The transition seems so seamless—you play a grueling weeklong tournament, advancing from the qualifying round to the quarterfinals, the finals and then…are crowned the U.S. Open Champion. You’ve bested the best of the best to secure the final major in the Grand Slam tournaments. And, as win the final match, on international television, with countless cameras pointed at you, you look great. Your hair has not succumbed to the typical late-summer humidity in Queens. You can thank the Hamptons for that. Or at least Hamptonite and courtside stylist to the stars Julien Farel. Seriously, as you’re watching the best in tennis compete this weekend, the East End may not have star-player representation, but we’re still having an impact on the event.
“You need to look good for the picture. You’re not going to have time to do anything after the game,” says Farel, who has been the official hairstylist of the U.S. Open since 2007. He presented the idea of a popup salon to the USTA, after gaining inspiration from similar work he did in Paris, and Farel has been a presence at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens ever since. His work will be on full display until the Open finals wrap up on September 9.
“I cut hair like an architect [designs a house],” says Farel, whose permanent salons include space on 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue.
The salon is open to all players, coaches and USTA executives, and guests can enjoy anything from a mani-pedi to a full cut and blowout. “Tennis has become a fashion show,” says Farel. “They need the power look…like they’re going to win.”
Farel focuses on using his products, which have anti-aging technology, a perk for an athlete who’s constantly exposing their hair to sweat, sun and excessive washing. “With women, I try to bring back femininity,” says Farel, giving an example of his on-the-court work. He cites Rafael Nadal and Ana Ivanovic as two players who have had the most iconic look over the year. “[Your style] builds integrity and reputation,” says Farel.
“Tennis is a sport I love,” says Farel, referring to its elegance and the tradition of wearing all white. Though he has played tennis, Farel’s current workouts center around running, which he especially enjoys doing when at home in East Hampton, a place he visits year-round.
“I run in the early morning, when the Hamptons are still sleeping,” says Farel, whose daily mileage can get up to 11. “Running is my meditation.” Though he has also tried Soul Cycle, which he refers to as a “very efficient” way to get in a workout. When he’s not sweating, he spending time with his two daughters, ages five-and-a-half and 8, and his wife.
“It’s a piece of beauty two hours away from New York City,” says Farel of the East End, where his favorite activities are “low key, like collecting shells on the beach” with his children.
When he returns to the court, it’s back to work, a labor of love.
“My main thing is about helping,” says Farel. “This country has given me so much, I just want to give back.”
The U.S. Open will be played through September 9. For more info on Farel, visit julienfarel.com.