Frédéric Fekkai: “You have to keep yourself young”


Honestly, Frédéric Fekkai needs no introduction — at least, he doesn’t among the extremely well-coiffed (including his A-list clientele, which has included Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham). Thanks to his styling talent, posh salons, and upscale product line, the French hairstylist is one of the biggest names in hair.

Last night, he féted the second-season finale of The Face, in which he selected the new face of his brand. Before the show aired, we caught up to talk about television, finding inspiration, and sidestepping trends. For the record, he was bien charmant, just as one would hope.

So! Season two of The Face is wrapping up. Anything that you weren’t expecting?
I was very surprised by the choice of girls. Some of the girls who were eliminated caught me by surprise — I was not planning to see that selection at the end. Finally, I decided it was going to be Tiana [Zarlin], because at the press conference I saw she was the woman with the most presence. She carried herself very well, she talked intelligently, she was poised and confident. That was great for me — that’s the Fekkai woman. A woman with allure: she’s pretty because she’s confident.

Speaking of allure, when you walk around the street, which women stand out to you? Who is beautiful in your eyes?
You know, a beautiful woman is a woman who has an original style. In this day and age, it’s so easy to become a stereotype. I think a woman who has her own style, a woman who is a little more daring, a woman who has great confidence, a woman who can be versatile, is wonderful whether she’s casual, chic, or very dressed-up. I like a woman who doesn’t try to do too much, a woman with an effortless style.

A beautiful woman is a woman who has an original style.

When it comes to you and your own creativity, how do you stay fresh? How do you stay inspired after being in the industry for so long?
I mean, this is not even a job — it’s a passion. When it’s a passion, you realize that you always have to regenerate ideas, you have to be in it, you know? You have to be curious. I’m a curious kind of guy, so it’s online, magazines, the movies, theaters, the ballet, the street — everywhere! You notice things and you look at things differently. When you travel, you also see amazing different cultures. You see a different style that re-inspires you, so this is pretty much — being curious, looking, understanding people. For me, with style, I operate differently than many designers or stylists. I’m not looking at a trend for a trend’s sake, I’m looking at what it is that woman wants at this time and this location: What is it? How can I satisfy her need and create something very customized, yet easy for them to manage?

It’s funny that you mention that, because trends are always changing. But I think most women feel most beautiful when they find what suits them individually.
It’s true. If you were to ask me what’s the most satisfying moment in my job, it’s when I see a woman smile and laugh and really figure out that she is now in touch with her own identity. It’s almost like she’s revealed her own beauty. Not just her [external] beauty, but it’s her own inner beauty. That is amazing to me.

You have to keep yourself young.

I don’t mean to be forward, but how do you look so youthful?
It’s a very good question. I’m telling you, I’m one guy who loves to live well, to enjoy the outdoors and good food. But I do things in moderation. I love to sleep well, to drink water — I love, of course, to drink wine, also — but it’s all about having a great lifestyle. When I say lifestyle, I’m talking about doing the right thing for you, making sure you don’t get too tired or stressed. I also say, of course, use great beauty products! I also think it’s in your mind; you have to keep yourself young. The only time I know my age is when someone asks me my age, and I say it and I’m shocked. I’m 55, but every time I think that I’m 10 years younger.

You seem very happy and content and self-aware. I think that probably helps.
You know, I think it’s because of the place where I am in my life. I have a great family, great kids, a great business. I enjoy being with my colleagues and peers and working with them. I’m very blessed to be working with people who I love. For me, that’s what it’s about.

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  • Paulette Andria Hamilton

    ok is this campaign a new one and has he ever had a person of colour because lets be real us black girls hair is something different and only a black hair dresser knows our hair….

    • Annie

      Yep, it’s a new campaign, and the next face of the brand is a WOC. The winner of The Face, Tiana, is of Korean, Russian, and French descent. Another member of the final three, Afiya — who you’ll see right here pretty soon — is black. I am hoping that the brand continues to look for more diversity in its models.

      But, with all of that said, I hear you. I know that Frédéric has styled models like Tyra (and, I’m assuming, Naomi, since she was on the show) but the salons definitely do not specialize in black hair. If you’re looking for the high-class salon experience, Ted Gibson has tons of a-list clients; and for curly/kinky/natural hair, Anthony Dickey at Hair Rules KNOWS curls and texture.