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PHIL JACKSON'S LOOK NOW & ZEN LAKERS HEAD COACH GOES L.A., SPORTING A STYLISH NEW WARDROBE AND HAIR CUT INSPIRED BY FENG SHUI.

Byline: Barbara De Witt Fashion Editor

Prodded by his girlfriend, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has adopted a new, oh so So Cal look that's inspired by Feng Shui and given form by a hair stylist and clothes designer.

Jackson has sidelined the bushy beard for a trim mustache and super-hip ``soul patch.'' (You know, that just-short-of-a-goatee facial hair style that's popular with the Silver Lake music and art crowd). He has a shorter, ``water cut'' with more pepper than salt in his hair while sporting a dapper custom-made wardrobe.

The idea for the makeover was planted in September when Jackson spent a week at the Golden Door spa in Escondido with his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, the 39-year-old daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

``Phil already has a good sense of style,'' Jeanie Buss said. ``But he's shy and needed a little help.''

Jackson says nobody was looking at his haircut when he coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. But now he's a champion in L.A.

``I'm still getting used to it,'' said the 55-year-old coach. ``I like the less-care, less-hair aspect to it . . . and I'm amazed at what I look like.''

Jeanie Buss agrees.

``I think he's sexy anyway he looks, but this new look is great!''

Whether the Jackson makeover will help the Lakers repeat as NBA champions remains to be seen, but the fashion world is impressed with his hipness.

``It's about time he started pulling his look together,'' said Leon Hall, co-host of E! television's ``Fashion Emergency.''

``After all, he represents a major team and is seen by millions of people on TV and mingles with stars, so he should look the part . . . especially since he's following in the footsteps of Pat Riley, one of the most dapper dressers in current sports.''

Defending himself, Jackson quipped, ``I'd like to follow in Pat's footsteps and win as many NBA championships as he did, but our looks are entirely different. Pat, with his Armani suits, is Mr. Slick . . . and I'm Mr. Comfort.''

Not surprisingly, the basketball coach who's known for sharing Zen philosophy with his players didn't approach the makeover lightly. It was carefully executed according to Feng Shui guidelines, said Ventura-based stylist Billy Yamaguchi, who was recommended by Jeanie Buss.

``When it comes to Feng Shui, the ancient Asian art of placement, we look at the whole house, so to speak, and try to determine the client's chi (energy) and then choose hair styles, glasses and clothing that will suit him best,'' Yamaguchi said.

``Since Jackson has a water element in his personality we gave him a 'water cut' to enhance his sophisticated, but risk-taking energy and then suggested a new wardrobe based on winter shades, such as black and gray which enhance his hair coloring.''

A water cut?

``It's a short, brushed-forward style that has a gladiator appeal and is a youthful look for him. And with his shortened sideburns, his cheekbones are more emphasized,'' Yamaguchi explained.

Jackson didn't have to look far for his new wardrobe, selecting Costa Mesa-based David Rickey. The design studio also makes suits for many of the players who helped the Lakers win this summer's championship, including league MVP Shaquille O'Neal.

According to designer David Heil (whose partner is Rickey Lamitie), ``The wardrobe we've designed for Jackson will include single-breasted, three-and-four-button suits in black, gray and taupe that he'll wear with white or blue shirts and solid or neat ties. We're not giving him the Regis look, but a special look created just for him, right down to his custom- made, cap-toe lace-up shoes.''

So what's next?

Yamaguchi said look for Jackson to be wearing thicker black-framed glasses soon. The coach isn't making any promises.

``I'm going with it one step at a time,'' Jackson said. ``But I'll probably grow a beard during the playoffs.''

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 3 color) Shedding his 1998 Chicago beard, far left, Lakers coach Phil Jackson is dawning a new Feng Shui look, complete with a ``soul patch.

Michael S. Green/Associated Press

Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 14, 2000
Words:677
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