September 18, 2018

Reboh Brings His Style Back to Israel

Maybe it’s his easy smile, his quick laugh or the way he greets his clients as if he’s been waiting forever to see them, but when Marcel Reboh says, “I love beautiful women,” it’s not creepy. His job, he says, is to know how to read any woman who sits in his chair and to “change her life, to make her happy.”

Reboh isn’t a therapist, he’s a hairstylist. Known in Israel as the celebrity stylist, Reboh has been cutting and styling hair for more than three decades. He discovered his talent at the age of 13 when his older sister paid him to blow dry her hair in their home in Petac Tikva, Israel. At 18, he flew to Paris to study with the best stylists in the industry. Together with his brother Rafael, Reboh opened 10 salons in six cities in the United States and Canada.

Reboh got his big break in Montreal when Barbara Walters stopped by for a cut. Impressed with his skills — and his effusive personality — she referred Reboh to such friends as Candice Bergen, Mary Tyler Moore, Lauren Bacall and Mia Farrow. Since then, Reboh has worked with Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Sharon Stone, Mariah Carey and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

But for all the glitz and glamour, Reboh is first and foremost a family man — a trait that brought him and his wife, Sandra, and their two sets of twins back to Israel after a 30-year absence.

Born in Casablanca, Reboh and his nine siblings moved to his mother’s hometown of Paris when he was 2 months old. In 1961, the family immigrated to Israel. Tragedy struck during the Six-Day War when Reboh’s brother, Eli, was killed. “Three of my brothers went to the war, only two came back,” he recounted with tears in his eyes.

The sorrow of this loss became too much for the family to bear, so in 1975 it moved again, to Montreal. After 20 years of “too many ice storms” in Canada, Reboh moved his family to the warmer climes of Miami, where he lived until two years ago.

It was Reboh’s twin 18-year-old daughters, Sarah and Kayla, who eventually brought him back to Israel in 2015. Even though they carry American and Canadian citizenships as well as Israeli, they were determined to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. With the pain of his brother’s death in 1967 still haunting him, Reboh was unsure how he felt about their ambition. There also were huge obstacles involved with uprooting his family: His children, having never lived in Israel, didn’t speak the language or know the culture; and his younger twins, Ilan and Shani, were just starting high school. There also was the issue of what Reboh would do with his successful salons in Miami and Los Angeles.

“It’s going to be the best hair salon in the country, in the Middle East, and even in Europe.” — Marcel Reboh

But then he got inspired, he said, not just by the love his daughters reawakened in him for the country of his youth and the Jewish homeland, but by seeing and embracing the Israel of today and tomorrow. Reboh was inspired to bring over his own brand of high fashion and gilt-edged cosmopolitanism, “something that they’ve never had in Israel,” he said with a laugh. And he’s doing just that.

His salon, Femme Coiffure, at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv, is changing the hair-styling industry in Israel as one of the only salons in the country using entirely organic hair products. And in January, Reboh and his brother Rafael, who moved back to Israel a year ago with his family, will open another luxury salon in the new Setai hotel in the Old City of Jaffa.

“The Setai is a major brand in the world, top 10, and now it needs a hair salon that deals with the rich and famous and in bringing them hair that they have never seen before,” he said.

In his typical hyperbolic manner, Reboh declared with a wide grin, “It’s going to be the best hair salon in the country, in the Middle East, and even in Europe.”

This article has been modified to correct Marcel Reboh’s name.