Pat McGrath and John Galliano are bringing runway beauty back

Pat McGrath and John Galliano are bringing runway beauty back

by Robyn Pullen
3 min

Maison Margiela’s Spring 2024 Couture show is everything fashion is meant to be… but it’s not just down to the designer. Pat McGrath was there too. Crafting makeup looks reminiscent of porcelain dolls, with shimmering glass skin, sharp brows, and bold eyeshadow painting their eyelids, models at Maison Margiela’s Couture SS24 show in Paris last night were a resurrection of a look long forgotten. A look we last saw on the runway’s of John Galliano’s Dior, where Pat McGrath was also behind the scenes, and she’s been waiting to bring it back.

Makeup artist Pat McGrath did an interview in 2013 titled “Make-Up Just Isn’t The Same Without Galliano” and honestly, she was right; John Galliano’s return to couture via Maison Margiela proves as much. But let’s not pretend that Galliano’s couture collection for Maison Margiela in Paris last night would have been nearly as breathtaking without Pat herself behind the scenes.

Back in the early 2000s, John Galliano and Pat McGrath were an unstoppable duo at the helm of luxury fashion. With Galliano claiming the title of Creative Director at LVMH’s Christian Dior in 1996, and bringing on-board Pat McGrath to curate the beauty at almost every Couture show he presented, their collaborative effort dominated, and it’s not hard to see why.

From the iconic looks at Christian Dior Couture AW07 and SS04, which relied as much on makeup for storytelling as it did for embellishments, to their collaboration on Christian Dior’s Couture at AW11, which enlisted Pat McGrath to create diamond-encrusted smokey-eye looks, the duo work seamlessly together.

Perhaps it’s because of their united dedication to their crafts, given how Pat McGrath proved early in her career the lengths she’d go to achieve the perfect look. For SS04 at Christian Dior, she spent 10 hours creating one piece of chainmail to go under models eyes, saying “and then I was like, ‘How am I going to do 10 of those in three hours?’ I didn’t do the math and the panic set in.”

So is it any wonder that, in 2013, Pat McGrath said that catwalk beauty has never been the same since the days of John Galliano at Dior. Explaining Galliano’s perspective on runway beauty, McGrath recalled “I remember bringing a girl down once, and she had on probably 10 pairs of lashes and three pounds of eye shadow and the hugest, glossiest lips. We brought her into the studio for a make-up test, and John said: ‘We’re not doing a beach story. This is not about a natural look.’ He wanted more.”

Now that John Galliano has revived couture at the helm of Maison Margiela, and invited Pat McGrath back behind the scenes to support him, perhaps we’ll see a return to the elaborate, dramatic runway beauty of the early 2000s. We already know it’s something Pat McGrath has been waiting to bring back…

Featured image via: @patmcgrathreal on IG

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