Pat McGrath Wants Us To Really Lean Into Blush For Spring 2022

Liquid liner and bold lip color may be tried and true staples of “going out” makeup, but allow us to offer up an inspired alternative, courtesy of makeup artist Pat McGrath: blush — and lots of it. 

For Anna Sui’s Spring 2022 runway show, the backstage legend dreamed up a blush-on-blush look, sweeping pink pigment (Pat McGrath Labs Divine Blush in Electric Bloom and Lovestruck, to be specific) over models’ cheeks as well as their eyelids, blending it out into a hazy but vibrant halo. To liven things up (and to add her signature luminosity), McGrath dabbed metallic silver eye shadow (the “Sterling” shade from the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IV: Decadence Palette) on the lids, keeping it concentrated at the very centers to exaggerate and highlight the eyes. She also placed a strategic “stamp” of silver at the inner corners, over the tear ducts, for more impact.

[It’s about] transporting us to somewhere, not necessarily specific, but going to a place where we all want to be,” said McGrath in an interview backstage. “It’s really like an adorned face, but it’s still so soft and very pretty.” 

While the ample use of pink, as well as the technique of pulling it up toward the temples, is certainly reminiscent of the “blush draping” trend we saw way back on the Spring 2017 runways, here it feels reimagined in a way that’s fresh, rather than ’80s or retro. Seeing it in person backstage — the way the silver pigment, cheekbone highlight and accompanying glimmery lip gloss caught the lights and dazzled in front of the cameras — this look is positively begging to be worn out for a night on the town. I couldn’t help but think to myself: Pat McGrath just created the Going Out Top of makeup. It’s trendy, it’s fun, it looks good on everyone and it’s one thing you can put on to let the world know you’re ready for a party.

Pink and red eye shadows are notoriously tricky to pull off, but leave it to Mother McGrath to come up with a technique that makes it wearable for any skin tone: “I think if the pink was [on the eyes] alone, it would look a lot more drawn, a little more pale. It’s adding that kiss of color [to the cheeks as well] that gives it that beautiful effect,” she explained, adding, “I really do think wearing the silver and the gilted colors on the eyes makes it more fun.” 

When McGrath debuted her powder blush last spring, it was with this exact holistic approach in mind. “That’s how we launched blush, using it around the eyes and making it a whole statement of blush — blush isn’t just that thing that you add for a glow; it [can also be] an eye statement,” she said. 

GET THE LOOK:

PAT McGRATH LABS
Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush

PATRICK TA
Monochrome Moment – Velvet Blush

Maybelline
Fit Me Blush

LYS Beauty
Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush

MAKEUP BY MARIO
Soft Pop Powder Blush

mented cosmetics
Blush

FASHIONISTA

Sam Visser Is Filtering Fashion Nostalgia and Aughts Excess into a Fresh Slant on Makeup

The actor Hari Nef flashed across the Instagram feed on a weekend night in June, at the close of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. In the photo, her lipstick gleams like a newly minted penny. Eye shadow in a shade of papaya turns up in deft, unexpected touches: tracing the inner rim of the socket and dotting the lower lash beneath the iris. There’s a feeling of archetypal elegance, but in a way that elides rule. Arresting is the word: pulling the brakes on the habitual scroll. You can tap for the credits, but the authorship is already clear to those who’ve seen Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, and Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira undergo similar transformations. This new-guard makeup is the work of Sam Visser.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #63 series on my blog.

The California native, named Dior’s U.S. makeup artist ambassador earlier this year, is a precocious force. In some ways he’s in step with his peers. “I feel tuned in to the fact that social media is a very present thing, that it’s a tool that we can use to our advantage,” says Visser. “I wear JNCO jeans, so I am Gen Z,” he smiles. But even that nod to the wide-leg ’90s-favorite denim brand—enjoying a second life thanks to a boost from 20-somethings—mirrors Visser’s affection for the outsize aesthetics of the past. The word that comes up repeatedly as we speak is glamour. As in: “glamour, glamour, glamour, glamour, glamour,” he stresses. “I come from a generation where the attitude is so whatever, so over it, very careless. But I want to care too much. I love everything considered.”

Born in November 1999, as the world braced for a would-be Y2K meltdown, Visser is an apt intermediary between analog exuberance and the digital age. In grade school, Visser absorbed the lo-fi makeup tutorials of early YouTube. On weekends, he escaped to the MAC counter, designing looks on paper face charts. At 12, during a visit to L.A.’s Make Up For Ever store, he excitedly spotted the makeup artist David Hernandez, who invited Visser to shadow a shoot with David LaChapelle. “That was kind of my first taste of beauty,” Visser says. “Before, it was all just on the screen of the internet and never really in real life.”

