Health & Beauty

Straight From the Source

June 12, 2019

Ahead of Father’s Day, we were fortunate to get an interview with Bastide‘s very own Frederic Fekkai. Find out what his beauty philosophy is, what ingredients are on the brand’s "blacklist" and what men’s self care means to him! —Noa Nichol


Hello Frederic! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I am the president of Blue Mistral, which is home to a stable of brands including Fekkai, The One by Fekkai and Bastide. I am a hair stylist by trade, and opened my first salon at Bergdorf Goodman in 1989. This was followed by the launch of the Fekkai brand in the 90’s, which was the first luxury hair care brand that sat next to brands like Chanel in department stores. In 2016, I co-founded Bastide with my wife Shirin, which is sold at Holt Renfrew. My background is in sculpting, but I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love developing different visions for my brands and working with the best in the industry to bring each one to life.

And a bit about Bastide, the brand?

Bastide is my youngest brand, and it’s inspired by the lifestyle of my hometown, Aix-en-Provence. My wife Shirin and I have been spending time there with our family for over 12 years, and we noticed when we’re there how healthy and happy we feel because we’re hiking with our kids, or sourcing our meats and vegetables from the garden. It’s a beautiful way to live—we call it la douceur de vivre—and we wanted to share that feeling with the world. We launched Bastide in 2016 with clean and natural products made by artisans in fragrance, bath and body, and home categories. Bastide is close to our hearts—we oversaw every detail of the from the product formulation, the packaging, the branding, to the website, to ensure it reflected the beauty and light of Provence.


What is the philosophy behind the beauty products you make?

We set out to make products that used the best natural ingredients, and were made with passion by people who are experts in their craft. Each product, from the formula to the packaging is thoughtfully created. Its not something we quickly churned out from a lab. I call our approach slow beauty—if we slow down, treat our bodies and our environment right, then our true beauty comes out. Wear your skin and be kind to your body, and it will return the favour.

Tell us about Bastide’s "blacklist".

When we started working on the product formulas, Shirin was pregnant with our daughter. Like all parents, we started paying a lot of attention to what was going into our bodies, from our food to our favorite products. We realized we wanted the line to feel safe for us to use on all our loved ones, so we built out a list of ingredients that we did not want to see in our products, including parabens, sulfates, phthalates and GMOs. We worked diligently on each product to ensure they were made of natural ingredients but were efficacious and high-performing as any other product in the market.

Tell us about the French artisans/"beautisans" that you work with, and how they’re involved with the brand.

Every product is made by one of our beautisans—our “beauty artisans” in Provence. They are category experts from the region who know how to take the rich natural elements and turn them into amazing formulas. We produce in small batches in eco-certified labs, and you can really feel the difference when using the product. Our soap maker only makes liquid soaps, she’s a master at making amazing natural liquid soaps, and that’s why our body wash is silky and gentle on skin without using any detergents or sulfates. We asked her to make solid soap, and she said no! That’s how dedicated each of our artisans are to their craft.


With Father’s Day coming up and men in mind, what does men’s "beauty" mean to you?

Men’s beauty is about looking healthy. For me, that’s having glowing skin, a great signature hairstyle or facial hair. Very often, men forget basic grooming like trimming their nose hairs—so make sure to do this! Men’s beauty is really about looking modern.

How does Bastide cater specifically to men?

All of our scents can be worn by men and women. I love to layer the different scents to get the right mix. But right now, I’m wearing our newest fragrance Verveine du Sud. It’s perfect for summer for both men and women. All men should incorporate a bit of self-care into their routine, and a lot of our products are multi-purpose which our male customers love. I’ll put a bar of Miel de Lavande bar soap in my luggage, and when I arrive all my clothes smell wonderful and I have my favorite soap to use while I’m away.

What can we expect from Bastide in the near future … and in the long term?

We’ve been working on a lot of new innovations with our artisans. We are currently building an atelier on our property in Provence so we can work even closer with our artisans to create products. You’ll be seeing Bastide in new categories and new formats in the future.


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