explodes, the two become inseparable, working closely on shoots, ad campaigns and runway shows. The designer brings Oribe everywhere with him, making him one of the first American hairdressers to work so prolifically in Europe.
1992 Styles Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis, changing the look of fashion.
1993 Judy Erickson begins working with Oribe as his assistant and remains with him until 2018.
“Oribe was bold in his authentic approach that was purely coming from his gut, and he was instrumental in formulating and forging the path forward for others to follow in the“freelance” fashion world that had very little established protocol at the time. The business was in its infancy, and it was being created by a handful of artists in the moment.Oribe and Omar Ismail had the vision and understanding that hair and makeup artists needed to be elevated and represented properly for their contribution and artistry to the business. They created an agency that launched many of the careers of the most sought-after hair and makeup artists of that time.”
(Judy Erickson, Oribe Canales’ Longtime Assistant)
1995 Launches his first product line, which includes a tin of pomade in retro-chic packaging bearing his image as a 1950s-style muscle man. His friend Karl Lagerfeld suggested that he design the bottles to look like dishwashing detergent. Opens Miami salon on Euclid Road in Miami Beach.
1996-2003 Begins to work with Jennifer Lopez, beginning with the cover for her first album, On the 6.
1997-2000 Styles 36 consecutive covers with photographer Gilles Bensimon for Elle US.
“Oribe created a fantasy world for his clients and styled some of the most recognizable and dramatic hairstyles in fashion history. He was also incredibly handsome and loved by many.”
(Iggy Rosales, Celebrity Hairstylist)
2008 Oribe partners with haircare visionary Daniel Kaner to create a line that would live up to his high-performance standards. They crafted every detail from scratch, from the formulations to the fragrance to the design.
“Oribe had an incredible impact on beauty and fashion with his ability to combine old, iconic glam with new technology.”
(Sonia Lee, Celebrity Hair Groomer)
2011 Receives the Visionnaire award at Intercoiffure from his client, Sarah Jessica Parker.
2018 Styles his last fashion show for Jeremy Scott’s circus-themed resort collection for Moschino, crafting teased looks that make the most of Dry Texturizing Spray, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary that year.
“I will never forget hearing the name Oribe for the first time as a teenager in beauty school during the 2000s. He was a trailblazer in the beauty industry and his lifestyle, brand, and signature sexy hairstyles are something that will never be imitated or duplicated. He paved the way for all of the aspiring hairstylists after him, including myself. Oribe is the epitome of what a celebrity hairstylist embodies.”
(Judy Erickson, Oribe Canales’ Longtime Assistant)
2018 Oribe Canales passes away in Miami.
“If I’m still doing hair in 10 years, I still want to be learning. I never want to get to the point where I know it all, because then it will be boring.”
(Oribe Canales)