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Make-up’s Most Wanted


Pat McGrath, the global creative design director of Procter & Gamble, is the most in-demand make-up artist in the world. Selina Julien follows her incredible journey from her humble beginnings in Northampton to the fast-paced fashion world of New York


at McGrath is the fashion world’s best-kept secret. She’s the make-up guru everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Naomi Campbell call in their hour of need, while the most sought-aſter designers wouldn’t dream of doing a


catwalk show without her. It’s no wonder that the Northampton-born creative, 46, has become


a celebrity in her own right. Famed for her flamboyant, unique and innovative looks, including gold faces, exotic geisha, gargantuan lashes to feathers, petals and rubber eye make-up, Pat continues to cast a spell on the catwalk for both haute couture and ready-to-wear. Pat’s creative input is every designer’s must-have at Fashion Week


every season in London, Paris, New York and Milan and the beacon of calm thrives on the adrenalin of creating iconic looks in the backstage chaos. “Every designer takes you on a different journey,” she has said. “It’s great when they let you into their fantasy.” Along with directing make-up for high-octane shows, Pat’s


extensive portfolio of advertising campaigns includes Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent Paris and Balenciaga, while her celebrity clients include Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson along with supermodels Naomi Campbell to Gisele Bundchen. When Pat did Oprah’s make up for the cover of American Vogue, the TV star is said to have cried “wet, happy tears” on seeing the results. Pat’s come a long way from a beauty-obsessed teenager who would


make her own face cream, to being named the most influential make up artist in the world according to style bible Vogue. She attributes her eye for creativity to her mother Jean, a Jamaican


who loved clothes and would spend hours browsing vintage stores and quizzing her daughter on the different shades of eye shadow. “She trained me, basically, to do the shows, right there… look at the pattern, check the fabrics, look for the make-up – and begin,” Pat told Vogue. “She was always mixing up colours because there wasn’t anything out there for black skin.” Despite having no formal training, Pat abandoned her plans for


completing a fashion degree aſter her Art Foundation course and began working in the music industry. A chance meeting with i-D’s fashion director Edward Enninful put her on the fashion map in the early 90s and she became the magazine’s beauty director – a position she still holds to this day. Te rest is history. Now juggling her catwalk duties, creating captivating editorials


POWERLIST 2013 | WWW.POWERFUL-MEDIA.COM


and multi-million pound advertising shoots, Pat is also the global creative design director of Procter & Gamble focusing on their signature brands including Max Factor, CoverGirl, SK-II and Dolce & Gabbana brands . It is a job she describes as “a dream come true”. She reveals the role, which she has held for eight years, has given her a greater understanding of what women want from their make- up. “Working in fashion, I mostly do make-up on models, who are very young and fresh. Te make-up blends beautifully and wears well. For the rest of women, they don’t always have young-model skin and features. Te make-up they wear has to last all day without creasing or fading. Tey want colours that reflect current trends and look beautiful.” Pat had her first foray in developing a make-up range when she was hired to create an ultra-wearable line for Giorgio Armani in 1999. Establishing herself as the go-to woman for product development, she debuted Dolce & Gabbana: Te Make Up in 2004. Such is Pat’s incredible reputation, a vibrant fuchsia-tinged red lipstick called Dahlia, had a waiting list before the collection even hit the shops. “She is a legend,” Stefano Gabbana said. “She understands immediately what we want.” Ironically, despite her love of vibrant colours, Pat herself opts for


bare-faced chic and is typically photographed wearing her signature all-black uniform. During an illustrious career that spans over 20 years, Pat has


become a fashion game-changer and was honoured to work on Italian Vogue’s groundbreaking all-black edition in 2008 – which featured only black models. It was a move that sent shockwaves through the industry and became the highest-selling issue of Italian Vogue ever, and the first time in Condé Naste history that a magazine has been reprinted to satisfy demand. Now one of the biggest power players in the fashion and beauty


industry, Pat – oſten heralded as a genius and creative muse – doesn’t rest on her laurels. She continues to push the boundaries and finds inspiration in the rich cultures of her jet-set lifestyle, from film noir to African tribal tradition to impressionistic art. “Everything goes into fashion. It isn’t just make-up... It’s film, TV, history of art, books, clubs. Te culture.” Pat’s incredible journey from such humble beginnings is proof that if you have vision and raw talent, nothing can hold you back, not even the lack of formal training. She confesses: “I broke every rule because I didn’t know what the rules were. And that’s how you learn and come up with new things. Even today, I’m still learning.”


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