This past October 1st, I had been invited to a special shopping event held at Holt Renfrew (Montréal), where I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down to chat with Tim Quinn, VP Creative Artistry for Giorgio Armani Beauty. His presence in town coincided with the launch of several new Armani Beauty products, namely the Black Ecstasy Mascara (reviewed here), new limited edition shades of both Lip Maestro glosses (reviewed here) & Rouge Ecstasy lipsticks (review coming), as well as the Eye & Brow Maestro range (review coming).
The theme of the evening was ‘Italian Immersion’ and with DJ Abeille (sister of Montréal celebrity Mitsou Gélinas) rocking out killer beats to set the vibe, as well as local food merchants providing the most drool-worthy Italian fare you’ve ever tasted (and yes, I sampled basically everything), the highlight of the night for me was in getting the opportunity to have an in-depth one-on-one with Tim Quinn, a man who is as gracious (and funny!), as he is stylish – making me feel instantly at ease (it’s always a bit intimidating meeting someone of his stature) with his relaxed manner and welcoming presence. Not only is Tim an amazing ambassador for the Giorgio Armani Beauty brand, but one of the warmest and most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Once my interview was done, I was given a quick touch-up at one of the Armani Beauty makeup stations set up in the private lounge area, where I also got to play model for fellow media (basically, I just sat there while the artist pretend-worked on me), followed by mingling, a little shopping, and just generally having a great time.
Please enjoy the interview, further down the post!
DJ Abeille’s station set-up
I can’t resist a logo-board photo op
The private Giorgio Armani Beauty lounge
Signature drink: Prosecco, Crème de Cassis & raspberries
After welcoming Tim to Montréal, we got down to chatting
Who is the Giorgio Armani Beauty woman?
Just as the brand has evolved, so has the Armani woman – and with the growing popularity of our complexion products, Giorgio Armani Beauty now attracts a diverse range and age group of clients – but in a nutshell, the Armani woman is a confident person, and not someone trend-driven. She comes to us because there is a timelessness and sensibility to our collections, although each woman is still free to put her own unique twist to her look with our products.
What would you say is an essential beauty item that all women should own?
Having the proper foundation is key; in fashion, if you have the right underpinnings, then whatever you wear on top looks that much better and that same concept applies to your makeup as well. From our Luminous Silk Foundation (that I’m still obsessed with), we then went on to create this idea of ‘wardrobing'; just as you change up your look with the seasons or as your skin needs change, so should your foundation adapt to that as well.
Where do you see the direction of Giorgio Armani Beauty headed?
I’m fortunate to be able to travel with the fashion house quite a bit, and with regards to the beauty end of things, it’s more about understanding the global effects involved, which is far more encompassing than previously imagined – especially when it comes to our complexion category and catering to the unique needs of each and every client. The Armani ideal of beauty believes in avoiding looking overly made-up, placing emphasis instead on the luminosity of the complexion. With Mr. Armani’s keen interest in textures, we strive to find new ways to incorporate textures into our makeup as well, but always with a focus on keeping products lightweight and seamlessly applying.
Mr. Armani is very involved and in fact, quite hands-on with the brand (it’s not unheard of for him to come backstage and put finishing touches on the models) and has a clear vision of what he wishes to achieve – as well as introduce – with the product range, even to the point of literally creating new products/colours backstage right before a show with Linda Cantello (International Makeup Artist and head of beauty for the brand). For the first time ever, these same products that have been cooked up in the backstage beauty lab, will soon be available to consumers, to coincide with their respective fashion launch. This first upcoming collection is beyond amazing; apart from the fact that you will see colours that were custom created backstage (and therefore never before seen in the Giorgio Armani Beauty range), the face palette will bear an actual piece of fabric from the collection on the surface packaging, turning each palette into a uniquely personal item.
Can you walk me through the creative process behind beauty collections?
Mr. Armani starts off with an idea that he may have, usually somehow tied in with the fashion line, and then he and Linda Cantello begin working out the details for the looks, followed by testing on actual models (which is basically the reason behind why the entire concept of the beauty lab came about: as a support system to this creative process), and then those runway looks get further refined for the consumer market, but always staying in touch with their original inspiration.
Any words of beauty wisdom you can pass along?
To begin with, I think women should stop apologizing; each person is unique and has their own vision of beauty and you shouldn’t let anyone ever make you feel like you’re not perfect enough, young enough, or flawless enough. I’m certainly not going to tell you what colours you absolutely have to wear, as I feel my role is there more to guide & advise, helping you achieve the look that makes YOU feel good.
What beauty differences, if any, have you noted between North American and European women?
Every time I’m in Europe and then return back to North America, I’m finding that there’s less of a distinction than there used to be, with any differences primarily regional; take for example Toronto & Montréal – as these two cities are so different in tone, women not only dress differently in each, but wear their makeup differently too. If anything, I would have to say that European women appear to have a bit more confidence and are perhaps not as consumed with trying to fit into any one particular look or trendy, and actually embrace their own natural and unique beauty. There’s a lesson there that we can all benefit from, right?
A Selection of Crema Nera skincare products
With a “ministrello” (travelling entertainer)
A montage of just some of the treats that were available – even dessert & coffee!
The Giorgio Armani Beauty counter at Holt’s
Michael & Chanel (not pictured: Mary) at the Holt’s Armani counter, are amazing – makes every shopping experience such fun!
A huge thank you goes out to Holt Renfrew (Montréal) for hosting such a wonderful & fun-filled event, and to Giorgio Armani Beauty for sending Tim Quinn to Montréal – I’m definitely looking forward to the next time I get to chat (and learn) from such an amazing man!