A five minute chat with Giorgio Armani Face Designer Cesar Santos

In November, I was lucky enough to be treated to a very special makeover by Giorgio Armani cosmetics. The genius behind my makeover was Cesar Santos, Armani’s international face designer. After Cesar had transformed my skin beyond belief, I asked him a few questions about what it is like to be one of the world’s foremost make-up artists.

Fashion-Mommy: Cesar, how long have you been in the make-up industry?

Cesar Santos: I have been International face designer at Armani for 11 years. I am currently London-based but have worked all over the World, including Milan and London fashion weeks.

FM: You must have worked with some exciting and interesting people, tell me about some of your favourites.

CS – One of the most rewarding and exciting experiences was when Lady Helen Taylor asked if I would do her make up for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding last April. Lady Helen was a Giorgio Armani ambassador for nine years, and I was over the moon to be asked. Other wonderful women I have worked with include Penelope Cruz, who is just wonderful, and the amazing Kim Cattrell. I was like…’It’s Samantha!’

Lady Helen Taylor at the Royal Wedding

FM: What would you say is the most indispensible item in your Armani make up kit?

CS: That has to be the Luminous Silk Foundation. This is the definite must buy and must have.

GIORGIO ARMANI Luminous Silk foundation £33.00 click to visit Selfridges

FM: What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the beauty business?

CS: You need real passion, and to keep your eyes open to everything. Look in magazines, at people in the street. You need to make sure you absorb style all the time. And you need to practice, practice, practice!

FM: Who are your current beauty icons? Whose style do you admire?

CS: I love Beyonce, she just looks amazing. In terms of make up, I currently like Jessie J. She looks so current, but has not overstepped the mark. Her look is edgy but beautiful. I love it.

FM: So what can we expect to see in make-up trends in 2012?

CS: Luminosity will continue for the eyes, with champagne colours and sand and ivory. Lips will continue to be strong and striking. And for summer…WATCH THIS SPACE!

Thank you to the wonderful Cesar Santos for his time and genius. Selfridges Birmingham and Jennifer Hale from L’Oreal.


Catherine Walker remembered.

V&A: Catherine Walker 1989, Pearl dress for Di...

Image by moorina via Flickr

On Thursday I went to the V&A to see the Grace Kelly exhibition. After spending an hour admiring Grace’s style, we exited to the main costume exhibition. One dress made us all gasp. For there, in all its glory, was the Princess DianaElvis‘ dress, the stunning off white gem encrusted strapless dress, with short sleeved jacket with the upturned collar. This was the dress that the Franklin Mint had donated to the museum in 2005/6, the dress that had raised the most money when Diana had held her famous dress Auction.  The dress was instantly recogniseable to all, one of Diana’s most famous, most successful looks. And yet its designer was not a name instantly recognisable to all. Her name was Catherine Walker, and she has died at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.

The young Princess Diana wore a whole range of designers whilst trying to find her signature look. Belville Sassoon, Jasper Conran, Zandra Rhodes and Bruce Oldfield were amongst the designers whose clothes were worn by the willowy Princess. But it was the French-born Catherine Walker who became her favourite designer. Many of her most famous looks were created by the designer, including the salmon pink and jewel encrusted dress and bolero worn in official royal photographs taken by Lord Lichfield and worn on the official visit to India in 1992.  Walker also designed many of the day suits that the Princess wore on official engagements.

Catherine Walker was a designer who remained a Diana favourite until the end of her life. Although the Princess frequented a range of designers from overseas after her divorce from Prince Charles, including Versace and Chanel, she remained faithful to Walker, wearing a short halter neck jewel encrusted gown to the Serpentine Gallery in 1995.  The Princess was buried in a black Catherine Walker dress.Catherine Walker experienced heartache in her life. She was left a young widow with two small children in 1975, and she fought cancer twice. She was a private person who shunned publicity and the public, whilst being awarded two British design awards for couture and glamour in the early 1990’s. She designed for other royal family members, most notably the wedding dress for Lady Helen Taylor.

In a statement, her family said: “Catherine Walker overcame young widowhood and fought cancer twice with enduring bravery. “She built one of the most successful British couture brands and at the same time raised a loving family. Catherine Walker has dressed many of the world’s most beautiful women.”

Catherine Walker’s legacy are her beautiful dresses as worn by her greatest, most famous muse, The Princess of Wales. In numerous photographic images, Catherine’s amazing sense of style and eye for detail is there for all to see and admire. RIP Catherine Walker.