An Italian master of make up artistry and hairstyling, Silvia Gerzeli reveals what inspired her to become one of the most sought-after wedding stylists in Italy. 

If your child is doodling and rubbing pencil lead with their fingers to create shades, then that child may be on the way to a great career in styling brides on the most important day of their life: at their destination wedding in Italy!

What sparked your passion for hair styling and make up artistry?

I was a doodler. I would go crazy drawing and shading with pencils, using my fingers so that I could touch the colors.  Then during school, art history turned out to be my favorite subject and especially the history of the movie industry.  I was fascinated with how make up and hairstyling could transform a person and make them part of the star system wonderland.

My dissertation was entitled ‘Star System and History of Make up in the Cinema Industry during the 20th century’ and this is how I really learned the ins and outs of Hollywood, actresses and master makeup artists such as Max Factor, the Westmore Family, and Elizabeth Arden.

What do you love most about your job?

I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to study all around Italy – Rome, Milan, Bologna – and abroad in London, Los Angeles, New York, and Austria.  I opened up to a variety of styles:  bridal, fashion, creative, body painting, special effects, airbrushing, hairstyling, photographic … I found my way: I love women! I want them to feel comfortable with themselves and to feel special.  I want them to look in the mirror and think, “This is a me I’ve never seen before, and I love it!”

What sets you apart from other stylists?

So often women focus on what they don’t like instead of what is amazing.  I just help them to find their ‘amazing‘ and pop it up!  I feel my knowledge of art, make up history and great respect for the ‘female universe’ has prepped me to handle a wide range of client demands:  whether they want to be contemporary, Hollywood glam from the 30’s, a fashion model, or just a shiny bride-to-be, everyone is unique and I listen to their desires and let my hands create their dream look.

What technique do you OWN?

I love to use brushes, sponges, and sometimes just my fingers.  I love touching colors. I’m not crazy about airbrushes because they don’t let me feel the skin I’m working on, the bones beneath … but I use them for artistic make up when needed.

It’s funny how the pictures couples send me of their wedding in Italy show how natural the bride looks.  It almost surprises me!  While I’m working on a bride they always ask me what colors I’m using and I show them, ‘this base, and these 4 shadows’  but I realize that every single woman is unique. Each face is an individual canvas and I will never create the same face twice.  The style and colors may be the same but it’s not a xerox copy, it’s an art!

What advice can you give brides to prep for their wedding day?

This is funny, because one of my pet peeves is ‘how to cry’ – it’s crazy to expect a bride not to shed tears!  Brides need to be free to cry as well as to laugh, it’s their big day and there are so many emotions going on … what I do is I use waterproof products and show the bride what to do if something happens.  After all it’s make up, not a tattoo!

Do you prefer using your own products or the client’s?

I use the best professional products, brands like Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown, Nars, Christian Dior, Lancome, MAC, Yves Saint Laurent, Mark Jacobs, Urban Decay, Laura Mercier..but, of course, I am open to using whatever the customer feels comfortable with.

How many weddings do you do in a day?

I prefer one per day, depending on how long I am contracted for and logistics. I am a free lance and I work onsite at the venue, so I have to consider travel time.

See more of Silvia’s artistry on the Locals page here.

Silvia Gerzeli is recently featured on Style Me Pretty.