Santa Barbara Magazine
SB People Kevin Charles, He's a Cut Above.
By Jenny Murray, Associate Editor of Santa Barbara Magazine
His phone rings. It's one of his children. They talk about dinner plans and he coos salutations in his impeccable English accent. Phone rings again, Jafra Cosmetics International is on the line, they discuss his next social obligation: three months of global appearances as the face of their new hair care line. Turning his phone off, he apologizes, “I tell my team that when someone walks across the threshold to remember that it's our pleasure to be serving them, I really try not to take calls.” No explanation needed. Unlike other celebrity hairdressers who charge hundreds of dollars for a cut and don't stick around for the blow-dry, Kevin Charles is pure class. The talented entrepreneur is a committed multi-tasker. His Kinvara lines (named after his mother's castle in the south of Ireland), Kinvara spa and cosmetics Award Collection (available at his salon, Chadwicks and on QVC), are in full bloom. He'll be handling beauty products for the five star Four Seasons Biltmore's Resort's new spa when it opens next year. And Charles is now in the midst of launching Jafra's first hair care line.
With Charles at the helm, Jafra is enjoying a new sense of recognition. The success of the Kevin Charles Salon, tucked behind the historic Biltmore's lobby is penned in his brimming appointment book. He's Santa Barbara Magazine's “go-to” guy, while also styling models and personalities for In-Style, Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Vanity fair, Self, and on screen at the MTV Awards, Emmys and Oscars™.
Decended from English and Irish aristocracy, Charles treats every client as if they were members of the court. With his old-fashioned view of service and cutting edge styling talent, he's attracted a veritable “who's who” of Montecito and Hollywood society, including Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, Naomi Campbell, John Cleese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kevin Costner to name just a few. It's no wonder he's so comfortable within the orbit of "American royalty” after all, the guy's family does own a castle.
From a family of lawyers and bankers, the Rugby all-star fumbled into hairdressing. He was following family tradition and studying law when it was suggested he'd be a brilliant entrepreneur, Charles wasn't easily taken.
Charles delights in giving back to the community that's supported him. He participates in national fundraising for breast cancer awareness, multiple sclerosis (Tommy Hilfiger/VH1 fashion show raising FOUR MILLION dollars in one weekend) and the YMCA. The Museum of Art, Direct Relief International, Civic Light Opera and The Boys and Girls Club are among the local organizations that have benefited from his generosity.
The savvy businessman is an equally accomplished family man. Upon his father's death, Charles found himself reflecting on his paternal role and the impression he wants to make on his five children, James, Sophie, Maxwell, Trinity and little Atticus (2 and 1/2 yrs old) “Family is very, very important to me,” he says with conviction.
With a passion for the martial arts exceeded only by a passion for Formula One race cars, Charles knows how to have fun. He delights in coaxing stock cars around the speedway at nearly 170 miles per hour.
To be sure, Kevin Charles styles the way he drives: with precision and panache.
Kevin Charles Boyle, The Biltmore's Hollywood Head Master
By Karen Taylor Perger
America's love affair with Hollywood is equaled only by Hollywood's love affair with hair. Hair was so important in Hollywood that Joan Crawford, at the height of her power as a 1930s movie star, had MGM import Sydney Guilaroff, a hairdresser she discovered in New York. He became so important to the studio that the imaginary Manhattan day spa in George Cukor's film “The Women” was even named 'Sydney's'.
Real-life celebrity stylists like Frederic Fekkai, Christophe, Art Luna, Tracey Cunningham, Oribe and Sally Hershberger, who boast almost as much charisma as the stars themselves, command over $500 a head when they dress celebrity locks.
Good looks, talent and diplomatic skills help these Star-Stylists stay on top of the hair game. Kevin Charles of the Kevin Charles Salons can certainly play ball with any major league stylist in Beverly Hills, New York or around the world. After all, he has been coifing royalty and celebrities since he began his career with Vidal Sassoon in London's upscale Mayfair District.
Charles has trimmed the tresses and styled celebrities for numerous shoots including In Style, Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Self and Santa Barbara Magazine. He has also been behind the scenes cutting, coloring and styling hair and applying makeup at the MTV Awards, the Emmys, Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
Kevin migrated up the coast to Santa Barbara after a stint working for Sassoon in Los Angles and opened Expose International on Coast Village Road. “It was close enough for Los Angeles clients to still come and see me and it's a great place to raise kids,” said the amiable father.
The Four Seasons Resort Hotel group sought him out for their salon space at the Biltmore. He agreed opening a satellite of his original salon in the hotel.
Kevin helped his close friend Frederick Fekkai open a salon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Kevin worked there and helped train the staff
Weary of commuting between three salons, Kevin sold the Coast Village Road business, to concentrate his energies on more of his own salons and product lines.
With a client list reading like a “Who's Who” of Hollywood, he has dressed the hair of models Naomi Campbell and Cheryl Tiegs. Actors Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Heather Locklear, Carmen Electra, Jane Seymour, Cheryl Ladd, Kelsey Grammar, James Woods, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kevin Costner. Musicians Ossy Osbourne and Rod Stewart, The Goo Goo Dolls, Elton John and Peter Noone. He has styled for the Kardashian weddings and the late Princess Diana to name just a few.
Like his mentors Fekkai and Sassoon, Kevin has also created a hair care line. A skin care line and a spa line will soon be added to his stable of products. I sat down with Kevin in his recently remodeled (by interior designer and Montecito resident Corinna Gordon) salon. He gave me a new “do” while I asked him some rather hairy questions.
Q. What's the biggest difference between Santa Barbara and Hollywood hairstyles?
A.The look is much more cosmopolitan in L.A. In Santa Barbara, it tends to be more comfortable and relaxed. Santa Barbarians are chic with a softer edge. They are also becoming sort of European in style.
