You'd be hard-pressed to find a makeup trend that Dame Pat McGrath wasn't behind. Ahead, Kiekie Stanners explores the Mother of Makeup's most influential runway beauty looks.
By Kiekie Stanners
Beauty Queen, Dame Pat McGrath needs no introduction. Dubbed the ‘most influential makeup artist in the world’ by Vogue, the Mother of Makeup has single-handedly led the face of runway makeup for over two decades.
There isn’t a makeup artist out there who hasn’t been inspired by Pat’s ability to create runway beauty looks that are talked about just as much as the fashion itself, rightfully earning herself a damehood for her services to the industry - what a Queen!
As a major Pat fangirl, I’ve poured over online interviews to try to get a glimpse into her very elusive world and get any kind of backstage intel from her extremely curated #BTS coverage. Not only is she the master of makeup artistry, but she is impeccable at beauty story-telling and the art of keeping some things in fashion a mystery to elevate the romance.
Her unique nuance? An ability to design makeup as art, and create iconic makeup moments that draw attention from all viewers, not just beauty lovers.
In one of my first seasons doing the international show circuit, a model with her hood up sat in my makeup chair in Milan and told me it was her come-back season. I slowly started to recognise her as an early 2000s supermodel. She then told me that Pat was her personal makeup artist, and asked if I had ever worked on Pat’s team as she only trusted PAT with her face. I hadn't assisted Pat, I wasn’t able to, being from New Zealand. How do I navigate this situation?
She was sensitive to all the products in my makeup kit so we used her tiny makeup bag to create the show look. Every time my brush touched her face, she would examine it in the mirror to make sure she was happy. It took an hour, which was humiliating backstage, and ended up with makeup that wasn’t exactly the demo look either.
She thanked me for my patience and that I passed the ‘Pat’ makeup test. I was to be her makeup artist at every show that season. I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered that I was responsible for the ‘comeback’ girl of that season, or irritated that I had to go through all of that at every single show!
Pat fell into makeup from being obsessed with street/club/underground culture in London and is one of the icons from an era of fashion where the creative visionaries came from the streets.
She has created looks for over 3000 shows, working on up to 80 shows per season, racing over New York, London, Milan and Paris on the back of a motorbike while her team transport her 60-something makeup cases. It needs to be mentioned that Pat is no doubt at her most exquisite when collaborating with John Galliano, her long-time collaborator of 20 years, across his own line, Christian Dior and Maison Margiela.
It has been magic to see all the kudos Galliano and Pat are receiving for the latest showing of the Maison Margiela Artisanal 2024 collection, a collaboration that saw both the show visuals and makeup artistry go viral. A well-deserved celebration of two of the greats who have stood the test of time, and continue to smash glass ceilings.