An Interview with Celebrity Hair Stylist Frankie Foye by Gail O’Neill
If you have ever had Mother Nature wreak havoc on your salon-perfect hairstyle, then I do not need to go into the particulars on why brides dread weather forecasts like rain, high winds and (especially) humidity on their wedding days. But with destination weddings and outdoor ceremonies gaining in popularity, celebrity hair stylist Frankie Foye of New York’s Photo Op Management always prepares her brides to “work with, not against the elements.”
The go-to girl for clients like Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and InStyle magazines, Foye has been tending to the tresses of top models and actresses for over 25 years. So it came as no surprise when Sports Illustrated cover girl Veronika Vařeková got married in Prague and made Foye her #1 draft pick, because both women know a thing or two about how things rarely go as planned– whether working in a studio, on location or striking a pose on the red carpet.
And the same rules apply when walking down the aisle.
As on any photo shoot, the best way to avoid any unwanted surprises is to plan ahead. As a start, Foye recommends scheduling a dress rehearsal with your hairstylist at least one week before the ceremony. Plan to have your hair cut and colored (as needed) during the dry run, and if you intend to incorporate extensions or hair pieces on your wedding day, have your stylist match the colors to ensure a flawless finish. Ditto if you intend to wear a veil, fascinator or any kind of head covering. It is also important, says Foye, to bring along tear sheets of hairstyles you love and hate to save time and help your stylist visualize exactly how you want to look on your wedding day.
Getting married in the tropics? If you want your hair to be as pretty as the setting, just remember Foye’s Philosophy: “Fake It Out!”
“Hairpieces can save the day in a humid climate,” she says. In addition to enhancing the color and length, extensions are a great way to maintain the weight and texture of your hair when there’s too much moisture in the air. Just wear your hair half-up/half down with a hairpiece anchoring the lower half. And whatever you do, don’t take a good thing too far. Or, as Foye puts it, “Avoid the mermaid look! No one’s hair is down to their waist unless they’re a mermaid.”
On the job training has also taught Foye that “things fall apart.” But she says that when you build that knowledge into your concept at the outset, “things can fall apart beautifully as the day progresses.” The suggestion of movement is far more appealing than a tight curl– so think texture as opposed to tendrils. If pieces fall, tuck them behind your ear. And try not to be self-conscious about wisps and fly-aways, because it’s nuances like these that keep bridal hair from looking too structured and literal, and will endear you to friends and family.
Foye prefers hair back– as opposed to up– because she thinks it looks younger, more chic, modern and flatters everyone. But whatever your final decision, Foye insists that simplicity should be your guide because “the stars of the day will be your face, your dress and your hair: in that order.”
In Foye’s experience, wedding days can bring out the best and the worst in everyone. Emotions tend to run high not only for the bride, but for the women who love her best, which is why Foye usually insists on limited access to the bride and a closed set– just as she would on a film shoot. “I find separate zones for the bride and her wedding party are the best way to maximize serenity and minimize potential conflicts,” says Foye. “It’s my job to discipline my crew (of hair and make-up artists), establish expectations at the outset and gently escort anyone out of the bride’s personal space when she needs breathing room. Otherwise things can get out of control pretty quickly.”
If you plan to hire a beauty team for your bridesmaids, fantastic! Just advise them to arrive early to leave room for the inevitable last-minute changes, touch-ups and tweaks. Even with the best laid plans, tensions will rise the closer things get to the appointed hour, but your bridal party can help keep things on schedule by arriving on time with clean, dry hair.
Finally, make sure your groom feels as polished as you do when he takes his place at the alter or under the Chuppah. Hire a groomer to trim neck hairs, and work some product into your dearly beloved’s hair to break down spikes. (A sure-fire way to date your wedding portraits!) “A little attention goes a long way with guys,” advises Foye, “and gives the entire wedding a more finished look.”
Leaving you both free to enjoy the day– no matter what Mother Nature has in store!