Q. How does a hairdresser stay on top in Hollywood?
A. Besides artistic ability, hard work and drive, one must create a "look" instead of following trends. Attention to detail, personality good public relations and the ability to be confident is also very important.
Q. Is there anything you must be careful about when cutting or styling?
A. I focus on each individual client whether they are a celebrity or not. I take into consideration their individual style, bone structure, face shape, eye color, skin tone, height and hair type: length, hair line direction, color, shine and texture. In the case of an actor or actress, I am sometimes governed by a particular role they are playing. I also take into consideration their hobbies and interests like sports they participate in regularly.
Q. Does Hollywood set the trend for hairstyles?
A. I don't think you can look at trends in hairstyles without looking at trends in fashion. Most celebrities travel extensively - Milan, Paris, London, New York etc. When you see new trends you can see the influences coming from those places. I think "Hollywood" provides visibility to those trends, but it does not set tends because it is not fashion's main influence. That's why I feel it is important that hairdressers travel.
Q. With all opportunities available to you in Hollywood, why have you made the Kevin Charles Salon your priority?
A. I'm still close enough to Los Angeles to be involved in the "Hollywood Scene". Working in Beverly Hills gave me the opportunity to progress at a faster speed, but I wanted my children and myself to have the quality and balance of life available here.
Q. Why are there so many blondes in California?
A. In Southern California, men tend to be more attracted to blondes. In other places and in European countries, men are more attracted to brunettes. I think fun women will have fun regardless of the color of their hair.
Q. What do you do when you are not working?
A. I am passionate about Formula One racing (a friend of mine owns one of the teams - McLaren F1) I enjoy my Harley Davidson's and I love spending as much time as I can with my wife, Beccy and my children.
Allure Magazine names Kevin Charles at the Kevin Charles Salon, Dallas' best and the brightest in the haircut category. "He gives short hair polish and swing."
AGAIN! - Allure Magazine names Kevin Charles at the Kevin Charles Salon, Makeover Master Hairstylist. "Sexy, tousled cuts-whatever the length."
Modern Luxury Dallas
Kevin Charles Steals The Spotlight — Allyson Stark
Red carpets, spotlights and paparazzi set the tone for the grand-opening celebration of Kevin Charles Salon sponsored by Modern Luxury Dallas. Charles' client list includes A-list celebrities, and his clients fly him all over to world to do their hair! (He was even named the official hairdresser of the Academy Awards.) Flashy Ducati bikes and a luxe Lamborghini greeted guests, and once inside, party-goers were treated to cocktails and hors d' oeuvres and house music; spun by Andy Austin. Celebrity swag was presented: a drawing for a sporty Ducati Jacket and a Kevin Charles Salon makeover. The event benefited The Fashionistas.
D Beauty Dallas
European Boutique-Style Salon Offers One-of-a-Kind Service
Discerning clients in search of top-notch hair services don't have to hop on a plane to New York, London, or Beverly Hills to experience the unsurpassed style at Kevin Charles Salon. Now the company has a premier location in Dallas' Uptown Plaza. The salon is situated on the McKinney trolley line and is just steps away from Hotel Crescent Court, Hotel ZaZa, W Dallas–Victory, and the new Ritz Carlton Hotel. Expect five-star treatment at the Dallas location, which is expertly modeled after the chic environment at the Santa Barbara, California, location in the Four Seasons Hotel. Celebrity stylist, Kevin Charles, began his hairdressing career coifing royalty and celebrities alongside Vidal Sassoon in London's upscale Mayfair District. Elle magazine has named the Kevin Charles Salon one of the "Top Ten in the Nation," and he has also received numerous accolades in People Magazine and Vogue. Charles' large group of celebrity clientele relies on him to help them shine during their red-carpet appearances at the Emmy and Academy Awards. The Kevin Charles Salon provides signature cuts, colors, special occasion up-dos, and Kerastase ritual hair treatments. The salon is proud to be the only L'Oréal Hair Color Center in Texas. The Kevin Charles team comprises educated, innovative, professional stylists who work together to ensure personal growth as well as a lasting relationship with their clients. The Kevin Charles Salon, "It's all about the hair..."
Secret to Success: Cut, Color and Coddle — Debra Howell
There's a new stylist in town and he's ready to meet every challenge this competitive market can offer. He's armed with a well-trained staff, luxurious surroundings, unmatched experience and a long list of A-listers.
"Dallas is a tough market," says Kevin Charles, owner of Kevin Charles Salon in Santa Barbara and, for the last nine months, Dallas. His latest creation is at McKinney and Pearl streets in Uptown.
"I always want to give value-added service. I travel first class, I love luxury cars, beautiful clothes and fine hotels. If I enjoy that, then my clients should have it, too," Mr. Charles says. "We serve champagne on Fridays between 3 and 6 p.m., wine all week long and mimosas all day on Saturdays."
By offering such libations, Mr. Charles is sure to become the toast of the town. He honed his pampering skills by serving celebrity clients for more than 15 years at his California salon in the Four Seasons Santa Barbara. Actress Katie Holmes, supermodel Naomi Campbell and comedian Dennis Miller are just a few of his famous regulars.
Dallas' own bold-faced names discovered Mr. Charles while summering on the West Coast. They invited him to visit them upon their return to keep their coifs in the style to which they'd become accustomed. Soon the Dallas salon was born.
The transition to serving North Texas clients has been an easy one, he says.
"Women in Dallas are very cultured," he says. "They know style and they know how to dress."
Kevin Charles Salon Dallas is the first and only L'Oréal-approved color center in Texas. "We were hand-picked by L'Oreal Paris to represent them at the highest level," Mr. Charles says.