When you're already an iconic hairstylist, media darling and owner of top-drawer salons in New York City, Beverly Hills and Palm Beach, what can you possibly do to take yourself and your business to the next level? If you're Frédéric Fekkai, you relocate your signature space in Manhattan to the newly renovated fourth floor of New York's most celebrated boutique, Henri Bendel—a name, much like yours, that's synonymous with beauty, fashion and luxury.
"I wanted this new space to make guests feel like they had entered an airy, modern loft apartment that oozes with a glamorous, sophisticated feel," says Fekkai, who did away with all of the Provençal touches that were the predominant theme in his old digs formerly housed in the Chanel building. "The new interior is spacious and, above all else, welcoming."
With its rows of white pedestal sinks and leather chairs, the shampoo area is urban and dramatic.
The sumptuous, residential-like setting boasts a soft, soothing color scheme, abundant natural lighting, thanks to historic Lalique windows, and a number of other opulent accoutrements, including inviting leather lounge seating, rosewood and mahogany cabinetry, polished nickel table lamps, dramatic walnut panels and long communal tables made from warm, natural oak.
Creature comforts also come in the form of a pedicure lounge that contains custom banquettes and freestanding white English butler sinks, as well as a manicure area where clients recline on lavish tufted sofas while undergoing luxe services at vintage-inspired walnut manicure tables replete with sparkling nickel jabots and dark tops. And let's not forget about Fekkai's favorite addition: L'Atelier de Frédéric, a new men's styling lounge where guys can get groomed and pampered in the privacy of their own secluded space. "We do a great men's business and this seemed like a natural progression for me," says the überstylist, who incorporated masculine elements like flat-screen TVs, as well as cracked subway tiles and stainless steel fixtures into the space.
Clockwise from left: The pedicure lounge consists of white English butler sinks; flatscreen TVs hang on old, cracked subway tiles; smooth lines and soft lighting create a warm, modern atmosphere.
Transforming his vision into reality has been a dream come true for Fekkai, but it didn't come without its fair share of challenges along the way. "Renovation and construction in Manhattan is never easy, especially when it's on this large of a scale," he says. "The salon encompasses the entire fourth floor of Henri Bendel, so it was an intense demolition and reconstruction project. The building's landmark status further added to the complexity." But beyond the physical refurbishment, Fekkai also had to deal with the difficulties of relocating a business that services more than 400 discerning clients a day. "We were determined to do this as seamlessly as possible for our clients, because at the end of the day, it's all about them. Managing the timelines for every detail was important to ensure the smooth transition that allowed us to close down operations in one location and open in another without missing a beat. We poured our heart and soul into creating a place that would be easy to navigate and provide a luxurious ambiance, and judging from the response so far, I think we've achieved it." —K.D.