with Frédéric Fekkai
Stylist who makes hairstyling and salons an art form
By Heather Bell, HairdressersUS.com
"When I run my hands through a woman's hair, I feel
who she can be."
"I always focus on the complete picture when I determine
the best look for a client, taking into account
individual personality, personal style and lifestyle,"
says Frédéric. "Each quality should be synergistic
to create a unique portrait of personal greatness.
That's total beauty."
With the unfailing eye of an artist and his inherent
sense of style, Frédéric Fekkai has become one of
the most celebrated names in beauty and hairstyling,
working with the world's most beautiful women and
Hollywood's brightest stars. Acclaimed for his individualistic,
common sense approach, Frédéric has built a luxury
brand synonymous with the best in hair care for
women and men. Along the way, he has left an indelible
mark on the beauty and fashion communities with
his innovative styling, exclusive salons and range
of extraordinary products.
Born in Aix-en-Provence, France, Frédéric once considered
becoming a sculptor. Instead, he turned his attention
and talent towards revolutionizing the cut and shaping
of hair. At age 21, he moved to Paris to work with
the Jacques Dessange Organization, and landed in
New York four years later, where he helped to launch
the Bruno Dessange Salon on Madison Avenue. He quickly
established a reputation for impeccable style and
taste with his clean, modern haircuts.
1989, Frédéric was approached by Bergdorf Goodman
to create a sophisticated salon to complement the
store's legendary fashion leadership. In 1996 he
opened his landmark Frédéric Fekkai Salon on New
York's prestigious 57th Street. In 2006, the salon
again relocated - this time to a luxurious 10,000
square foot loft at Henri Bendel in the heart of
New York's famed Fifth Avenue shopping district.
The salon, one of the largest in the world, offers
clients a total beauty regimen, including comprehensive
hair and skin care and makeup. Renowned for providing
the highest quality service in the most luxurious
manner, the New York salon served as a model for
three additional locations: a Beverly Hills atelier
to accommodate his West Coast clientele, a Palm
Beach pied-a-terre located in the world-class Brazilian
Court Hotel and a new Manhattan location in SoHo
with a downtown, intimate atmosphere.
Six working images
from a photo shoot for Coiff.
it is forecasting trends or launching a new product
line, Frédéric Fekkai continues to be an industry
pioneer. Today, he devotes his time to product development,
training his salon staff, speaking at industry forums,
making personal appearances, and lending his support
to a wide range of charitable initiatives including
efforts to support women, children, victims of domestic
violence, breast cancer research, and the arts.
He also continues to cut and style hair, principally
for celebrities, fashion models and members of the
The Frédéric Fekkai hair care collection - the ultimate
in luxury hair care - was originally introduced
in 1995 and launched in the UK in 2004. His products
have only been available in his native France since
2006. Frédéric developed his line to meet the particular
needs of every hair type, and infused each product
with nutrients essential for restoring and rejuvenating
the hair. Before his products are marketed to the
public, Frédéric and his staff personally test every
formula in his world-renowned Frédéric Fekkai Salon
to ensure the highest quality and performance.
Fekkai Salons are renowned for providing the highest
quality service in the most luxurious manner. At
each location, clients are treated to the ultimate
in pampering at these full-service beauty retreats
by the industry's most sought-after stylists and
beauty specialists. Each salon serves as the training
academy for the Fekkai staff, where every Tuesday
is "Class Night." This enables the staff to learn
and practice the latest techniques in cutting, coloring
and treatments, while simultaneously staying ahead
of the trends for their clients. Fekkai salons and
stylists have been featured in countless media outlets
including Allure, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, New
York Times, USA Today, Town & Country, Vanity Fair,
Vogue, W, Access Hollywood, NBC Today Show, Oprah
Winfrey Show and VH-1.
Frédéric at work
"A YEAR OF STYLE"
2000, Frédéric created a unique day-by-day style guide
entitled "A Year of Style" (Clarkson Potter). The
book allows Frédéric to fully communicate his distinctive
style philosophy, and is loaded with sidebars featuring
advice on diverse topics such as choosing the perfect
pair of sunglasses and trimming bangs between salons
He has also been featured in leading magazines and
television shows around the world, and made cameo
appearances in feature films such as Legally Blonde
the years his clients have included Ex-President Clinton
(for the cover of "Vanity Fair") and his wife Hillary
Clinton, John F. Kennedy Jr., Emma Thompson, Jessica
Lange, Sharon Stone, Heidi Klum and many others.
Emma Thompson & Sharon Stone
world's largest wholesale merchandise resource the
'Dallas Market Center', awarded a Personal Style
Award to Frédéric Fekkai, in 2003. The Award is
designated for individuals whose personal style
and professional life have advanced the fashion
"Frédéric Fekkai's personal imprint on the look
of women and men has become greater than any beauty
expert in recent memory," said Bill Winsor, president
and CEO of Dallas Market Center. "His unmatched
artist's eye and his reputation for consummate professionalism
and taste make him an important asset to the beauty
business. We are proud to present him with this
very special recognition," said Winsor.