But even a kid rooted in the online world found some of his most lasting influences in books: Makeup Your Mind (2002) by François Nars and Kevyn Aucoin’s iconic Making Faces (1997). Dubbed the first celebrity makeup artist for his camaraderie with the supers (immortalized in behind-the-scenes Polaroids and candid videos), Aucoin had a way of quilting together references and techniques, from silent-film brows to drag-influenced sculpting. By the time Visser was 16, he had taken Aucoin’s lessons in hand, with clients like Tish Cyrus; that year, Kris Jenner hired Visser to do her daily makeup (he finished high school by independent study). The Kardashians steeped him in another sort of dialed-up aesthetic—the Gesamtkunstwerk of the always-on reality TV persona. “They are the modern version of what the Hollywood stars were,” Visser says, “because they get ready every single day for hours.”

Time has a way of folding in on itself, with unlikely rhymes across decades. As Visser has shifted his track—to editorial makeup, art projects, and experimental looks that he often shoots himself—the Aucoin allusions have followed. (It helps that Visser’s circle includes a new cast of supers, Cindy Crawford’s daughter included.) What feels fresh with Visser’s crowd is the interplay of artist and muse, with collaborators appearing on both sides of the lens: photographer Nadia Lee Cohen wearing a molten gold lip in a portrait series from lockdown, or Bryce Anderson (above) in shades of metallic seafoam and peach.

Anderson, a 20-year-old photographer and model, met Visser on set a couple of years ago. Now dating, the two share a worldview along with a “crazy archive at our house of special things that we’ve purchased,” says Anderson. He cites a Francesco Scavullo book that inspired an upcoming zine of portraits for Behind the Blinds, with Visser lending makeup in the spirit of ’70s legend Way Bandy. Neither sees their work as nostalgic. Instead they want to create worlds that transcend time and TikTok attention spans and even fashionable notions of gender fluidity. “For Sam, he always says, ‘Makeup is just makeup,’ ” Anderson tells me. “It’s not like, ‘Ooh, you’re making me a woman.’ It’s, ‘You’re just making me beautiful,’ and that’s always been our philosophy.”

The current thirst for circa-2000 style feeds into that pool of references. Visser looks back on the time of his birth as having a reflection of the ’60s—“but instead of going to the moon, we were going into the internet,” he says. “All the makeup ads became very metallic, and everything was shiny and sparkly.” In this look on Anderson, there’s a hint of cyber-pop: a Paris Hilton frosted lip, pastel shadow on Britney Spears. But it’s more a present-tense proposition: out of the internet and into a stylized dream reality. Visser sees his work as “almost punk,” in a way—a rogue departure from the barefaced beauty aesthetic that we’ve lately come to expect. In another 20 years, that’s what he hopes people look back on: “that glamour is an act of rebellion.”

Made to Last

In Visser’s world, vintage photography and beauty books might inspire the makeup for a zine, Y2K-era aesthetics get a softer spin, and smart formulas enable full-face transformations.

VANITY FAIR ARTICLE

Why Raoúl Alejandre Is The Rising-Star Makeup Artist To Know Now

Makeup artist Raoúl Alejandre is a strong believer in holistic beauty—that is, going beyond the fantasy and what you see on the surface to unlock something much deeper. “Like most of us, I want beauty to continue to broaden up,” he tells Vogue. “Not just by including visual representation of those often marginalized, people like myself, people that don’t fit the set of beauty norms we were once fed to believe in, but also incorporating values, important ones, like mindfulness.”  

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #48 series on my blog.

For Alejandre, a California native who is currently based in Los Angeles, the question of when he got his “start” in makeup doesn’t quite apply. “I’ve practiced painting my whole life and makeup was just one of those other mediums I picked up as a kid because I wanted to express myself,” he says. “I would rummage through my mom’s stuff, and when I got to a certain age, I would sort of steal her old makeup and hide it in my sock drawer so that I could play with it on myself.”

Through his journey, the artist has developed a signature look that is fiercely elegant. His carefully painted eyes—a soft mashup of baby blue and moss green, a glossy, plum lid—and a pronounced lip, often nude or red, are undisputedly glamorous but don’t scream it. From actors like Alexa Demie and Ryan Destiny to musicians including Rosalía, SZA, and Lil Nas X, everyone Alejandre touches is left with a look of assured confidence that easily captures attention. 

His inspirations come from legends in their respective fields (Salvador Dalí, Richard Avedon, Federico Fellini, and Siouxsie Sioux), life experiences like moving to New York City for a few years—“It’s where I broke all my rules and really got to know myself,” he says—and interior design.

