(L-R) Dior Autumn/Winter 2006 couture, Dior Spring/Summer 2004, Dior Autumn/Winter 2008 RTW,
Pat McGrath is without a doubt fashion’s leading makeup artist. She’s worked with so many designers, photographers, editors and models that to list them would be futile–– it’s safe to say she’s worked with everyone. Her work is ubiquitous, both in print and on the runway (she designs the makeup for upwards of twenty shows a season). Her approach to color is incredibly fresh and the breadth of her imagination is unparalleled. On any given job, McGrath and her team tote around with them boxes full of makeup and books to pull references from when creating a look with a designer. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal McGrath described her process––“We go on these incredible journeys. It’s always something different...Whether it's the Byzantine cathedral for Dolce & Gabbana or the modern film noir look we did for Prada, with the wet hair and undone makeup, it's always an incredible journey.”
Her referents are vast and varied, though nothing she has done can compare to the sumptuousness and decadence of her collaborations with John Galliano at Dior as well as his own eponymous line. The pair’s flair for the wildly eccentric and referential has resulted in some of the most iconic runway looks in the past fifteen years. Together Galliano and McGrath found inspiration from a myriad of historical looks and interpreted them through an almost surrealist lens. Very often their work skewed towards the outlandish, but in the best way. Among some of the more notable looks they’ve created together include a Botticelli-esque face swathed in gold for Dior Autumn/Winter 2006 couture, a hyper-mod and heavy lashed eye for Dior Autumn/Winter 2008 ready-to wear, and a phantasmagorical interpretation of Ancient Egypt for Dior Spring/Summer 2004 (all pictured above and we found a fabulpous backstage video of the 2004 show - below).
In light of Galliano’s recent misstep and subsequent departure from both Dior and John Galliano, McGrath’s work with both brands has toned down severely under the new creative direction (as of March 2014, McGrath had been replaced by former Chanel creative director Peter Philips as beauty and image director at Dior). While still beautiful, it is without question that her work sans Galliano is leagues apart from the chimerical creations she created with him during their fifteen yearlong creative partnership.
(L-R) Galliano Autumn/Winter RTW 2003, Galliano Autumn/Winter RTW 2003, Galliano Spring/Summer RTW 2003, Dior Autumn/Winter Couture 2004.
(L-R) Dior Spring/Summer Couture 2006, Dior Spring/Summer Couture 2007, Dior Spring/Summer Couture 2008, Dior Autumn/Winter RTW 2010.