"I am deeply honored to be recognized with the Personal
Style Award," said Frédéric Fekkai. "Dallas is a
city well-known for its own personal style and for
its keen emphasis on looking one's best."
WITH FRÉDÉRIC FEKKAI
is pleased to be able to include an interview with
the man himself - he kindly found the time to answer
our questions and give us a great insight into his
life and passion for his profession. Our grateful
thanks also for the many working photos he has provided
from various photo shoots.
"It's interesting that many famous hairstylists
started their careers with thoughts of becoming
painters, you also considered becoming a sculptor
which is another form of creative expression. What
made you change direction and become involved in
cutting and shaping hair?"
spent my childhood in Aix-en-Provence, a city in
the South of France. I attended law school for 2
years by default because my father did not allow
me to go to L'Académie des Beaux-Arts, the famous
art school, because I did want to become a sculptor.
During that time, I was fortunate enough to meet
an amazing artist from the Jacques Dessange group
who introduced me to the best hair stylists in the
industry. I had a strong passion for hairstyling
immediately and this led me to become an Artistic
Director. In 1982, I helped launch the Bruno Dessange
Salon on Madison Avenue in NYC. I opened my first
salon, Frédéric Fekkai Salon & Spa, New York City
in 1989 in the exclusive Bergdorf Goodman department
Q. "Your celebrity client list reads like the credits
from all our favourite movies. Can you tell us about
some of the styles you've created for the stars?"
I styled Sharon Stone for the AMFAR event in Cannes.
Sharon has a timeless elegance coupled with modern
beauty that really sets her apart. Her short hair
really suits her style yet is stilll sexy and glamorous.
Heidi Klum is a regular client of mine. She really
plays with her color a lot and is open to ideas
and has fun with her hair. Sometimes she wants to
go a little darker blonde, and sometimes very bright.
There are always nice subtle contrasts in her shades
that really enhance her eyes, and add depth or texture
to her style.
Q. "What is the strangest request you have ever received
from a celebrity having a bad hair day?"
with celebrities is always exciting and interesting.
I tell all of my clients this: the simplest and the
most natural styles are the most beautiful. I believe
that if you know how to be simple - with your hair,
your makeup, your clothes and your lifestyle - you
can do anything you want, and never have a bad hair
"In the film "Legally Blonde 2" you appeared in
a cameo role, as yourself! Where you involved in
the hair styling for the film as many reports suggest?
How did you enjoy being in front of the cameras
with Reese Witherspoon?"
for Legally Blonde 2, I was not responsible for
the hair styling during the filming of the movie.
Being in the film was fun, it was a great project
and Reese was wonderful to work with.
Q. "Does your wife like you to look after her
hair? Do you think your son will follow in your
I frequently style Shirin's hair for many of the
events we attend together. My son has a lot of interests
right now, because he is so young. Regardless of
which career path he chooses, I will support his
"Is it true that when you are styling a client's
hair, you ask them to stand for a portion of the
haircut to ensure it is proportionate to the individual's
overall appearance? Do your staff, follow the same
are no rules when it comes to the perfect cut or
style. The right hairstyle is not a matter of simple
geometry. Bone structure in the face, eye color
and skin tone are all big determinants when deciding
on a hair cut and style. I ask my clients to stand
in order to see how the hair falls and what best
flatters their features. My staff is also trained
to consider the above elements when working on a
client as this ensures the best results.
"What is your favourite haircut of all time?"
Fonda & Raquel Welch
I've always loved big, beautiful hair on a woman.
It's a throw-back to the sexy screen goddess styles
of Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, and Jane Fonda
in Barbarella - but updated for a more modern approach.
When done right, it's sexy, timeless and done-but-undone.
It's playful and seductive - the essence of woman.
"There have been many changes in hairdressing over
the years. What in your opinion were the best innovation
and the worst?"
most important breakthrough from my perspective
is that finally we are starting to think about hair
care the way we think about skin care, and we are
seeing cross-over of the latest skin care technologies
and ingredients to the hair care arena. I have been
a proponent of this thinking from the start of my
hair care line.
"What scissors do you use to cut and create your
can't live without my Joewell cobalt treated 6 inch
cutting shears. These scissors have traveled the
world with me. The balance and the blade on these
shears allow me to do anything from the most detailed
precision cuts to more free-form styles. They are
like an extension of my own hand.
"For our many web visitors who want to become hairdressers,
could you give them a couple of special tips to
help them on the road to success?"
risks and challenges and think outside the box.
Learn from other businesses and focus on how to
build a culture. It is always important to show
customers and co-workers that you care about their
happiness and success. This not only helps to guide
others but contributes to building a great energy
and a happy salon environment.
