Few hair stylists in the world have become household names, but Frédéric Fekkai is one of them. And if you’ve been living under a style rock and yet to get familiar with the man, you officially have no excuse now that he’s a judge on Oxygen’s The Face. The Celebrity Stylist and Fekkai Brand Founder joins supermodel coaches Naomi Campbell, Anne V and Lydia Hearst, along with host Nigel Barker in search of the next supermodel. Not only will this lucky lady appear in the July issue of ELLE magazine (styled by Feakki, natch), but she’ll become the face of Fekkai’s new 2014 national ad campaign.
Searching for the next big thing is, of course, no easy task, and what one defines as “beautiful” is as subjective today as it has been throughout the beauty ages. But if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s this French phenom and his fashionable friends. I caught up with Fekkai to get the behind-the-scenes secrets of the show, find out if Naomi is really that stunning in real life (spoiler: she is) and why we can all refer to him as the Casanova of Hair from here on out.
Julie Bensman: What has been the best moment of filming The Face so far?
Frédéric Fekkai: The makeover episode.I loved being a part of the transformational process. Most of the girls aren’t extremely experienced models so it was exciting to watch their confidence grow with their new look.
JB: Any behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
FF: Of course! While filming one of the final challenges, I received what I think is the most unique compliment I’ve ever heard from one of the contestants: she called me the “Casanova of Hair.” We all had a good laugh…It’s definitely something I’ll remember.
JB: The show is about the search for “the face” of your next ad campaign. What main qualities were you looking for?
FF: I was looking for a carefree, confident woman to be the new face of the brand. She’s got to be someone with a chic, sophisticated and seductive style but without trying too hard — it should come totally natural to her. Of course, her hair was an important factor, too – I wanted a girl with touchable, irresistible hair that, similar to her aura, was effortless. We call it coiffe-decoiffe…done but undone, perfectly imperfect.
JB: The face of beauty has changed throughout the years. Which decade's beauty look will you always love?
FF: To me, the most beautiful women are those completely comfortable in their own skin. A quiet confidence is always timeless. I’m not a fan of trends because they can translate so differently depending on the client’s individual features. That being said, I’m still inspired by Vidal Sassoon’s pixie cut on Mia Farrow and the bouffant look that Kenneth Battelle created for Jacqueline Kennedy. They happened many years ago and still are two of my favorite beauty moments.
JB: In that vein, should we forgo 2014 beauty trends and return to the classics?
FF: My philosophy is to suit the style to the individual client — I feel like it gives her the best results. Still, I can’t ignore the fact that so many women have been going short! For a while, we were seeing a longer version of the classic bob but recently, I’ve seen many influential women, models and celebrities making a big chop and embracing their features. Women today are working with their natural texture more and these shorter styles reflect a spirit of carefree, relaxed elegance.
JB: Which beauty trend are you completely sick of?
FF: Two things: over-processed and over-styled hair. Hair should be soft, touchable and healthy. It’s much more seductive to have hair that someone wants to run their fingers through.
JB: How do you define classic beauty?
FF: Classic means standing the test of time. Whether it’s classic beauties such as Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot (whose beauty has remained the ideal for decades) or defining cultural aspects such as art and music, the one overlapping factor is timelessness. I think the best way to achieve this is by not overcomplicating your look. To me, women look the most beautiful when they are easygoing and confident. Healthy, glossy hair, a few accessories and natural makeup allow a woman’s inner beauty to shine.
JB: Which international city has the most stylish women?
FF: Paris and New York have some of the most stylish women in the world, but in different aspects. French women have an innate sense of easy sophistication while American women are more willing to take risks. Both aesthetics have influenced my work as a stylist. Parisian women taught me to appreciate simplicity while New Yorkers inspired me with their bold energy and ambition.
JB: Who is your favorite supermodel of all time?
FF: I have always respected Naomi Campbell as a standout model. After working with her on this season of The Face, I am all the more confident she will be an influential model for years to come. Her aura and beauty make everyone in the room take notice of her and that presence has given her career such longevity.
Don’t miss Oxygen’s The Face on Wednesdays at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST.
images courtesy of Oxygen