One of my first backstage encounters with Orlando Pita went something like this:

Me: Can you tell us the inspiration for this ponytail?

Orlando (semi-blank, mostly-annoyed stare): It's a ponytail.

He had me at that stare. Yes, leibchen, sometimes a ponytail is just a ponytail. But even a ponytail incites envy when Orlando styles it. Take the easy loose versions at Derek Lam, which he tucked into the occasional high collar. "I always love that look, when hair's tucked into a jacket or scarf," he said. "Especially with really dressed-up clothes. It gives the look an ease." At Carolina Herrera (which we already wrote about but deserves just a bit more praise), he gave the models' hair lift at the crown by finger-combing after coating with hairspray. "Kind of like Carolina's hair," he said. Clever and a nice, subtle shout-out to Mrs. H! At Oscar de la Renta, meanwhile, he Duchessed-up every girl to Keira Knightly heights with tons and tons of back-combing. "If you get a good tease in there, you can make anyone's hair look big," he laughed. When asked what products he used, he replied, "Whatever's already in their hair. I did the Michael Kors show earlier today (which, incidentally, involved slicked-back, low-pinned buns), so I know what we used in the girls who came from that show. But, basically, we just work with what's already on their hair. It's not like we have time to wash it out and start fresh!"

[#image: /photos/58538e06c7188f9b26c92e78]||||||[#image: /photos/58538e0757dfc3b0230f8206]||||||Clockwise from top left: Looks from Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, and Michael Kors.

Photos: Pita, Oscar, Kors: Kyle Ericksen. Hererra: Talaya Centeno. Lam: John Aquino

See WWD's coverage to see more images from New York Fashion Week.