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top flight:

james pecis’
ode to the ocean 

In his first book, the Oribe global ambassador reveals his love of hair and the ocean.

Written By JAYME CYK



The first time I met hairstylist James Pecis was in 2012 backstage at the Honor show, where he fashioned double-inverted cornrows that mimicked muscle filament. Needless to say, I was awestruck by his unique point of view, and I have followed his career ever since.

Besides being a backstage fixture at Fashion Month, the San Francisco–born hairstylist, who has been in the industry for 20 years (he has assisted some of the greats, such as Jimmy Paul and Laurent Philippon), often shoots with renowned photographers like Inez & Vinoodh and Mario Sorrenti, and works with incredible publications, including Vogue and Vogue Paris, among others.

And his talent has been closely monitored by more than just me, of course. In 2015, he was named Oribe’s global ambassador to help collaborate on new products, education events and training, editorial shoots, and Fashion Weeks around the world. Oribe recently revealed its newest product, which uses Pecis’ expertise: The Swept Up Volume Powder Spray, a texturizing root lifter. “It speeds up the process to create a lot of volume,” says Pecis. “A little goes a long way. But it’s very consumer friendly—or you can turn it up a few notches and go wild.”



But his latest project is one of firsts. Pecis collaborated with art director Kimberley Norcott, portrait photographer Paul Wetherell, and photo editor Ben Bugden to create Noodled (slang for tired arms), a limited-edition hardcover book that highlights the beauty of the ocean through the language of fashion portraiture. As a self-described novice surfer, Pecis created a multitude of hairstyles for the book inspired by each photographed wave. All the proceeds will go to Mission Blue, a nonprofit organization that inspires action to protect the ocean. “We are all connected to the ocean. It cleans the air, it gives us life, it is part of the life force which keeps the earth working properly,” says Pecis. “We are all very impacted by the ocean on so many levels. For each of us personally, the ocean is a place where we feel connected with something bigger, which is something that would be heartbreaking to lose.”



JAMES PECIS’ OCEANIC GUIDE

FAVORITE BEACH FOR SURFING

My favorite spot must be kept secret.

FAVORITE BEACH FOR NAPPING

I can’t remember the last time I took a nap, and I doubt it was on a beach.

FAVORITE BEACH FOR WALKING YOUR DOG

Any beach in Costa Rica where he can run free and play with the strays. 

FAVORITE BEACH FOR WALKING WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER

I am happy on pretty much any beach. Sand, salt, ocean mist, moving water—it all makes me happy.