Brides: Meet New Philly Makeup Artist Monica Virga 

Monica Virga in her adorable Rittenhouse boutique.

Monica Virga in her adorable Rittenhouse boutique. {Snapped by Em at Shoppist.}

The other week, my friend and colleague Em stopped by my office—with a glowing sun-kissed look about her that I did not remember from the morning—to tell me she had just met a makeup artist who had done about 1,000 brides last year.

Before I could even email the name she gave me, I got a note from Monica Virga, Rittenhouse’s newest makeup artist by way of Milan, inviting me to come meet her in her studio. So I went—and yes, dear readers, that is how many brides’ makeup she did last year.

Monica only came to Philly—to America!—from Italy late last year after tying the knot with a guy who just so happens to be from Jenkintown, and she opened up her darling little makeup shop at 413 South 20th Street in December. In Milan, she was an in-demand makeup artist for high-fashion labels, making up model after model for runway shows and shoots, and eventually, opened Monica Virga Atelier outside the city in Monza, that she would have a venue for doing special-occasion and bridal makeup.

Monica Virga Cosmetics.

Monica Virga Cosmetics.

She also, during that time, designed and lanched her own makeup line, which she now sells in her Rittenhouse boutique. Check out Shoppist’s post for the breakdown; we are totally in agreement about the fabulousness of her spray bronzer (hence Em’s aforementioned glow; I returned to work with the same one after my visit!), her lip gloss is now always in my purse, and her eye shadows are so pigmented that Monica says you can actually swipe them on your nails and then just top with a clear lacquer, like some sort of super cool textured polish.

And oh, so that crazy number? It came about two ways: 1) In Italy, it doesn’t really happen that a makeup artist arrives to do the entire posse of bridesmaids before the wedding, so she was able to hop around to several brides in one day. 2) Brides so wanted Monica to do their makeup that they would get up at 5am if it meant she could squeeze them in before going on with the rest of her day. “I was happy to get up to do that,” says Monica. “And it was fine, too, because the makeup stayed for their wedding. You can sleep in it and it’ll look the same as when I just did it.”

Now, she travels back to Italy from time to time to do the whole fashion thing, but her passion is doing “real” people’s makeup—brides and any lady who wants her face done up for a special night or event—either in her boutique or at the client’s location. And, bonus: She does hair, too.

Monica  at work.

Monica at work.

Right now and through the end of the year, as she is getting settled in Philly, she’s offering lower-than-what-they-‘ll-eventually-be rates of $50 for special-occasion makeup; $50 per bridesmaid for either hair or makeup or $80 for both; and $200 total for brides ($50 deposit, $50 for the trial, and $100 for day-of) for just makeup; double that for hair and makeup. (Brides, too, receive complimentary false eyelashes, a full lip gloss for touch-ups, and there are no travel fees if your location is within 60 miles of her shop.) And as long as you actually book in 2015, the rates above apply to your events in 2016.

After ten minutes in her chair, I strolled down the street looking like a more polished version of myself, so I can only imagine how a bride might feel after a full work-up on her walk down the aisle.

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