Bobbing Mrs. Bill

updated 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ON THE SHELVES OF HIS LUXURIOUS Manhattan salon, wigmaster George Mayer has a problem: stacks and stacks of Hillary Rodham Clinton wigs that on May 15 suddenly became obsolete. On that day, the First Lady—in New York City for a family outing to the ballet—called a handsome young Frenchman to her Waldorf-Astoria hotel room and let him, so to speak, take it off. A half ounce of highlighted champagne-blond hair fluttered to the floor, and—voilà!—Hillary had a shorter, finely layered summer look, as the nation buzzed, Who did her hair?

The mystery shearer, it turns out, is French-born superstar stylist Frederic Fekkai, 34—known in the industry as King Cut—who offers his expertise to such other celebs as Demi Moore, Emma Thompson, Jodie Foster and Maria Maples for $275 a snip. Cut out, for the moment, was that other Frenchman, Gabriel DeBakey, 40, of D.C.'s tony Salon Jean-Paul, who until Mrs. Clinton summoned him to the White House for a touch-up styling the Monday after her trim hoped he was her mane man. "I was a little bit shocked," he admits, "but I told her I think it looked great."

Not everyone is so taken. "I would have given it more volume," says dissenter Vincent Roppatte, of Saks Fifth Avenue, who cut and colored Hillary's hair the week before the Inauguration. In the end, observes an approving Robin Weir, Nancy Reagan's Washington stylist, the vole will come down to politics, as usual. "It was perfectly clear," he says, "when a former Bush woman came into my salon this morning and said, 'Well, how do you like the mess?' " Weir himself professes unconcern. "It's not a vote on Bosnia," he says, "just a haircut." And if the First Lady decides to undo her do? Weir says that he's available—for $1,500. "We'll glue it back in for her, strand by strand," he says. Of course, we know where she can find some wigs....

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