Who’s Who: Gucci Westman

A few years ago, Revlon went through a makeover thanks to Gucci Westman, the makeup artist who updated the brand image and introduced new, covetable products. She left the post in 2015, after 7 years helping creating campaigns with the likes of Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde and Halle Berry. It wasn’t her first time as an artistic director, previously she occupied the same role at Lancôme (now it belongs to Lisa Eldridge). Not bad for someone who was forbidden to wear any make-up during her childhood and early teens!

Chelsea Westman (Gucci is a nickname for Gurucharan, name shed adopted after a period in a Californian ashram) was introduced in the world of makeup whilst working as a nanny for a family in Switzerland. Her boss was a fashion editor, who got lots of lipstick, mascaras and foundations from Chanel, Dior etc, and motivated Gucci to move to Paris and start makeup school.

Back to Los Angeles, her first big break was a Vanity Fair cover photographed by Annie Leibovitz, featuring athletes from the Olympic team. Right after that, she met Grace Coddington and had the Vogue doors opened. By then, Gucci was making faces in both Hollywood and Paris, working with the biggest celebrities and brands. Ironically, she turned Cameron Diaz, one of her best friends, into an ugly woman in “Being John Malkovich”. Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore are also part of the A-list squad.

Gucci still splits time between celebrities and editorials, shows and campaigns, especially for Rag & Bone, as she is married to one of the founders, David Neville, father of her 2 children. Recently, she closed a partnership with skincare brand SK-II. Besides all that, she keeps the same makeup mantra: making women feel beautiful but also comforting.  Who doesn’t like it?

Brexit: Expectations about the Fashion Industry

Last Friday, I woke up with the sad news that UK chose to leave the European Union. Even though I wasn’t completely surprised, as the polls pointed to it, I hoped that in the end, the Remain would win by a tiny margin. Since then, the political and economic uncertainty mood took over, reinforced by lots of media drama, which doesn’t help to relieve a situation that claims for calmness, patience and rationality – ok, very hard to achieve when there is a million things to sort out, however, it is the shortest way to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This post is a reflection about the perspectives of fashion and the creative industries, now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK’s economy, with a growth rate two times higher than the overall economy. Unfortunately, it is one of the first to be weakened in moments of crisis. Add the fact that thousands of Europeans work in it, especially in London, and it is easy to visualise panic knocking on the door.  A poll made by the British Fashion Council revealed that 90% of the designers were in favour of staying in the EU. During the recent London Collections: Men they showed support with “Remain” T-shirts or posting their views on social media. Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Raeburn and Sibling were among them. Once the result was out, my Instagram timeline was inundated with pictures and messages posted by stylists, photographers, models, designers etc. regretting the outcomes. For most of them, and for who is looking from the outside, Brexit represents a vote against globalization and multiculturalism, two aspects deeply embedded in the fashion industry, where professionals and manufacturing come from diverse countries and products are sold around the world.

So, what happens next? It is still very early to tell as everything depends on the agreements the British government will settle with Europe. Right now, with the pound drop, shopping in London became cheaper and tourists can take even more advantage of the sales season. On the other hand, in the future, if European products suffer taxation, the city can lose its appeal as a shopping destination, since most of the brands, from luxury to fast-fashion, come from France, Italy, Spain and Sweden (Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Prada, Zara e H&M, to name a few).

Another two great issues are education and entrepreneurship. Until now, in both under and graduate levels, European students pay the same amount as the British ones,  which is less than half of what people from outside the EU is charged. What will be the incentive to come over if they can go to Paris or Milan for a fraction of the price and stay legally after the course ends to pursue job opportunities or start a business? A real example: after my MA course (where in a class of about 30, only 4 people were British – that’s how internationalised the institutions are), all the Europeans who are creating a brand chose London as a base, since they can access intellectual and financial support programs for startups, most of them funded by the EU. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a kind of fashion incubator where I worked last year, is one of them – and relies on funding from Brussels.

