Frederic Fekkai On His French Lifestyle Beauty Brand Bastide And Favorite Wellness Spots In Provence

Frederic Fekkai 2Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bastide

Frederic Fekkai is a legend when it comes to the hair industry but now he’s made the leap into skincare with his French lifestyle and beauty brand Bastide based in his hometown of Aix-en-Provence, France. Here, Fekkai tells us all about Bastide, what he loves about the Provence lifestyle, and his favorite wellness spots in Provence.

Tell us about Bastide. What makes it special?

About ten years ago, my wife Shirin von Wulffen and I returned to my hometown of Aix-en-Provence, France, and began renovating a bastide, which means a country manor house in French. We spent a lot of time in Aix and realized the way of life there is simple yet sweet. We ate, worked, and lived differently, and we realized, alongside friends who came to visit, that we were happier, healthier, and we even looked better when life was on Provence time! When we finished our renovations of our bastide, a friend of mine, who was the original founder of the brand Bastide, decided to retire, and we took the chance to take over this brand from her.  We knew this was our chance to capture all that we have loved of Aix and to put it into products to share with our friends around the world. We found the best of the best in Aix and near Aix. The best soap maker, the best candlemaker, the family that has made creams and lotions for generations, so on and so forth— just like you would shop at a French market. These are the beautisans (beauty artisans) that we collaborate with to make Bastide, and we hope it embodies the philosophy of the simple yet beautiful way of life here in Aix.

Bastide 4Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bastide

What prompted you to take the leap from hair to skincare?

It was a very organic, very personal move. For me, Bastide feels like a homecoming because Aix-en-Provence is my hometown. We even opened our flagship boutique in Aix on Rue Espariat right down the street from Place d’Albertas, the square where I lived growing up. Shirin and I frequently talk about how to live differently from the hustle of New York, how to be more present, and to find pleasure in simple moments. For us, Bastide is this opportunity to be closer to nature and to bring our philosophy for living into our work.

BASTIDE new FlagshipPhoto Credit: Courtesy of Bastide

What do you love most about the Provence lifestyle and how does it inspire you now that you’re leading this company?

When I was working on Fekkai in New York City, it was non-stop. I was always moving and rushing. The people in Aix have this effortless beauty that comes from the way of life. Eating and drinking locally-grown fruits and vegetables and taking time to do simple things and to really enjoy life. Spending time in Aix allows me to slow down and enjoy what the area has to offer. It’s a bonus that I can bottle that feeling for others with Bastide products.

BASTIDE new FlagshipPhoto Credit: Courtesy of Bastide

What are some of your favorite Bastide products and why?

Creme Intense Deep Repair Hand Cream is inspired by the strong mistral wind of Provence. This intense hand cream withstands any type of weather and is great to use when traveling. Ambre Maquis Eau de Toilette is my favorite scent in the winter. It is very signature and timeless. Miel de Lavande Soap is always by the sink in our home. Our kids love to use it to lather up, and we know it’s gentle on their skin so we always let them overindulge.

BASTIDE new FlagshipPhoto Credit: Courtesy of Bastide

What are some of your favorite beauty and wellness spots in Provence?

Valerie Holozet for essential oil treatments and facials. A morning hike up Mont Saint Victoire and of course our Bastide flagship located at 14 Rue Espariat. We offer hand massages, seasonal tisanes (herbal teas), and we love to host artistic workshops that invite you to slow down like painting or flower arranging.