A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Antonio Costa, one of Armani’s international Face Designer. We were invited at the Sofitel to discover the new products from the makeup line around a chic lunch!
As soon as Antonio started talking, I knew there was something special about him. First of all, he comes from Cuba (and has a very charming accent to prove it) and somehow made his way to becoming a Make Up Artist for Giorgio Armani. That really stuck with me, so I wanted to know a little more…
Can you tell me a little bit about your background, your history?
I grew up in Las Tunas, Cuba. My father worked as a welder and my mother a telephone operator. The son of two amazing parents whose love, care and support instilled in my brother and I that we could be and do anything we wanted. As a young child, I was always intrigued with painting. It was a great avenue to be creative and to occupy my time. Seeing this potential, my parents always encouraged my artistic talents and in 1986, I entered the University of Plastic Arts Cucalambe. While attending University, I experienced strong feelings and desire to explore a spiritual journey. Again, with the full support of my family, I entered the seminary in Santiago de Cuba in 1994 to become a priest. It was an incredible period of my life; however, I realized my passion and my core were artistic and I could not and would not deny it.
In 2010, I entered a reality TV show called Face Off and was one of the finalist; I loved creating a complete transformation using fantasy make up.Through this experience, I knew I was destined to be an exceptional make up artist and was on a fast track to achieve it. During this time, I visited the Armani cosmetic counter at Bloomingdales almost everyday, and, when the position opened for the counter manager, I applied and got the job. Seven months after being hired by Bloomingdales, the position for National Make Up Artist for Armani opened, I was poised and ready to capture this amazing opportunity. In November 2011, I was hired by L’Oreal to be the National Make Up Artist for Giorgio Armani.
How does a Cuban, with the island’s notorious lack of access to such luxury & beauty products, develop a passion for make up? And become a lead artist for Armani?
Any government or institution can be notorious for denying its people access to any products, goods, services and materials; however, the genius of an active and creative mind, the passion and desire for self-expression can never be suppressed. Since we did not have access to luxury and beauty products, we simply improvised with what was at hand. As a young child, I watched my mother and grandmother make and create some amazing things from absolutely nothing. It was incredible. Again, my family taught me the only limits on your successes are those placed on yourself. So, from a very early age, I was interested and developed a passion for make up. In addition, when fashion magazines were available, I would examine them for hours and hours at end.
There is not one single experience which led to my success as a lead artist for Giorgio Armani. It has been a combination of many elements. A strong belief in myself and my talents, passion and desire in what I am doing, and artistry in creating what is visually in my head and transferring it onto the face canvas.
Can you tell me about your first encounter with Giorgio Armani?
My first encounter with Giorgio Armani was looking through fashion magazines in Cuba. I was captivated by his genius use of colour, texture and style of his clothing line. Again, I am a very visual person and I was just drawn to his sense of simple but ever so eloquent designs. It was not until I came to the United States that I was exposed to his luxury and beauty products.
In your opinion, what sets him apart from the rest?
Mr. Armani is an icon in the cosmetic and fashion industries. The creation of The Armani Brand is by no means an accident. In my opinion, what sets him apart from the rest is his critical attention to detail, the use of natural and exceptional materials/ingredients and he is consistent in creating subtle, glamorous and sophisticated products.
What are your 3 favourite products, the ones no woman should live without?
It is an impossible task to choose three favourite products, I love them all. When you use World Class Giorgio Armani Make Up, you can create and transform the face into an extraordinary image.
I can understand that Antonio couldn’t tell us what were his favourite products… but after trying them for the past few weeks, I can definitely tell you which are mine!
I HAVE to start with the Maestro Fusion Makeup Foundation (and I usually am not a fan of foundation)… Not only is it ultra-lightweight and applies easily, but it also leaves the skin moisturized and conditioned. Most importantly, it gives a flawless complexion!
The 2nd product I now can’t live without is the Lip Maestro liquid lipstick! I love it because it’s more radiant than a matte lipstick and definitely more sophisticated than a gloss. Plus, it REALLY lasts all day… even after eating a few meals! My favourite shade is the beautiful #400 red.
If you have the opportunity to do so, pass by the Armani counter at Holt Renfrew, try it, and let me know what you think!