Last Saturday, I was greeted at 10:00 am sharp at Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria by Fernando Cadavid and Alicia Cortes, one an "old Chantecaille friend," one new. Alicia is the resident Chantecaille specialist at Neiman Marcus Tysons. Fernando is a Global Makeup Artist for Chantecaille and was visiting Chantecaille counters in the DC area last week to show us how to look "Chantecaille gorgeous."
Fernando and I spent a lot of time chatting. I am always interested in the path talented artists take into their field, and I've learned that it's seldom linear or expected. I've never asked someone how they came to be a makeup artist (or how they because a fragrance expert) and heard the answer, "I went to school to learn the skills."
When Fernando was an undergraduate at USC, like all undergrads, he had to study electives. He was majoring in architecture. On a whim, he selected special effects makeup and loved it. Then he studied editorial, cinematic, and stage makeup, and he felt the lure. However, he stuck with his chosen career path and earned a bachelor's degree and a master's in architecture. From there, he went to work in his field.
One night, while working overtime on a project he wasn't enjoying, his mother called from the East Coast. In frustration, he told her he hated the project - he even hated his job. His wonderful, supportive mother told him to make a change, reminding him that he was young and it was never too late to follow his passions. Two weeks later, his contract came up for renewal, and he quit - not knowing what he would do next.
One night he went to a dinner with a friend, who brought along one of his own friends, Sue Devitt. Can you see where this story is going? Sue was sure Fernando was a makeup artist and that she has seen him working somewhere. They talked about his background and passions. She was making a personal appearance at Barneys that week and asked Fernando to come along and try his hand supporting her as a freelancer. He did, and his career as a makeup artist was launched.
While working for Sue, Fernando started to make connections. Celebrities like Heather Thomas recognized his talent and connected him with her friends (isn't that generous, sharing your makeup artist?). Fernando's career grew because he's really great. He became a successful Los Angeles makeup artist, always grateful to Sue for the start.
One day, about five years ago, he met a Chantecaille account executive who recognized his overwhelming talent and talked to him about a position with Chantecaille. Long story short, he joined Chantecaille and has been with the company since. That's how an architect became a famous makeup artist!
How did he make me look this good? I took notes. Fernando started with Nano Gold Firming Treatment and Biodynamic Lifting Cream to prep my skin. Then, he selected the new Classic Palette for color, starting with my eyes. He used the new Hematite Gel Liner Pencil and Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara in Black. For concealer, he chose Total Concealer in Alabaster. I think he used Future Skin foundation in Alabaster. He applied St. Barth's Compact Soleil bronzer and the blush in the New Classic Palette. He enhanced my eyebrows with Ash Blonde Brow Definer and finished with lip color: Tea Rose Lip Chic topped by Brilliant Gloss in Sweet. Every item was applied perfectly. You can find all of these beautiful products at Chantecaille's Web site. Sweet is a shade that was just brought back, but I had it from its last appearance. I have a fully stocked Chantecaille makeup wardrobe, the true sign of a Chantecaille groupie. The moment something new is introduced, I buy it.
As you've already read, I went off and had my hair styled by Brandon Martinez, so we took my photos after that session. I was feeling very special. Makeup and hair by the pros! All that work (and a lot of chatting) took 2.5 hours. No wonder Hollywood celebrities spend all day preparing for the red carpet!
I left my new friend Fernando showing Natalie Callado some great eye shadow colors for her eyes. Natalie is the assistant manager of the beauty department, and I asked her to help us with a "live shot." Fernando's next appointment had not arrived at that point. She was a good sport - and looked great.
There were red roses on the floor at the RéVive counter, and I wanted a photo to remember the Artbox 9, Dr. Gregory Brown's appearance (which I will feature this week), and my Chantecaille makeover. Kathy Shoreman helped me, snapping this photo before I left the store. It was a wonderful day!
If you ever get the chance to sit in Fernando's chair - and I'm sure you will because he travels constantly - take it. He'll give you a look that you can recreate to be "Chantecaille gorgeous" every day. If you like Twitter, you can keep up with Fernando @ChantecailleArt. There is an Events page at Chantecaille's Web site. Once it's updated (it was scheduled through this weekend), check to see if there's a Chantecaille event scheduled to occur in your area sometime soon.
Photos by Best Things in Beauty (with a little help)