Holywood-based PR events and talent agent as well as director of Belfast FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin, 45, on style icons, going makeup free and why social media has resulted in us being judged to the extreme.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style changes all the time. One week it could be fifties-inspired and I will wear A-line skirts and pointed boots and the next week I may be tapping into the athleisure trend - it all depends on how I am feeling that day… But one thing is for certain, at my age I know what shapes suit me, so I tailor any trend to my body shape as much as my mood.
How often do you tend to go shopping and how much would you tend to spend on clothes (on average) per month?
I am a lot better than I used to be - although I probably still shop too much and buy something at least once a week. Nowadays I have a rule that every time I buy something new I have to donate something to charity or sell it on my eBay.
Where do you tend to buy your clothes?
I work with a lot of retailers through Belfast FASHIONWEEK so I am frequently tempted by the gorgeous clothes that grace the catwalk!
On the high street I am a massive Zara fan (aren’t we all?!) I love their effortless style and they are definitely my ’go-to’ shop when I don’t necessarily have enough time to browse, as I am guaranteed to see something. ASOS is handy too.
I also love Victoria Square because there is so much under one roof. When it comes to customer service and unique designer pieces it is hard to beat.
When it comes to customer service it is hard to beat an independently owned store though. I have worked with so many gorgeous boutiques through Belfast FASHIONWEEK and their experience (and the fact they do a lot of the buying themselves) means they have the knowledge to know exactly what will suit you - and they can also let you in on what is new and what is due to come in so you always stay ahead of the style game!
How long do you spend on average getting ready?
I usually get up around 7am and have a quick look at emails in bed before getting my five year old daughter ready for school. At her age this can take anything from 30 minutes, but I am lucky that I have my routine perfected so it doesn’t take me long to get ready in the morning. I can shower and dress and leave the house within 20 mins and then I will let my moisturiser sit on my skin and only think about make up if I have meetings.
If I have an event I will usually get my hair blow dried at a salon so I can work away on my laptop and then if I have time I would try and get my make up applied, I would often go to Paddy at the Make Up Pro Store or Gemma Garrett – although we have a very talented beauty industry in Belfast so we are spoilt for choice! I could list 10 amazing make up artists I’d call upon anytime.
My go-to place for fabulous fashion for events would be Blush boutique, I am a big fan of designer Kevan Jon as his designs are great for my shape and I also love local designer Ruedi Maguire who creates the most amazing dresses (I am still obsessed with my DANI awards dress which was one of his designs…)
What is your beauty routine in morning and night?
As I get older I am definitely more aware of my skincare routine – but I have plenty of lazy mornings and evenings too. I use a foam cleanser like the Skinician one, and then a rich facial cream over an oil and/or serum. And to rejuvenate my skin overnight, I love the Kiehls midnight recovery concentrate which leaves my skin glowing.
How often do you buy new beauty products and makeup items?
I am very lucky to get sent lots of gorgeous products to review for my blog (The F Words) so I get to try new brands all of the time which I love. I would get at least one package a week and it’s not always easy to find the time to review them all. Some would say that’s not a bad complaint though!
Would you ever leave the house completely makeup-free?
Yes – I do it all the time! I bought my first foundation at age 36!
How would you describe your approach to fashion and beauty?
I have worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years so it is important for me to constantly be aware of the latest trends. I am also the face of FASHIONWEEK to a certain extent, so my style has to reflect that. Luckily for me I have a big passion for fashion and I love experimenting with my look - and I am definitely not afraid to take risks!
My experience has taught me many things and one of them is to stop caring what other people think. Social media has created a world where we are constantly on the stand – being judged by what we say, do and wear. My attitude is – if you like it, wear it and don’t care what people have to say.
What is one beauty item you cannot live without?
My eyelash extensions! I feel bald without them.
Do you have a style icon?
I have so many style icons. I love Iris Apfel and Marlene Dietrich who was the original style icon in the early 20th century. She frequently transformed her style in the spotlight and was one of the first women to be photographed wearing a full tuxedo in the ‘30s.
I also like the classics, - Jackie Kennedy and Jane Birkin as well as Victoria Beckham today - and I have to mention Madonna who created looks that still remain culturally significant today.
If you had to give one piece of fashion or beauty advice you swear by, what would it be?
Drink lots of water and keep moving! Blood flow and hydration are everything. I aim to drink at least 2ltrs a day and it keeps my skin hydrated.