“Icons are to me the people doing things beyond themselves. Today’s icons are people using their talents, skills, social status and wealth to do things better for the world and humanity.”
As far as iconic careers are concerned, there are few that shine quite so bright as hairdressing wunderkind, James Pecis.
Having collaborated with the world’s leaders in fashion, photography, celebrity and design, we challenge you to find a glossy publication or renowned runway that hasn’t been blessed with the Pecis touch. From his own, personal icons to career highlights and advice to upcoming artists, here we honour a truly incredible creative within hairdressing today.
TJ: What inspired you to begin your career in the industry?
JP: I always wanted to be creative and work with my hands. I loved photography, art, and engaging with people. I grew up always changing my hair for punk bands that I was playing in. When I learned about being a hairdresser, I knew it was the perfect job for me.
TJ: Are there any key moments that you believe contributed to where you are now?
JP: It’s hard to say if there was any one, particular moment. I remember deciding against finishing college and pursuing hairdressing instead, and the negative response I received. I remember finishing my years of assisting and moving to London to grow and develop my own style. I remember Emmanuelle Alt taking a chance on me for a French Vogue cover with Inez and Vinoodh. These are a few of my favourite memories, and some of the big moments that shaped where I am now.
TJ: You are an icon to many. Who is your icon, and why?
JP: Sylvia Earl is a big icon to me. She has been passionate her whole life about the ocean and deep-water exploration. Her passion is infectious when she talks, and she radiates positivity, always with the biggest smile on her face.
TJ: What is your personal career highlight to date?
JP: It is hard to pick a favourite highlight. I have been very fortunate to travel the world and experience some incredible people and places. I never thought I would be able to do any of this. I try to appreciate each job as something special on its own and not take any of it for granted.
TJ: If you could style any person’s hair, living or dead, who would it be and why?
JP: Michelle Obama. I have worked with many celebrities over the years, and I don’t get starstruck, but I have never done Mrs. Obama’s hair. It would be incredible to listen to her and meet a true icon.
“It’s hard to create any images today that are lasting and iconic. We flip through thousands of images a day on our phones and to create something that is lasting, like a Helmut Newton or Avedon image, seems like an impossible task.”
TJ: What is the most iconic look you have created to date?
JP: I don’t know, the word ‘iconic’ scares me. It’s hard to create any images today that are lasting and iconic. We flip through thousands of images a day on our phones and to create something that is lasting, like a Helmut Newton or Avedon image, seems like an impossible task.
TJ: In your opinion, what is the most iconic or inspirational hair look of all time?
JP: There are too many to choose from. When I do research, I always find something new that blows my mind. The internet is an incredible place for image research, but there is so much to be found in books (that hasn’t been uploaded yet). Books are where I find the most iconic moments.
TJ: How about the most iconic product or hair tool ever created?
JP: One of the most iconic modern hair products ever created is Jam. I tried to find out when it was invented but no luck. It is a staple in my kit, and I use it for many different things … Those who know, know!
TJ: If you could give any piece of advice to young hairstylists that look up to you, what would it be?
JP: Never stop learning and being curious. Hairdressing is an incredible job with many different career paths. Practice, take classes, research, get excited! If you want to pursue anything, engulf yourself in it and be obsessed.
Step backstage at Thom Browne, where the legendary James Pecis served as Key Hair Stylist for Oribe. Images provided by Rogue Beauty.