There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.

Pat McGrath: face artistry at its finest

                                                The AMAZING Pat McGrath

I love a good face. and by ‘good face‘, I mean face paint, makeup, the stuff that transforms a before into an ah’mazing after. seems every little girl or boy who ultimately becomes transfixed by glosses, shadows and rouge (because blush just sounds so run-of-the-mill), made the realization at a very early age.

I remember being around 6 or so, rummaging through my mother’s makeup bag, when my tiny hands met a shiny tube of red lip gloss. suddenly. every. thing. stopped. I was bewildered and amused upon finding my favorite crayon shade had morphed into something glossy, and quickly ran it sans technique across what should’ve been my lips, though a lot of it landed outside of the target. didn’t matter. I felt pretty and like smiling, so I found my mother and did just that. she laughed, which meant I would avoid punishment for snooping through her makeup bag. she insisted my father snap a picture of my tragically applied gloss mishap. I hope that picture never sees the light of day. but that’s where it started, my thing with makeup. I’ve always loved it even though I’ve never really gone overboard with it. it’s still my steady.

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after my childhood dalliance with mom’s red gloss, I quickly developed a slightly disturbing affinity for kissing potions. ‘member them? oh man, those strawberry scented slippery rollerballs of clear glossy goodness had me hooked! for real. I went through tubes like crack. my mother refused to keep supplying my addiction and I wasn’t old enough to get a job so I had no choice but to quit cold turkey. could be genetic because my sister’s been seriously absorbing cherry lip smackers since before I can remember. she doesn’t like to talk about it; but it’s pretty deep. she even ate a tube or two at some point during her Pre-K years. maybe that’s where HER thing with makeup started.

 we all have a story.

I wonder when Pat’s story began. when did she first discover her love affair with powder and paint and all the goods that make a girl what she ain’t. 🙂

for those of you not familiar, Pat McGrath is without question, one of THE MOST AMAZING, INFLUENTIAL and RESPECTED MAKE-UP ARTISTS of ALL TIME. Her work is transformative and her talent is composed of boundless creativity stitched together with detail, flamboyance, drama and exquisite design. It’s pretty hard to believe Ms. McGrath has no formal training in makeup or fashion, having only completed an art foundation course at a Northampton college. She had planned to undertake a fashion degree but abandoned this when she met the stylist Kim Bowen, who invited her along to watch her work on shoots for The Face and i-D magazines.

Her big break came when she received a phone call asking her to go on tour in Japan with Caron Wheeler from Soul II Soul, whose make-up she had done as a favor for a friend. “I left my job and went to Japan for three months, scared to death. I cried all the way there because I’d never been on a plane before and I was terrified,” she told the Observer in 2008. This opportunity led to McGrath working with i-D magazine’s fashion director Edward Enninful and, subsequently, being named beauty director for the title – a position which she holds to this day.

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originally from Northampton, England, she’s currently Global Cosmetics Creative Design Director for Procter and Gamble behind some of the world’s most glamorous and powerful brands – Max Factor, CoverGirl, SK-II and the latest edition to the cosmetic conglomerate – Dolce and Gabbana.

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Giorgio Armani also hired McGrath to design his makeup line, no big surprise considering she’s the preferred makeup artist for celebs and top photographers alike. her editorial work for famed photographers like Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue and American Vogue continually breaks new ground.

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she’s collaborated on all the major fashion advertising campaigns: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, YSL and Lanvin. as if that were not enough to seal her résumé in gold, she also dispenses her sought after knowledge in the expert advice pages of Allure and i-D magazines. McGrath has also created the catwalk makeup for a plethora of world-class designers, including: Miu Miu, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Bottega Veneta, Stella McCartney, Yohji Yamamoto, and Viktor & Rolf.

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raised by her mother, McGrath credits her mum for her love of fashion and makeup. “She was always mixing up colors because there wasn’t anything out there for black skin,” says McGrath in an interview with TIME magazine in 2003. besides her dynamic versatility, I love how she keeps her own look, signature & simple: bare faced and hair always pulled back in a black headband. I find it ironic yet fascinating that a master of her craft barely uses it in her own life. celebrity plastic surgeons should follow suit. (laughing but very serious)

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seldom has makeup been so innovative, and endless in possibility as in the hands of Pat McGrath. over the last decade, Pat has not just reinvented makeup, she has re-imagined the landscape of the entire face. she’s utterly amazing. and yet, watching footage of her work, there’s a down-to-earth feel to her demeanor. she seems approachable and personable in a way that rarely coincides with the world of high-fashion couture. this earnest energy combined with her incomparable talent makes Pat McGrath a true stand-out amongst the fashion and beauty world’s élite.

here’s a sampling of her creative work:

                                Jessica Stam for Cover Girl

                               Neutral makeup for Louis Vuitton

              Scarlett Johansson as a sexy vamp for Dolce & Gabbana

                    Sultry smokey eye for Bottega Veneta

                  Soft Pastels for Vogue Italia

Christy Turlington’s fierce cat-eye for Vogue Italia

                   Naomi Campbell’s fresh face & bold red lips – Russian Vogue

       Wearable neutrals for “Real Lives of Models” feature – American Vogue

Creative designs for the catwalk

Gold glitter backdrop for runway

Runway funway makeup the McGrath way….

Artistic expression using faces as the canvas…

   Prepping Chanel Iman for her walk down the aisle of couture

Saved my favorite look for last… nude gloss, smokey eye, dewy skin with soft blush…love it!

I couldn’t resist including these two vids. the first makes achieving a sexy yet ‘properly done’ smokey eye achievable. the second is a just a glimpse of the master in her element doing what she does best.


Pat McGrath’s Secret to a Smokey Eye:

Pat McGrath Behind the Scenes:

One comment on “Pat McGrath: face artistry at its finest

  1. Pingback: little known historical fact: Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies | SUITE7beautyTALK


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