Fred Hayman's Beverly Hills

A Tribute to the Visionary Entrepreneur Known as the King of Rodeo

The iconic Rodeo Drive host is seen hobnobbing with Sinatra in today's slideshow, excerpted from author Rose Apodaca's new seven-pound tome Fred Hayman: The Extraordinary Difference. Over a series of lunch dates, Apodaca uncovered the history of the Swiss-born entrepreneur who put the West Coast’s ritziest thoroughfare on the map with his seminal, now-shuttered boutique Giorgio Beverly Hills. “Fred arrived in LA when it was transforming from a sleepy town to this place where Hollywood was making its home,” says Apodaca, who wrote Style A to Zoe with stylist Rachel Zoe and helms La Vie en Rose, a blog that chronicles L.A. hotspots. From its opening in the 60s, Giorgio Beverly Hills lured celebrities to its distinctive yellow-and-white-striped awnings with a clubby atmosphere: Steve McQueen and Don Johnson stopped in to shoot billiards, Frank Sinatra and Hugh Hefner bellied up to the mahogany bar, and Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Princess Grace added to their closets while sipping champagne. In anticipation of the book's June release, NOWNESS spoke with Apodaca about the original celebrity stylist, known for his lavish fragrance launches and annual Oscar fashion preview shows.

Fred spent his childhood in Europe and grew up in NYC. Why do you think he fell in love with Los Angeles?
For the ability to reinvent yourself. The glamour was different than New York. It was all about the Hollywood stars, many of whom also came from humble beginnings like himself. And the sunshine, the big cars, the ocean—all the things that draw people west. 

You spent so much time with Fred while writing the book. What is it about him you admire most?
His elegance. He’s always turned out. Always with gold cufflinks.

What about his infamous entertaining flair?
[Throughout the research process] Fred and his friends would drink me and my husband under the table. And we can drink! At his home in Beverly Hills, you’d arrive [for dinner] and there'd be Mariachi bands. In-between courses, junior performers hired from the LA opera would suddenly break into song.

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