Mugg Insider: Ex-Royal Butler Richard Hatton.
Richard Hatton trained with The Guild of Professional English Butlers before going on to a successful career managing the lives of London’s wealthy elite. Through brunches, salon appointments, first class travel and regular dealings with couturiers (or fashion designers to us common folk); Richard preserved his signature nerves of steel, juggling the multiple demands and complex social appointments of the rich and privileged. He now manages a quiet reception desk in the South East giving him the opportunity to indulge in his favourite past time –reading.
Cynthia Bifolchi meets with Richard as he describes his typical morning waiting on a rather illustrious British Countess ……
“The Countess is sitting in her favourite chair; she likes it because the light falls on her face through Pas-De Calais lace curtains in a most becoming way. It’s airbrushing as it was intended –natural and flawless with suffused light softening the high brow and cheek bones. Cheek bones that are, of course, bestowed by nature from the genetic pool of a long line of men who for centuries married beauty. You couldn’t buy them on Grafton Street.
“Naturally, this couture-clad vision in a high-waisted cream chiffon Dior day dress, has sought special assistance – the assistance of an armoury of custom blended cosmetic products which I helped order especially from Switzerland. For weeks prior to the arrival of this make-up, we spent several hours discussing her summer wardrobe (staggeringly valued at over £400,000) and gathering sample swatches of material to send to a Swiss company, who would in turn produce bio-organic make-up colours in an exact match.
“For the Countess each item of make-up is for a specific garment only and labelled carefully to avoid confusion. This is one of the few things that are rigorously attended to by the Countess herself. Her world after all is about the exterior. Surfaces are sacrosanct, whether it’s her face, her many homes, her cars or her walk-in wardrobes – tended to by two Brazilian ladies, who double up as in-house beauticians. Everything must exude beauty –this is the perennial rule of the super rich.
“The Countess lends herself to this rule easily – she has evolved this discerning skill for finer things to phenomenal levels. Her Brazilian ladies tend to her in her suite for two and a half hours every morning, after which she emerges from a transformative process that is so safely guarded. They will never breathe a word, knowing that they would lose their jobs in an instant, and with family back home in Belém, they know where their bread is well and truly buttered.
“It’s that first glimpse of her after this clandestine morning ritual that it is truly astonishing – prior to which she jokes with me, “Richard I am going under cover”. Her face is fresh, impossibly smooth and dewy. Her auburn hair cascades in soft folds about her shoulders, with a richness of colour and a light reflecting ability that is astonishing. The colours of her barely-there make-up are magically enhanced by the complimenting colours of her dress.
“As I sit, going through our daily schedule, I scrutinise her face. She is 46 but has lost 10 years somewhere. In the world of beauty, of glittering exteriors, dominated mostly by impossible standards, and constant comparisons, make-up has become a necessity. Later as I watch her negotiate her way through the lobby of Sotheby’s, artfully deploying her many charms, skilfully seducing the men that surround her with a velvet voice, and ferreting out information on an item that she has been waiting for in auction, I can only conclude, that, very often, in a male dominated world, the best way to gain the upper hand for a woman, is to remain under cover.”