A Talk with Dr. Olivier de Frahan
By Christine Suppes
Last summer I met Dr. Olivier de Frahan at the Olympus Suite in London, a little by accident. I was to have an anti-jetlag Anne Semonin facial with Ewa Berkmann, and as we passed by a consulting room with the door ajar, she pulled me inside to meet Dr. de Frahan, The doctor was discussing treatment options with England's top pop princess (and probably its most photographed face). After the diva had left, and I had finished my facial, Ewa properly introduced me to Dr. de Frahan, and we had a tantalizing chat regarding facial surgeries gone wrong. I vowed to meet the doctor in Paris to have a more formal interview.
On a winding, sloping street in the 16th arrondissement, Dr. de Frahan's office is in a nineteenth century building, whose lobby is painted with flora and fauna murals of the period. His striking office, designed by 50's interior decorator Comtesse Rochefoucauld, was lit to cast fabulous contours on any face. The consulting room, with what I would call "harsher, reality lighting" was a few steps away. "People have asked me why I have this lighting in my office," Dr. Frahan offered. He shrugged, in true Gallic style. It was clear that he had it because he liked it. Certainly it contributed to a general well being and feeling that one's hopes for physical change might be realized.
"I now have the luxury to decide whether to accept a client or not. There is always the battle between money and medicine." He referred disparagingly about a recent insert in the British magazine Tatler. It was about "the best plastic surgeons." Dr. de Frahan dismissed it with the following phrase, "a strange fiction."
Between 1986 and 1990, Dr. de Frahan trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Foch Hospital in Paris. He was trained in cranio-facial surgery (children's malformations), burn surgery and all plastic surgery. In 1989 his paper, "Reconstructive Surgery of Facial Deformities with Facial Palsy" was published, and he opened his private practice.
In 1995, he started to work on the advantages of laser in plastic surgery. He was invited to teach and demonstrate surgical procedures in France, Italy, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. Between 1996 and 2001 he lectured at many of the Plastic Surgery conventions in the US, Europe,
and Middle East on the use of Erbium Laser combined with plastic surgery in facelift and eyelid surgery-or in some cases using Erbium Laser alone without surgery.
In 1996 he began using Botox, Restylane and fat to maintain his standard for a "natural" look on a patient whatever the age. He did not like the "Botox look", with the brows up and completely frozen foreheads preventing any normal expression (I immediately thought, oh no, better to keep the doctor away from California, land of addiction to the "frozen forehead"!) He found a way, with the right dosage and right muscles to inject, that it was possible to keep a "charming appearance of the eyelids". There is also a different technique that he uses for younger patients, especially models who have no wrinkles. He can lift the end of the eyebrows to further open the eyes for a natural look. Dr. de Frahan would agree that the facelift and eyelids are his specialty. "I love the face-you can keep the eye expression, a treasure you must keep." He does men, but says that in our culture, men must have natural surgeries as it is difficult to see a big change in a man.
"I find it quite interesting to do surgery on a beautiful face. You need a perfect result on a beautiful face. The most important thing here is harmony. I am sent models from agencies and I turn 50% of them away." When asked to name the women he found most beautiful he said, "I find it difficult to discuss Deneuve. I like Carole Bouquet, Penelope Cruz and Princess Rania of Jordania. I really liked Grace Kelly and Gene Tierney.
Dr. De Frahan says there are three types of patients: those who want to feel better, those who want to look better and those who want to look sexier. He is bored with the patient who wants huge lips and huge breasts. "You will know when the time is right for you to have plastic surgery. I call it the 'tragic night,' when you see yourself in a mirror or a photo on vacation and you can't believe it's you."
Finally, Dr. de Frahan spoke about the young girls of Africa and Scandinavia, some of the most beautiful girls he has ever seen. "They have no idea they are beautiful," he said. Perhaps this is the number one beauty secret is what the doctor seemed to be saying. And perhaps this is the first secret Paris style beauty.
Dr. Olivier H. de Frahan
9, rue de Lota
telephone: 33 1 47 27 08 04