Ken Paves, hairstylist to the stars, is taking on another high-profile role, as the new U.S. ambassador and hair expert for House 99 by David Beckham, the hair-care and grooming range the football and style star unveiled earlier this year. At the Los Angeles launch event, held at Paves’ namesake salon, he talked about David and Victoria Beckham’s risk-taking style, how and why the men’s beauty space has grown, and what we’ll see on the Emmys red carpet.
WWD: When did you first meet the Beckhams?
Ken Paves: I met David in 2007 with some of my other clients — Alejandro Sanz, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez — when we were all in Barcelona. I met Victoria the next year when I was with Jennifer for Tom [Cruise] and Katie’s wedding, so I was in Rome. I hit it off with both of them instantly and I’ve always been inspired by their looks and hair and fashion, so when I got the opportunity to work with them it was just, like, yes.
WWD: What do you like best about them?
K.P.: They have an amazing perspective. Everything they do is really authentic to themselves and I think that’s why a range like this is so important, because David does try so many things and having the right tools is what you need to create that. They are both really adventurous, which is really cool for someone like me.
WWD: What do you think of the line?
K.P.: Luckily I got to use it at the inception. I worked with David for so long on all of the other commercial things he’s done, so I know his hair really well. Whenever we travel I mix up the products. In Singapore with the humidity I’m going to dial back a little bit on some of the moisture in the products. What I do is I hybridize them. The beard balm and the beard oil are like the secret weapons, because you can mix them to create something a little different. If you want something a little grungier, I use the balm and the oil and it gives me this texture. If I want to add a little of the oil to the clay I can do that as well and if I want to add a little of the gel to the pomade I can do that.
The reason I wanted to be a part of this is just seeing how I use it on David and then starting to use it on other clients, I realized that it really did cater to every hair texture and type. And for him, seeing how other people used it on him and how he uses it on himself was cool. It was a nice way to feel it all out.
WWD: It’s not just for hair, right?
K.P.: No, there’s skin care. All my guys that I work with at my salon love it. The beard mask you can actually use as a skin mask. Not only does it have great technology behind it but it’s a demonstrative product. Even though I am in the business, I like simplicity. This is exactly that brand. And I use it on my short-haired female client as well.
WWD: How have men’s attitudes toward beauty changed?
K.P.: I think that men, because of people like David who are great masculine style icons, have become far more open to experimenting and admitting that they want to try something different and they want to look great. I’ve worked with Benicio del Toro, Tom Brady, tons of guys, and it was never anything that was quite so open or spoken about, just because guys didn’t seem quite as interested to share or weren’t quite so curious about it. But guys really want to know and ask a lot of questions. I see it as a huge market I don’t see it going down any time soon. It’s great because we are now seeing sophisticated products for men whereas before men were getting gel in a tub and that was kind of it. It’s cool to hear guys talking about eye cream or how to wash your face or how to cut your beard.
WWD: How do they differ from women’s formulations?
K.P.: One thing that’s a little different is that there’s a different concentration when it comes to these products. When you are dealing with shorter hair it tends to be coarser because the ends aren’t quite as fine — it’s a blunt crisp cut — so you need a softening agent in a lot of these.
WWD: How have hair trends changed in Hollywood?
K.P.: There are more actresses with shorter hair as well as those working into their natural textures. The same goes for men with diversity of texture and celebrating their texture. You can get a similar style haircut to someone like David, but in your own texture it’s going to be something completely different. Then you use the products to style that look to keep it authentic to you. You can take cues from looks, you just need the right product to execute it.
WWD: What sort of trends are we going to see at the Emmys next month?
K.P.: There was a time when everyone’s hair was smoothed out and styled into these looks, but now we are creating glamorous looks for men and women with natural texture. We are going to see a little bit more lived-in glamour where things aren’t quite so controlled and contrived, but they are still super glamorous in execution. It’s kind of Victoria’s thing, this undone glamour that somehow becomes so glamorous but in a cool way. People are starting to realize the result is to not look like you spent so much time. You have an amazing dress, then it’s really cool to have hair that looks like you stepped into it.
WWD: What’s the inspiration for this?
K.P.: Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, all those women when they would get into their dresses they would have their hair up — often times they would take a bath before and have that texture, and then get into the gown. That’s what we’ve always tried to replicate. It looks so effortless but back in the time you would have a bath before you would go and it would change the texture of your hair.
WWD: Has product development played a part in this?
K.P.: I think that’s one of the things. We have easy fool-proof tools to achieve that look and not have to go against what you have. People are being way more experimental, especially guys, than they ever have been before. I gave two of my male clients who have never had long hair, long hair. They were both actors and one was for a role and another was for a project. Everyone is starting to shoot so it’s that time of the season when we set the looks, but guys are now more open to diving into a look to authenticate a character no matter what that is. I don’t think that would have been so much the case had this evolution not happened. I think it’s in part because of someone like David taking risks along the way.