the issue > Press | Press Coverage > January 28, 2007

A Cut Above

Never mind that he detests fried food, favors the beach or mountains when not home in New York, and probably couldn’t name a single Cowboy, much less a Maverick. When it came time to open his first salon in Texas, celeb hairstylist Fre´de´ric Fekkai chose Dallas. “I’m very fond of Dallas,” says the darkly handsome 48-year-old, leaning over the Saarinen dining table turned desk in his corporate office in SoHo. “It’s the opposite of what was originally told to me. The women are so pretty and plugged into fashion, beauty and lifestyle. The city really resonates with my brand.” Fekkai’s love affair with Dallas took root nearly 10 years ago when Neiman Marcus began inviting him here to help educate shoppers about his namesake product line, launched in 1995. (The 60-plus piece hair-care collection, together with Fekkai salons, is expected to rake in $100 million this year.) And Dallas fell in love right back. Over the years, Fekkai’s devoted Texas fans have flown to LA, Palm Beach or New York (his 10,000-square-foot Fifth Avenue flagship sits on the fourth floor of Henri Bendel) for one of his cleaned-lined, sexy, wash-and-wear cuts. Last month, he made things considerably easier — opening a full-service salon in Highland Park Village, which he calls one of his favorite places in Dallas. “It has a great charm; it’s a little bit like a European village,” says Fekkai, who grew up in Aix-en-Provence and Paris before moving to New York to start his career in 1979. “And we’ll be in great company with Herme`s, Chanel, Tory Burch … down the street.” Just shy of 2,500 square feet, the second-story salon feels spacious and chic with dark wood floors, chocolate leather lounge chairs and walls painted Fekkai’s signature lavender-tinged blue and cream. Original crank-out windows offer leafy views of the center’s tiled Spanish rooftops. Brian Keller, fresh from Palm Beach, serves as creative director, heading a team of Fekkai vets and a few handpicked locals. Fekkai himself will make occasional visits, including one tentatively scheduled late this month. (Call the salon to confirm and be prepared to pay $750 for a Fekkai original. Cuts with other stylists start at $125.) It’s a gratifying time for Fekkai professionally. Clients such as Brooke Shields, Liv Tyler and Salma Hayek dot his appointment books, and his brand’s in expansion mode (next up: salons in Greenwich, Conn., and New York’s Mark Hotel). Personally, too. In May 2006, he married Shirin von Wufflen, a former PR director at Yves Saint Laurent who now holds that post at Tom Ford. The wedding at her family’s 17th-century manor in Germany was covered in Town & Country and Vogue. But ask Fekkai what inspires him most, and he’ll tell you, quite simply, bringing out a woman’s beauty. In the salon’s reception area is a huge Peter Lindbergh photograph printed with Fekkai’s words: “When I run my hands through a woman’s hair, I feel who she can be.”

written by Brittany Edwards