Written By:

When make-up artist Celine Bernaerts started her beauty journey back in 2014, she had no idea where it would take her. Now, she’s one of the faces at the forefront of cosmetic content creation and is also embarking on the next chapter of her story as the new global make-up expert for D&G Beauty.

“They all call each other family and that’s exactly what it feels like,” she shares on her partnership with the storied Italian fashion house. “That’s a very big part of why I love it so much. Family is super important to me, I speak to my parents on a daily basis.” Call it coincidence or fate, but family is at the root of Bernaerts’s beauty story. “My mum’s a beautician, so she had a salon at home which used to be in my bedroom. I had this complete vanity with a big mirror and it was decked with make-up all the time. All the ingredients for me wanting to do more with make-up was always there,” she says. “I never had a choice!”

Despite this, Bernaerts didn’t pursue beauty until she graduated university – initially experimenting with photography before quickly realising it wasn’t her calling. “I was a bit clueless,” she says. “I love building a picture in my brain, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I had a bit of talent, but I lacked technical skills and got really frustrated and angry with myself.”

Velvetskin Natural Matte Foundation, Devotion Oil in Powder Luminizer, Devotion Mascara, 405 Devotione Liquid Lipstick, Bare Skin Beautifier Universal Powder, Lift and Set Universal Brow Gel, 1 Intenseyes Creamy Eyeshadow Stick and Bronzing Powder Solar Glow all by DOLCE & GABBANA.

Coming to the realisation that the correct path had been right in front of her all along, she finally picked up the make-up brush and hasn’t looked back, regularly creating Instagram content from her at-home studio in the Netherlands since 2018. A self-described “chameleon making her way through life with make-up”, the artist’s social feed is a smorgasbord of seductive smoky blends, pops of neons and glittering graphic liners that look like they beamed in from the future. Ever-changing, bouncing through decades and blending references, her only signature is a striking shaved head and glowing, radiant skin, the base canvas for each transformation.

With her finger firmly on the beauty pulse, the make- up artist is among the new guard of beauty creators with a refreshing attitude towards content appropriation – she believes in sharing, evolving and adapting trending styles and looks through her own unique lens. “I recently taught a class at House of Orange and we had a conversation about recreating somebody else’s art.

You can’t recreate something and claim it as your own, but if you want to learn, you have to recreate at some point,” she says. “All of the masters recreated before finding their own science, so I’m giving you full permission to copy anything you see on my page. Go ahead!”

Bernaerts is testament to beauty’s new-school ideals, straddling the worlds of social media and editorial beauty. “It’s been a huge shift,” she says of the current landscape. “For a lot of people starting out now, it’s a lot easier to find the right information with social media and the internet to really be getting on with a career.” The artist’s collaboration with D&G Beauty highlights the breaking of barriers within the beauty space. “This entire year has been a ‘pinch me’ moment and I never expected to be considered for a position with a brand like Dolce & Gabbana,” she says. “I’m the social media girl and I figured once I went down that route with my career that I would have never been considered for a position like this.”

To announce their partnership, in September Bernaerts fronted the brand’s debut collection, Devotion. A new chapter for the beauty division, the 12-piece collection is an aperitif – featuring a volumising mascara, illuminating powder and a slew of liquid lipsticks housed in ornate gold packaging emblazoned with the house’s sacred heart symbol. A new and cohesive approach between the fashion and beauty wings of the brand, the emblem appears elsewhere stamped on handbags and jewellery – for those dedicated to the full look.

“Dolce & Gabbana has such a rich history as a brand and [provide] so much inspiration to draw from,” the make-up artist shares on the collection. “There’s a clear message and there’s no way around it. There’s a sensuality, but it’s not overdone, it’s subtle. With there being no split between the fashion and beauty sides, there is one message and one story and no division. That’s what’s going to make this successful in the future because it’s all from the same point of view.”

The sacred heart motif appears again in Bernaerts’s beauty story for 10+, reimagined in opulent, sparkling red. “Getting creative freedom is such a gift. My face was the only framework so the story was about the amazing products and giving them a platform to showcase what they can do,” she says. “I feel very much in line with what Dolce & Gabbana is trying to do beauty-wise and our aesthetics align very well. That’s why I think it’s going to work on a long-term basis.” Still under wraps for now, the near future holds more make-up launches, a new line of fragrance and the first venture into skincare in more than a decade.

On the precipice of her new venture, Bernaerts is once again at the forefront of a revolution in beauty. In the wider industry, the rulebook has been long torn up, with individuality reigning supreme. Where does that leave the beauty creators of today and tomorrow? “Changes are more rapid than they used to be. We’ve got technology, the development of beauty products and changing beauty standards, so beauty-wise it’s all over the place. It feels like a pick and mix, pick whatever you want,” she says. Eschewing the endless conveyor belt of beauty-cores – mermaidcore, gothcore, balletcore, you get it – the make-up artist says the future will be less about following the crowd and more about idiosyncrasy. “There’s always going to be natural beauty or the basics of how to do make-up, but there’s no specific look that defines what beauty is now,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be joyous. I find it soul-soothing doing make- up and it’s the same for lots of people who are creative.”

Similarly, when it comes to beauty standards, Bernaerts says the rules of yesteryear don’t hold the same power with the next generations of beauty fanatics. “There are no standards anymore. The epitome of beauty is the absolute diversity of faces, colours, identities, gender norms. Diversity is a standard, which is wonderful, but there’s still work to be done and there always will be.”

Part of this work, she suggests, is simply through beauty’s medium of availability. “It’s a very inclusive medium and I love being in the beauty space because you can reach entire populations through make-up and skincare,” she says. “I’ve even got my boyfriend to do a lick of concealer!”

Buoyantly optimistic after five years of hustling and a decade of honing her skills, Bernaerts feels that she is just getting started in the beauty arena and her role with D&G Beauty. “What I’ve seen Dolce & Gabbana do in 18 months of rebuilding the beauty side is insane, so I’m excited to see what the future will bring,” she teases on what’s in store next. “What we’re seeing right now is what the CEO, Gianluca Toniolo, is calling the appetiser of what’s to come and everything that we’re going to see in the future is going to be amazing.”

Taken from 10+ Issue 6 – VISIONARY, WOMEN, REVOLUTION – out now. Order your copy here.


Talent and Make-up CELINE BERNAERTS
Photographers’ assistant ERIC ANCEL
Digital operator LOUIS CLERC
Make-up throughout by DOLCE & GABBANA
Photograph of Devotion Eau de Parfum by RIKKI WARD