Our hearts are heavy with the recent passing of Horst Rechelbacher. It’s hard to over-emphasize the impact of this visionary man. He was not just a hairdresser; he pioneered a movement. And while his impact on the beauty business is likely best showcased in the trade journals, I’d like to talk about his impact on the local landscape.
Our community is known as a Creative Class city, a reputation most often associated with the area’s vibrant advertising and retail industries. Yet we shouldn’t overlook what the beauty biz in general, and Horst in particular, has meant to the area—and what it meant to have Aveda based here in its glory days.
I'm not just talking about the hairstylists. From photographers and makeup artists to models, marketers, product developers and creative directors, all of them were part of the Horst/Aveda machine. Some of that machine still exists, of course, but in those early, formative years, you could feel it in the air. Downtown Minneapolis transformed when the annual Congress show was in session.
My personal memories of Horst started in 1982, when my mother drove me from Roseville to the Horst Educational Center on LaSalle so I could get my hair done for prom. I wanted something different—not the curling-iron, Farrah Fawcett look of my peers. Lucky for me, we had Horst. In the early 90s, I would take regular Saturday trips to Architectural Antiques on Washington Avenue, often seeing "sold" signs on massive architectural pieces (mostly religious) with Horst's name on them. I fantasized about where they would end up (and marveled at how much he purchased). A few years later, I made the trek to Osceola to his compound when it was open to the public as a spa and retreat, or took in the fashion events in the upstairs ballroom of the former Masonic Temple that’s now Aveda Educational Center in Northeast Minneapolis. No one but Horst Rechelbacher would have the vision (and means) to transform that building into the magnificent complex it is.
I have many friends who worked closely with Horst in his early days in the Twin Cities, all of whom can seemingly imitate his accent to near-perfection. My own hair stylist, Jeffrey Carron, still uses a special pair of scissors that Horst had made by combining more than one pair of sheers—a tangible testament to the impact Horst had on his career.
To celebrate Horst's inimitable legacy, we’ve tapped the archives of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine to share a couple features we've published over the years, including writer Steve Marsh’s priceless oral history of Horst and the beginnings of Aveda. It’s a small gesture for a man who was such an incredible gift to our cities.
Rest in peace, Mr. Rechelbacher. And thank you.
—Jayne Haugen Olson, editorial director
Take a stroll down memory lane with some legendary stylists as they recall the Twin Cities' golden era of hair.
Surrounded by beauty at his St. Croix River estate, Horst Rechelbacher showed us around his house-cum-laboratory in 2011.