“I could have a meeting with someone or be at dinner with a friend and I’ll look at the ambiance around us; I’ll look at the colors of the food in front of me, how they touch, the textures of the chair, the window treatments, and the lighting fixtures, because they all play such an important role in the final picture,” he explains.

It’s this attention to detail that has led to creative partnerships with MAC, Dior Beauty, and Revlon, along with a rolling list of celebrity clientele and publications. For Dazed, Alejandre created a series of makeup looks that were applied solely through Photoshop, proving once more that the digital space is the next frontier for beauty. “Growing up, I had one uncle that was super tech-savvy and he just threw me in at such a young age, teaching me how to create digital designs on Photoshop. On top of that, I was really into *The Sims*—I love how surreal they look, the language, the fashion, and all of the weird gestures that they make.” 

As Alejandre continues to push the conventional limits of beauty and design, he’s mindful to release himself from the labels and expectations that can develop as an artist establishes themself in this industry.

“We grew up being conditioned to believe you have to be either this or that, you have to do this or that, but, no, I want to pick everything. I want to express myself and I want to use makeup as a medium to tap into every other medium. I don’t want to be limited in my lifetime. I want to feel free forever, honestly.”

@raoulalejandre on Instagram
Professional Website

VOGUE article

A New Look at Beauty and Makeup – @itslikelymakeup

The artist that pushes the boundaries of what we have gotten to know – @itslikelymakeup – is truly someone to keep an eye on! Welcome to Artist Spotlight #13 series on my blog.

Recently, Jordi became EVEN more famous with her transformations into Kylie Jenner, Pamela Anderson, and other celebrities. On her own she creates such incredible looks that are worth stopping to examine and recreate or just admire. Her freckles are one of the most beloved aspects of her face, undeniably.

I have followed her for many months and she never ceases to inspire! She now has 428K followers on Instagram as her main platform, which is absolutely deserved. From grunge to fresh-faced to editorial, she can do it all, and in a NEW & INNOVATIVE way!

Her level of skill & talent amazes me and I definitely wanted to give her a feature on my blog!

@itslikelymakeup on Instagram

The Mother – Pat McGrath

The queen of American fashion, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, proclaimed her “the most influential makeup artist in the world.” Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made her a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the fashion and beauty industry. It’s undeniable: Pat McGrath is the most influential and sought-after makeup artist in the world.

For more than two decades, Pat McGrath has been concepting, launching and developing luxury cosmetic brands, countless runway shows, breakthrough advertising campaigns and editorial spreads. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #5 series on my blog.

Her ascent to the pinnacle of fashion began in the 1990s with an introduction to legendary lensman Steven Meisel by supermodel Amber Valleta. Fast friends and symbiotic collaborators, they’ve created every cover and lead editorial story for every issue of Vogue Italia, indisputably iconic images for leading global publications and countless brand-defining campaigns.

Each season, Pat McGrath conceptualizes and creates beauty looks for more than 60 ready-to-wear and couture shows in Milan, Paris, London and New York for a luminous roster of the world’s most prestigious brands and visionary designers: Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Gucci, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Maison Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Nina Ricci, Calvin Klein, Loewe, and Alexander McQueen, to name a select few.

With her incomparable mastery and iconoclastic vision, Pat McGrath has transformed the beauty industry. Name any trend of the past two decades, and you’ll find her at its origin, from 1990s dewy skin to no-retouching-necessary foundation specifically designed for this decade’s selfies.

When Giorgio Armani hired her to develop and launch a line of cosmetics in 1999, the minimalist maestro said, “I was struck by the way she interpreted colour and by her ideas about beauty and femininity.”

Engaged as Global Beauty Creative Design Director by Procter & Gamble in 2004, Pat McGrath oversees Covergirl, Max Factor and created Dolce & Gabbana: The Makeup. Recently, she also designed and launched Gucci’s debut cosmetic collection. “She is a terrific business partner. Our success is her success, and vice versa,” says Esi Eggleston Bracey, Vice President and General Manager of Procter & Gamble Cosmetics.

A true creator and innovator at the forefront of the multi-billion dollar global beauty industry with an ever-expanding reach on social media, her recent blockbuster success with PAT McGRATH LABS further proves that she’s poised to elevate beauty to even headier altitudes.

Currently, there are 37 products on Sephora.com listed for PAT McGRATH LABS brand, even more can be found on their official website. Surely, the prices are extremely high, unreachable for some. But from the color stories, to packaging, to longevity, to formulas … there’s very few people in the world who ever declutter this brand’s products out of their collection due to dissatisfaction.

With a creative vision that’s made her a tour de force that touches everything from couture to club kids and street culture; her influence is everywhere, from screen to stage to digital: it’s undeniable, Pat McGrath knows no boundaries.

References:
Sephora.com
Pat McGrath Labs website
Allure article
Vogue article