Hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai helped to create the luxury hair-care category. Now, he unapologetically aims to bring it to the mass market.
Early next year, the Procter & Gamble Co.-owned brand plans to relaunch a revamped and edited collection to both mass and prestige retailers. The launch marks a change in strategy for the brand, which nearly four years ago opted to distribute two different lines, namely “classic” to the mass market and “advanced” to the luxury tier.
The two lines created confusion for customers, and logistical problems for the company, acknowledged JP Kuehlwein, executive vice president of Fekkai.
One universal collection will eradicate those issues, and put Fekkai in front of a wider audience, he added.
“This has been the subject of great debate,” said Fekkai, referring the most suitable distribution strategy for a prestige brand. “The truth of the matter is that Fekkai is a luxury brand because of what we project. You’ll see it in our salon, where we have a sophisticated client. The luxury experience of the salon is carried into the products,” he added. “We’ve been too selective for too long. Just because it’s in mass it doesn’t have to be a different formula, package or experience. We know this customer is eager to have the Fekkai experience.”
The collection will include Brilliant Glossing, Technician Color Care, Full Blown Volume, Essential Shea, PrX Reparatives, Fekkai Styling and the return of Apple Cider Shampoo, which had been discontinued in 2012. It also will introduce several items, such as PrX Reparatives Mending Elixir with argan extract and Full Blown Volume Lightweight Foam Conditioner, a silicon-free formula for fine hair. Gone from the lineup are Perfectly Luscious Curls, Ageless and Silky Straight Ironless.
As for what type of retail outpost the line will target, Kuehlwein said, “We are going wherever the customer is pulling us.” He acknowledged that the distribution strategy may be uncomfortable for some of the brand’s luxury retail partners. The brand has dealt with fallout before. In 2010, Fekkai was immediately dropped from Sephora when it began entering drugstores with its “classics” range.
This time around, the brand plans to maintain distribution with its prestige partners, including Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Ulta. It will remain in 1,800 Target stores, but expand its product assortment in those doors. It also is sold in certain drugstores, such as Duane Reade.
Fekkai has lowered its pricing, too. For instance, base products will carry a suggested retail price of $19.99, compared with its current one of $22.
It will support the launch with print ads and a digital and social media campaign designed to play off the effortless allure of French chic, or “je ne sais coiffe” as Fekkai calls it. The tag line “Let Luxury Go to Your Head” will be visible across all digital platforms. A redesigned fekkai.com will launch on Dec. 16, with the relaunch of the collection. The products will then roll out more broadly in January to retailers in the U.S. and Canada. The brand is also keeping one eye trained abroad, where it shuttered much of its distribution nearly one year ago, and hopes to regain ground there down the line.
Print ads will feature models Gabby Dover and Paulina Heiler, with hairstyles showcasing the hairstylist’s signature aesthetic. Speaking about his approach to hair, Fekkai said, “I want to make sure it’s alive. It’s about hair that is done but undone.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast