It’s one of the world’s leading luxury salon brands, and this month Frank Provost celebrates 10 years of Parisian sophistication in Australia.
Encompassing close to 700 salons across 30 countries, the salon super brand – renowned for making French luxury accessible – first launched to Australia in 2008. A decade on, Sydney now boasts the largest concentration of Franck Provost salons outside of the flagship city, Paris.
Established in 1975, hair artisan and founder Franck Provost opened his first namesake salon in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, before nurturing it’s widespread growth across the region… and the world thereafter.
To celebrate a decade of Franck Provost in Australia, we caught up with Global Artistic Director Fabien Provost, Global Communications Director for the Provalliance Group Olivia Provost and Australian Franchiser Jean-François Carré.
TJ: What brought you to Australia this year?
Fabien: This year, Jean-François invited us to Sydney to celebrate 10 years of Franck Provost in Australia. We felt this was a good opportunity to visit Australia; it has a great scene and the people are very close.
Olivia: When we first met Jean-François, it felt like we were meeting family. Even if he were not involved in hair, I think we would still feel the same way! Franck knew that his name would be well represented with Jean-François in Australia; a country so far from France. Their first meeting was pure providence.
TJ: Jean-François; what inspired you to connect with the Franck Provost brand?
Jean-François: My partner and I first approached Franck Provost as we knew they were leaders in the salon business. We loved the Sydney lifestyle and atmosphere and wanted to launch our own project here; to develop something beautiful in Australia. My partner’s sister suggested we open a Franck Provost salon as there were no other French salon brands on the Australian market.
In France, everyone knows the Franck Provost name; you will not meet a French person who does not know Franck Provost! Franck is an authentic person and I think a big part of his success comes from the fact that he surrounds himself with the right people. Franck is very good at judging a person’s personality and feeling; a first impression is very important.
Our thoughts were that if it’s been liked by millions of people in other western countries, chances are it’s going to be popular in Australia as well. So I guess it was less challenging and risky than launching your own business from scratch, but we still had to build the brand awareness from almost nothing.
TJ: In your opinion, what differentiates the brand from its competitors?
Jean-François: We have a unique selling point for our brand in Australia – we sell the style and savoir-faire of Paris and make it accessible for all women. We like to call it ‘Luxe-cessible’. What Franck Provost delivers is ready to wear hair with a haute couture flavour. The models we use in our campaigns have the type of hair that women want.
It looks healthy, sexy, not overly complicated or very trend driven. They are beautiful and confident, but relatable and not out of reach. I think women can see themselves in those images and imagine wearing that kind of hair. And that resonates with women all around the world, regardless of where they come from.
TJ: Fabien and Olivia, when did you decide to join the family business?
Fabien: Olivia started in the business before I did. I told my father I would try hairdressing and if I liked it, I would continue. So, I tried… and I continued! I started hairdressing at 18 years old. At the time, we were a small family group of about 10-20 Franck Provost salons… now there’s close to 700 salons worldwide.
Olivia: I was studying Communications in New York and Fabien met me there to continue his hairdressing studies. I chose to move to the US so that I could learn and practice English. You can not success in business if you do not speak English! I originally planned to stay there for 6 months, but I ended up staying for three years!
TJ: Talk us through the Franck Provost way of styling and colouring hair.
Fabien: When I am in the salon, I always speak with my clients and try to get a feel for what they want. The Franck Provost way is to create hair that you can wear. Sometimes it can be complicated for clients to know what they want as there are so many avant-garde.
We like to create hair that is wearable, easy to maintain, effortless, and accessible. We take what they already have and enhance it. Just like French fashion, it needs to look natural, but also customised to fit your character. Effortless chic.
Olivia: We call it ‘ready to wear hair’. When we create campaign imagery, we like to create looks so that clients can identify with them. It is relatable; hair that clients can have themselves. This is one of our biggest successes as a brand; they are looks that can translate across any woman in any country. It is accessible but always very chic.
Jean-François: The looks we create are wearable, easy to maintain and versatile. Women have different hair lengths and lifestyle demands and the style we create for them needs to fit these. Franck Provost uses a ‘1 cut 3 styles’ concept; you can style your hair in a day version, a night version and a weekend version. The hair should be effortless, and enhance your natural features.
TJ: Who is the quintessential brand muse?
Fabien: I don’t think I have one particular muse. I take inspiration from women in general. The most important thing you notice when you see a woman is what she radiates; her spirit. This is what inspires me; a woman’s personality, character and energy. Hair should always reflect this. If you were to have one inspiration, you would reproduce it on everyone. Hair should be personalised to the individual.
TJ: How do you curate red carpet and/or event hair looks for celebrity clients?
Fabien: Most celebrities know their own hair and style very well. We look at what she will be wearing, what she likes and what she wants for the event. Some can be very precise with their requests whereas others are happy to let you style in the way you would like.
We have been styling the hair for Cannes Film Festival for many years and it’s always a good experience. It can also be very intense as you do not always have a lot of time for hair. Sometimes you could have one hour, other times only ten minutes!
TJ: How big are the hair/makeup teams?
Olivia: It’s always the same, 15 people including hair and make up. All celebrities are styled at the same time. There are so many events during their time at Cannes; the red carpet, the press events, the presentation and movie premiers.
Fabien: It’s an intimate experience. Hair is one of the main beauty assets so our job is very important. There is a lot of pressure to get everything right. After each woman has been looked after, I am always the last one to her before she goes out to the show or red carpet.
TJ: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give someone looking to style hair for celebrity clients?
Fabien: You must always listen carefully to what a woman wants, because at the end of the day she knows what is best for her.