Now one half of the dynamic duo behind this luxe French lifestyle brand, it was not so long ago that Fekkai tended to the hair of celebrities and New York's well-heeled. His salons were the places to see and be seen. When he wasn't gracing the red carpet at the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, rubbing shoulders with his A-list clientele (name-check: Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and more), he was running -and working - with the fashion crowd. Fekkai launched a successful haircare (and accessories) line and even had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in Zoolander (as Derek's hairdresser at the Derelicte show). What Vidal Sassoon was to the swinging '60s, Fekkai was to the supermodel era of the '90s.
After selling his namesake brand, the celebrity coiffeur recalibrated and decided to get back to his roots - his Provençal roots, that is. Alongside wife Shirin von Wulffen (formerly in public relations for YSL and Tom Ford), Fekkai acquired Côté Bastide in 2015, a sleepy home-and-body brand from his native Aix-en-Provence. Inspired by the artisans and small enterprises of the local region in France and focused on creating “a collection of products that help support a healthy home" the couple relaunched the brand as Bastide in 2017.
On a recent trip to Australia, we caught up with Fekkai to talk about careers, clean beauty - and ratatouille!
Before Bastide, you had a very successful career in hair. How did you get your start?
After Paris, you moved to New York when you were 21 – tell us about that time.
You had this renowned career in hair – how did that experience lead to launching Bastide?
You’re from Provence originally. Why is that region so special to you?
FF: "Sometimes we get lucky in life. Like the fact that I was born in Provence, which is a truly magnificent region. It's given us amazing inspiration about quality of life: the importance of taking time for yourself, to walk, to breathe, to bike, to go to the market.
"When you go to Provence, you go to the best butcher, the best baker, the best grocer; you pick them, as opposed to a one-stop shop. So we did the same with Bastide. We wanted to make sure it's from the best person for the liquid soap, the best person for the oil, for the creams... All are different individuals that are creating special, unique products for us.
"Above all, there's our first and only boutique, the Bastide flagship, on Rue d'Espariat in Aix. Bastide captures the art of living and the beauty of Provence in a bottle. The products are made by local artisans using traditional recipes and natural ingredients from the Provence terroir, and the scents will keep your Provence dreams vivid as you travel home."
What does your life look like there when you are with your family and in holiday mode?
FF: "We love to take the kids into town. It's a pedestrian town; there are no cars, so you can let the kids run around the streets and go to the markets. In my opinion, they're the most beautiful markets in the world, with all this amazing food, vegetables and flowers. The produce - olives, terrines, everything - are all handmade.
"We do a lot of cooking. I love cooking! Even the kids come and join us in the kitchen now, it's fun. A beautiful part of cooking is to go to our potager [French kitchen garden]. We have a fantastic vegetable garden, so we go and even the kids pick up the tomatoes and eggplants - it's great."