Emmy Award nominated makeup artist Gregory Arlt is one such L.A. native influenced by the style legend. Director of Makeup Artistry for MAC Cosmetics he’s been making up faces for over 25 years, beginning with his first job in beauty at Segal’s in 1989. Today Arlt works regularly with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Dita Von Teese, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry, Cher, and many more. He is currently working on his first beauty book titled “Beauty Exorcist” with renowned photographer Steve Erle.
Here, he shares how Segal’s vision in the fashion, beauty and retail realms helped him get his start.
I’d often joke that one needn’t get a map to the stars’ homes, but just sit in the store for three hours to get your fill! I sold fragrance, bubble bath, skin care, and makeup to the likes of Ali McGraw, Darryl Hannah, Lauren Bacall, Winona Ryder, The Bangles, Janet Jackson, Debbie Allen (who cast me as an extra on A Different World), Harrison Ford (almost fainted when “Han Solo” asked me about Kiehl’s toner) and Patricia Wettig who was on the hit show Thirtysomething at the time and was the first famous person I did makeup on right there in the store.
Fred Segal’s stores weren’t just a lifestyle, they were life. L.A. life. He was truly the pioneer of the casual, acceptable yet chic “jeans and a t-shirt” look (very expensive ones, of course). It was a fashion movement and a major influence on California and ultimately, global fashion in general.
The man behind the namesake store was a true icon of pop culture. He was friends with the Dalai Lama and his name was mentioned in films such as Clueless and Legally Blonde. He was also a crusader for peace and donated so much time and energy into global awareness and healing the planet. He opened one of the first environmentally conscious department stores in L.A., which opened across the street from the Santa Monica store and carried brands like Seventh Generation, Origins, and Robin Kay.
Personally, I forged lifelong friendships in the 3 1/2 years I worked there. I saw people fall in love, get married, have babies, experience loss, have major success, and the like. Robin and Jennifer were genuine pioneers in the beauty industry who curated a truly “one stop” shopping destination, with only the best of the best and coveted, niche products that you could only get at that location. I owe my career to them.
Fred’s daughters Sharon, Nina, and Annie were- and are- some of the loveliest, sweetest humans on the planet and I’d always delight when they came by the store to say hi and chat (I think I may have done Annie’s eyebrows for the first time in her life at the store). I cannot send them and their families more love or more light during this unfathomable time. Fred Segal the man will never be forgotten and neither will his famous and beautiful mantra: Look See Feel Be Love ALL.
Learn more about Fred Segal stores here.