The same principles can be applied in sectors such as design, architecture, arts, films, media and technology, especially in London where there is a huge market surrounding them. For these reasons, I believe that the best thing to do is having an optimistic view of the future and get together to fight for favourable agreements, as Rohan Silva, entrepreneur and founder of Second Home, a co-working space, suggested in this interview for Dezeen. On a personal level, I believe that the pressure from the economy and the financial market will prevail and in the end of the day it will be inevitable to ensure freedom of movement in order to get access to the single market, in other words, very few things will change.

I keep working on the development of my consulting company and dreaming about the day I’ll be able to hire a team and contribute to the growth and expansion of many brands. I’m not a helpless optimist, but I think the best answer for turbulent times is leaving fear behind and go after your projects with all the passion you have. Positive attitudes always open doors!

Illustrations: @andreaangeli_  and repost from @dianekruger 

Brands We Love: Stila

I can’t honestly say if I love the Stila products more than the brand iconic dolls. I was so obsessed with the “Stila Girls” that I had many images on a file and even used them as my computer backdrop! I always thought that the company name and the illustrations (now not so present in the communication as it was in the past) were attached to the arts, like an invitation to play around with makeup colours. Turns out it was kind of the original idea.

Here is the story: Stila was founded in 1994, in Los Angeles, by makeup artist Jeanine Lobell. The name comes from the Italian ‘stilare’ and also the Swedish ‘stil’ (estilo), because she was raised in the Scandinavian country. Her goal was to create cosmetics that would help customers reveal their unique styles. It didn’t take long for Barneys and Fred Segal to stock the products, which were completely different from the competition as the illustrated paper packaging was a stand out.

The same could be said for the products: Lip Glaze and Convertible Color were like nothing else in the market and soon became cults among makeup artists and beauty editors. The fame grew when the company was acquired by Estée Lauder Group in 1999 (then in 2006 it was sold to Sun Capital Partners and 3 years later to Patriarch Partners). With expanded distribution in department stores worldwide, new products arrived: One Step Correct primer, the foundations, the eyeshadow palettes, the Crème Bouquet fragrance… Oh, and there is also the limited editions (remember the Barbie collection?) with amazing colours and cute packaging that make them irresistible! Just look for them at Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Marks & Spencer and selected Boots, or online at Lookfantastic.com, Beauty Bay and Stila UK.  ????

My favourites


Lip Glaze – Guava


Convertible Color – Petunia


Correct & Perfect All in One Color Correcting Palette


Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector – Light


Stay All Day Precision Glide Brow Pencil – Auburn



Icon: Grace Kelly

She wasn’t born princess but Hitchcock’s favourite blonde had all it takes to be one. Grace Kelly’s royal beauty is simply timeless!

Dream Spas: Amanyara, Turks & Caicos

You know that image of a Caribbean resort, surrounded by the turquoise sea, serenity and luxury? Well, Amanyara is the answer for all that! Starting with the name (aman = peace in Sanscrit and yara = place in the Arawak native language), the hotel located in Turks & Caicos is worth the title of tropical paradise.

With an impressive main building facing the ocean and a few pavilions integrated in the luscious nature, the suites and villas seem to float over the pools. The spa, of course, is a dream. The Flotation Treatment, for example, is a water-based treatment to release tension and balances the mind whilst the Sun Salutation uses local coconut oil and sea salt to an exfoliation followed by a massage with sandalwood, an aloe vera body wrap and a facial massage with rose crystals. Wow!

You can also experience yoga and Pilates classes in an open door space, scuba diving, kayaking, hiking or just lay down on the beach and pinch yourself to be sure you are not dreaming…

Can’t Live Without: Lip Balm


I hate the feeling of dry lips. Really, really hate it. And our tendency to lick them in a helpless attempt to make the dryness goes away, only makes it worse. That’s why I can’t live without lip balm! I think of them as Gremlins that multiply all over, so there is always one on my office table, a few on my vanity, one on my bedside table, and, of course, 2 or 3 more in my cosmetic bag.

