©1996 Denis Reggie
George Kyriakos was John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette‘s close friend and hairstylist for many years. When he got the call in 1996 asking if he would style their hair for their secret wedding, he had no idea the look he helped create would go down in history as one of the most requested wedding styles of all time.
For the first time since 1996, George opens up to us about being a guest at one of the most hush-hush celebrity weddings of all time, and how to get Carolyn’s hairstyle.
Did you know it was a wedding where you would be doing Carolyn’s hair or did she keep it a secret?
GK: She was a very good friend, so we knew about the wedding but were sworn to secrecy. Her core group of friends knew, but we couldn’t say anything. I knew we were going there, and I didn’t even tell my family or friends.
Did she have an idea for her hairstyle, or did you help her come up with it?
GK: She came over a few times before the wedding, and we did a couple of tests to figure out what we wanted to do. She was very simple with amazing taste. She didn’t like things that were over the top. We came up with a classic twist with loose texture. The front was very clean, and there was some texture in the back to make it look like she had done it herself.
Can you take us step by step through getting this look?
GK: You take towel damp hair and add some volumizer or light leave-in conditioner. Then blow it out to give it that smoothness and shine. I wouldn’t flat iron it unless it’s really curly hair. Make a low ponytail in the back and then twist the hair around the ponytail. Loosely pin the ends but leave pieces coming out. Carolyn had a side part which you can’t see in the wedding photo that was released. The hair can be be finished an hour before the wedding. If you pin it securely, it should be fine.
Do you have any advice for achieving a timeless wedding day hairstyle like Carolyn’s?
GK: You want to look back in 20 years and think to yourself, ‘that looks really beautiful.’ No matter clothes or style, it has to be something classic. Sometimes people try to do things that are really cutting edge at the time and then they look back and don’t like it. I love to work with a side part or something pulled back and clean. But again, it depends on the girl. If her hair looks better down, then she should wear it down. People should do what looks good on them and not try to be someone else on their wedding day.
What was it like being one of 40 guests at their wedding?
GK: It was a very beautiful wedding and a great place to have it at the time. It just seemed like being at your friend’s wedding. I grew up in Canada, so I didn’t grow up with the Kennedys. John was just Carolyn’s boyfriend and then Carolyn’s husband. At the time, I had been working with celebrities, so it didn’t phase me too much. What phases me now is that they were just really kind and nice people. John treated everyone from the doorman to the cab driver like they were equal. Carolyn was like that too, very kind and generous. I feel lucky looking back. The amazing thing about them is that they were such good people and such nice people. Their true friends always remained quiet, and that’s a testament to them.
For more information on George Kyriakos, visit his website.
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