Models: Izabel & Alessandra with Frédéric.
"Your company is going from strength to strength
and has had an injection of capital from a private
equity firm "Catterton Partners". Is it true you
want to double your salons to 20 over the next 2
with Catterton has allowed us to really grow the
Fekkai brand. We are opening a Melrose Place salon
next which furthers our vision to expand the brand
within the California market. In addition to Melrose
Place this year we will open salons in Greenwich
and Dallas. The ultimate goal is to be in all of
the markets where our clients reside.
"You've been quoted as saying that your work entails
travelling for 120+ days per year and you visit
your salons twice a month. Is it still possible
for a new client to have her hair styled by you?"
I try to get to all of my salons every six weeks.
It is important for my clients and for my staff.
"They say you can take the man out of France, but
you can't take France out of the man. You still
have an unmistakeable delicious French accent…after
building your American Empire…do you ever get homesick?"
usually spend a portion of my vacation somewhere
near Aix-en-Provence, my hometown. It is always
relaxing to be in place you know well and love.
I can visit my family and enjoy the time with my
wife and son.
"You have said you would like to see President of
France - Nicolas Sarkozy in your salon. Who else
would you like to style for?"
think almost all celebrities work with talented
stylists who they like; however I would not mind
trying a new style on singer Gwen Stefani. She is
stunning, has an unbelievable sense of style and
I think she would be playful and open to a new hair
style (especially since she changes her look so
"And finally, which of your achievements over the
years has given you the most satisfaction?"
biggest achievement has been that I have been able
to realize my dream of opening my own Frederic Fekkai
Salon - and bringing my vision of total luxury lifestyle
to my clientele. It certainly was a turning point
in my career. I can't believe that I now have several
salons in America and additional salons set to open
on the horizon.
A LOOK AT THOSE FABULOUS FREDERIC FEKKAI SALONS:
Fekkai, Fifth Avenue first opened its doors in
1989 in the exclusive Bergdorf Goodman department
store in New York City.
the clientele grew, so did the need for greater
space and staff. In August 1996, the salon relocated
to the prestigious East 57th Street. Servicing 400
clients per day, the salon grew to become the largest
salon in the world. In April 2006, the flagship
Frédéric Fekkai Salon moved once again into a beautiful
10,000 sq. ft. loft in the heart of the fabulous
Fifth Avenue shopping district - just steps away
from Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral
and Central Park. The salon spans the entire 4th
floor of Henri Bendel a beautiful landmark building.
Fekkai, Beverly Hills opened in November 1997.
The 5,000-square foot atelier, which has become
a beauty destination for Hollywood A-listers and
power players, spans the penthouse of one of Rodeo
Drive's most elegant three-story structures. Whether
it's relaxing on the cypress tree and bougainvillea-lined
patio or the charming veranda overlooking Rodeo
Drive, this salon is the perfect escape. In addition
to a complete menu of salon services, prominent
Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. David Sayah offers
clients outpatient services such as laser facials
and hair removal.
Frédéric Fekkai, Palm Beach opened in May 2004.
This 1,600 square foot Pied-ŕ-terre is located in
the Brazilian Court, a world-class condominium hotel
renowned for luxury and personal service. The Zen-like
décor and intimate setting provide a tranquil escape
unlike any other in Palm Beach.
Fekkai, SoHo opened in January 2007. This highly
anticipated second New York outpost offers the luxury
and expertise of signature Fekkai services, with
a chic, relaxing, downtown vibe. Enhancements include
extended hours for late-night party prep, and delicious
café menu from the legendary Barolo Restaurant,
Fekkai, Melrose Place - Opening September 5,
8457 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Chic, intimate, the newest of his West Coast salons
will provide the complete Fekkai experience in elegance
Frédéric Fekkai, Dallas - Opening December
47 Highland Park Village, Suite 207, Dallas, TX
Frédéric Fekkai, Greenwich - Opening December
2 Lewis Court, Greenwich, CT 06830
addition to providing exceptional professional results,
Fekkai products feature luxurious textures and refreshing,
invigorating scents. The hair care line is divided
into regimen "families" to suit individual hair
care needs, including: Advanced Care, Color Care,
Ultra Moisture, Gloss, Repair, Color Enhance, Style,
Men's Grooming (launched in 2002), and Styling Tools.
Fekkai body care products provide intense, lasting
hydration, leaving the skin conditioned, rejuvenated,
soft and supple.
Frédéric Fekkai products are available in the finest
retailers around the world, including Neiman Marcus,
Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Fred Segal, Holt Renfrew,
Douglas Parfumerie, Mecca Cosmetica, Space.NK, Nordstrom,
Bloomingdales, select Victoria's Secret and Bath
& Body Works stores, and, of course in the world
famous Frédéric Fekkai Salons in New York, Palm
Beach and Beverly Hills. Frédéric has also created
a line of fine jewelry: Frédéric Fekkai by H. Stern.