Over the years, I learned that the best ones not only hydrate but also treat the lip area and also have a hint of colour to replace a regular lipstick (especial criteria for those living in my bag). Among my favourites are Fresh Sugar (that I’ve already talked about),  Kiss Me from Philosophy (not available in the UK) and Avon Anew Plumping Lip Conditioner, that I religiously apply every night. Thanks to it I never wake up with dried lips, plus, it contains retinol, so it’s perfect to renew the skin and avoid the signs of ageing (yes, it sucks seeing your lips thinning out over the years). There’s also the classic ChapStick, so cheap and so good…

Here in the UK, I found Dr. PawPaw Original Balm absolutely incredible and I also love Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Tinted Lip Balm with SPF 15. Mine is Dark Chocolate & Cherry and gives that lovely soft red tone.  That being said, I’m forever in search for new balms and can’t resist stocking them up. I guess I’m addicted to that comforting feeling of hydration…


Beauty Dilemmas: The Search for the Perfect Red

I wasn’t born a redhead but I’m really happy when people think I’m a natural one (even here in the UK, land of gingers, I have been asked about it, which is really flattering). Until my late teens, I applied a kind of golden blonde, honey-toned colour but in 2004, started thinking about a more radical change. Back then, there was a boom of red-haired models and Karen Elson was my top icon, along Elise Crombez and Jessica Stam. After a few months studying the idea I scheduled an appointment at the hairdresser, taking a magazine (I guess it was a W) to show the picture with the exact hue I wanted: a copper red, much more subtle than that super intense cherry red.

Well, I still believe that’s important to check with a professional when you want to adopt a new look, however, in my case the result was really disappointing and in less than a week, the colour – far from the one I had in mind – was fading. From that day on, I dedicated myself to an intensive course in “finding the perfect red”, which made me a self-taught colour specialist, expert in hue codes and numbers. Unfortunately, in Brazil the colour I longed for wasn’t available from regular pharmacy brands, so I learned to mix it up.

When I moved to London, thought I would be in a red colour heaven, but it wasn’t quite the case. Overall, the options are either too coppery – going to a golden/honey blond in a few washes, or too cherry red. It’s really difficult to find a hue close to the natural red hair. So far I’ve tried Garnier Olia 7.40, Clairol Nice n’ Easy #6R, L’Oreál Prodigy 7.40, Garnier Nutrisse 7.64, and Naturtint 8C , which has a more natural formula and has been my choice for the past months. Anyway, I still dream about that perfect, long-lasting ginger-reddish colour achievable in one bottle, not after some mixture of golden blond + fire red. Meanwhile, my bathroom is my lab!

Vintage Time: L’Oréal Exuberance

This Vintage Time is also a request for L’Oréal to bring it back! Launched in the mid-90s, Exuberance was a colour foam mousse that lasted more or less 7 washes. It had 12 shades, was super easy to use and a simple way to experiment with hair colouring.

I tried it when I was an exchange student in California and as my hair was practically colour-virgin back then, I loved to try a different look for a few days. Now I would be thrilled to apply it to conceal growing roots and to give an extra boost of colour. Yes, I know there are some good root retouch products in the market right now, but, sadly, they are not the same… So, L’Oréal, why not bring Exuberance back?

By the way, the TV ad had a familiar face with red hair: Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), from Grey’s Anatomy!

How to be a Freelancer in the Creative Industry

Here in the UK, freelancing is on the rise. Since last year there are more 182.000 people working for themselves, with a total of 4.69 million citizens declaring being self-employed.  The trend will only grow as the so-called shared economy expands opportunities worldwide and Wi-Fi connections allow us to be online practically everywhere.

In fashion and other creative industries, freelancing is as new as Dior’s New Look since informality is king and many jobs don’t require a long period of contract. For example, to shoot a campaign, you only need a photographer, stylist, models, hair stylists and makeup artists for a matter of days, and then a designer to art-finalise the project whilst web developers, copywriters and textile designers can work for multiple clients at once, completing tasks instead of hours. With the demand for all things digital, more functions were added, but they are not necessarily attached to a life in the office.

