Tony award-nominated actress Orfeh can do a little bit of everything — she can act, sing and write music. And, it seems, she puts just as much effort into her personal style as her many other creative pursuits.
A Manhattan native, the thirtysomething Orfeh currently is appearing in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” the Off-Broadway sartorial smash written by Delia and Nora Ephron, based on the bestseller by Ilene Beckerman. The play — considered by some to be the theatrical equivalent of a chick flick — is a mixed bag of stories told by a rotating cast of actresses who use the memories triggered by the contents of their closets to relay wry, poignant stories.
In the spirit of the show’s theme, we thought it would be fun to talk — what else? — style with one of its stars. So we caught up with Orfeh in her dressing room before the show, where she filled us in on fashion, beauty and what type of shoe she wouldn’t be caught dead in.
First of all, how would you describe your personal style? It’s kind of edgy rock-chic. I once described myself in an article as “a runway model from the gutter.” It’s lots of black, leather studs — I love a good cashmere sweater, but it’ll probably have a skull or a cross on it! But my style continues to be age-appropriate.
Are you partial to any designers? I love Lipsy London. It’s very youthful and their dresses all look like they're really structured, but they’re actually very comfortable. I also love Marc Bouwer, whose popularity blew up in the last few days [he dressed Oscar winner Melissa Leo] but I was ahead [of the game.]
If you were to splurge on a mega-purchase, what would it be? Probably a Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana suit. I actually own a Cavalli suit that I’m so proud of and I love the cut.
Where do you shop? I love Saks. It’s all-encompassing and everything’s under one roof. Besides that, [lots of] boutiques in the East Village. It's funny, I'm not sure of their names but I know exactly how get there.
How about shoes? Consignment stores. I’m a really big fan. You can find some serious treasures. I love Ina’s in the village, but most of my favorites are in Miami and Philadelphia. I’ll travel for a good consignment shop. They're literally treasure troves of designer stuff worn once or twice.
Heels or flats? I won't wear flats. Will not. If I could, I’d go to bed in heels. Even my sneakers have heels!
I’m always curious about how apartment-dwellers with a shoe fetish store their shoes. I keep them all in see-through crates from Ikea or Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Are you into jewelry? In my fantasy when I have unlimited funds, Cartier would be my favorite ... When I win the Lottery! I like big, bold pieces. I love Rich Rocks, a new fabulous costume jewelry designer only available online. I like it so much, I get to wear my own [Rich Rocks] earrings in the show. I also like Lia Sofia and Lazaro on Broome Street.
“Love, Loss and What I Wore” uses clothing as a means of triggering memories and telling stories. Do you hang on to garments simply because they’re sentimental? Yes! Before I was on Broadway, I was in the recording business [in the ’90s] and I have every single piece I ever wore in my music videos. Most of it’s sparkly Pat Field or early Thierry Mugler. Also, I have an insane cropped leather motortcycle jacket that’s on the verge of coming back in style. I got it at Les Habitudes in L.A. and love it so much I won't ever wear it. I keep my stuff in pristine condition.
I'm a beauty junkie. Are you? Junkie, fanatic, lunatic. I'm particularly addicted to mascara and lip gloss.
On show nights, do you do your own makeup? I do. Before I started in the show, I did my own makeup as a test run and the show’s makeup artist liked what I did so I [got to keep the look]. In another life, I think I was a makeup artist. I can't draw to save my life, but I really understand how to make a woman with beautiful with makeup.
Do you have any style icons? Lucille ball. She knew how to wear a dress without making it look fussy, or she'd wear pants — a smoking outfit, for lack of a better phrase — and make it look cool. My modern style icon is Jennifer Lopez because she always looks impeccable. Even when she's casual. Same goes for Beyoncé. To me, they’re interchangeable — and I mean that in the best way.
A few things you may have seen Orfeh in ....
• “Sex and the City” She played a tough Staten Island girl in the infamous “Post-it” episode
• “Legally Blonde: The Musical” Her role as Paulette scored her Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Tony award noms
• “Footloose” Orfeh’s first Broadway role
• "Saturday Night Fever" Orfah played Annette in both the West End and Broadway productions
• "Across the Universe" Orfeh played a hooker in the "Come Together" scene in Julie Taymor's 2007 film based on the music of the Beatles