CURRENTLY COVETING

La belle vie with Bastide

Welcome to the good life: lazy, sun-dappled days spent in the rolling French countryside and open-air markets, fresh produce and the obligatory carafe of wine peppering lunch tables, meals that start in the late afternoon and stretch well into evening. The good life, it seems, is the slow life. Just ask Frederick Fekkai.

After all Fekkai (he of the celebrity-favourite salons and hair-care line) is the Aix-en-Provence native who, with wife Shirin von Wulffen, has just launched Bastide—a French body-and-home range with a locavore philosophy and a holistic approach to ‘slow beauty’. “Provence taught me from an early age that beauty is more than the product that nurtures your skin,” explains Fekkai.

“For us, ‘slow beauty’ means looking to nature and tradition for solutions that will help us to live our lives better. The light, smells and rhythms of Provence remind us to breathe deeply, to enjoy the present and to live our best life at any age,” adds von Wulffen about life at their bastide (country house) in Aix-en-Provence, 30 kilometres north of Marseille. “It felt only natural to create products that capture some of that specialness from Provence.”

Such specialness also includes the ingredients that go into Bastide’s range; the brand harvests from the local region to create their range, which is 100 per cent made in Provence by local artisans. “Our ‘beautisans’ have generations of know-how in their craft. The family that makes our lotions and creams have been doing so for three generations—they truly are experts,” says von Wulffen.

Bastide’s own history dates back 27 years when it started life as Côté Bastide, a local brand that the couple had known and loved for years. “When the founder retired, we decided to acquire [it] and safeguard the artisanal savoir faire of our Provencal beautisans. Bastide allowed us to honour the rich heritage and French skin-care roots of the brand and also to make the line completely clean and non-toxic,” shares von Wulffen. So committed to clean ingredients, the couple even introduced a “black list”—their own comprehensive filter of banned ingredients and practices (including parabens, mineral oils, sulfates and animal testing) for better, safer beauty.

The result is a dreamy line-up of exquisite candles and fragrances, hand and body products, including von Wulffen’s favourite, Huile Seche Epatante. “It is an amazing dry oil which I use to hydrate after long flights and to keep skin moisturised,” she says. “It also smells amazing and is made with a really incredible blend of grapeseed, sunflower seed and olive oils”.

She adds, “each and every piece in the collection transports you to Provence”. Bon voyage.

Words by Helene Pappas
December 2017

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