The freedom and flexibility are great and I believe more and more desired, however, as everything else in life there is a good and a bad side. Constantly chasing opportunities, doing your own accountancy and collecting payments are the down part of the freelance life. That’s why being organised and prepared is super important to avoid frustration, under payment or even no payment at all! So here are some hacks to set up, improve and make a real living as a freelancer:

  • Don’t work for free: do I need to explain? Well, just a quick example: would you go to a café and ask for a cappuccino for free because “if I like the taste I’ll tell all my friends to come here”? Of course not! So, repeat after me: I’m not going to work for free, I’m not going to work for free, I’m not going to work for free. Believe me, it took years to understand that there is no point in doing it. However…
  • Collaborate to build your portfolio: ok, you are going to tell me that without a proper portfolio, you can’t showcase your work and don’t have money to pay models, photographers, designers etc. Well, I’m sure the models, photographers, designers etc think the same, so collaborate with each other! Everyone will be happy and gets an improved portfolio! Most important: without falling for false promises or feeling undermined!
  • Network, network, network:  there is no better way to meet potential clients and collaborators. You should have a killing portfolio/presentation but talking face to face about your work and exchanging business cards means you are a few steps ahead to be remembered and contacted for a job. It is totally worth to put a real effort. (read my networking tips here)
  • Money matters: you already know that, of course, but how to manage it? Do you know your hourly rate, how to do the monthly accountancy and calculate taxes? If you are under an Umbrella or has registered as a limited company, someone will take care of this, but it is always good to have it organised. Softwares like FreshBooks and Hiveage help to create invoices, receive payments and manage expenses while apps like Motiv give the price you should charge based on expenses and lifestyle.
  • Don’t forget the contract: last but not least, always sign a contract. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate, 100 page document, just a simple agreement stating what the client requests, what you will deliver and key details, like how many alterations/revisions are included, dates of payments, deadlines etc. If you don’t have a clue on how to write one, check Shake, an app that offers templates for different types of legal docs.

Finally, look for organizations that provide guidance, support and networking. On IPSE, by becoming a member you are entitled to special services like insurance, contract reviews and specialist advice. The Freelancers Club is a community of creatives that allows you to promote work, apply for jobs and collaborate. Both also offer regular webinar and talks, so check it out!

Entrepreneurial Lessons: Marie Drago, Gallinée

I discovered Gallinée when I was doing a research for the post about probiotic skincare and immediately were hooked about the science behind the products and the fact that the brand, launched about 2 months ago, was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. That’s an entrepreneurial story worth sharing! So, this week I met the lovely Marie Drago, the brain behind it, had a great talk about beauty and entrepreneurship, and asked her to answer some quick questions about the journey so far. Here it is!

By the way, I’ve been using Hydrating Face Cream for a few days and loving the results. It’s a powerful moisturizing yet with a light feeling, great to relieve redness and brighter the skin. Check the whole range at www.gallinee.co.uk

Modalogia: What motivated you to launch your own brand?
Marie: It is always something I wanted to do since I can remember. As a kid, I wanted to be a witch to create potions. I was really disappointed when I was told it was not a job anymore!

I love the idea of bringing something new and innovative out. So after having researched the science for my products, talked a lot about it with my friends and family and written a business plan, I decided to take the leap and quit my job. It’s just been one year and (I) haven’t looked back since.

Modalogia: What was the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Marie: I love how every morning I have 10 new challenges waiting for me. As an entrepreneur, you have some many new jobs to learn on the spot: Accountant, Marketer, Recruiter.

The biggest challenge so far has been saying everywhere that bacteria were mostly good in an industry where it is seen as really bad. But I have to say I keep being so happy about consumer and press responses to our concept.

Modalogia: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a brand?
Never be afraid to talk about your concept or idea. The chance of anyone stealing your idea is very low, because the hard thing is not having the idea, it’s doing the hard work to make it happen. And people will mostly try to help you, you never know what connections they can have!

I love all the workshops, Meetups and pitching events in London. I learned a lot in Google campus, and I recommend doing as many pitches as you can. It is a really good way to learn how to present your idea and yourself.