Nothing quite sums up the fantasy of couture fashion like the recent Maison Margiela Couture Spring/Summer 2024 runway show. The collection was met with critical acclaim, but so too was the surreal porcelain doll-esque make-up on the runway – a reminder of the creative genius that is a collaboration between John Galliano and Pat McGrath. (The relationship between Galliano and McGrath is a longstanding one; she was also responsible for the fantastical looks seen at Dior Couture during the Galliano era, from 1997 to 2011.)
As per her show report breaking down the Maison Margiela look, McGrath explained that "skin is coated in a hyper-shiny glaze, mimicking the smooth, reflective quality of glass and completing the models’ unbelievable metamorphosis".
Immediately, social media was awash with takes on the the complexions, from those simply offering high praise of the hyper-shiny glass skin to suggestions of how to recreate it – with theories including Kryolan's Liquid Glass (see beauty pro Kirbie Johnson's deep dives here) and Freeman's Renewing Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask (via make-up artist and vintage beauty collector Erin Parsons) being behind the magic. In the absence of the 'mother' of make-up immediately revealing the exact details behind the look, commenters even accused McGrath of "gatekeeping" her secrets – as if it's not her right to reveal what she wants, when she wants to.
Regardless, the legendary make-up artist generously revealed her backstage secrets in a live Instagram masterclass on Friday evening, where she and her team recreated the runway look.
“Water and a lot of other products went into this for the perfect consistency,” she said on the video. “I’m not gatekeeping,” she added before revealing the cocktail of products used – which mostly consisted of peel-off masks, diluted with distilled water and applied via an airbrush in several layers which were blow-dried to set each time. It went like this: the skin was first prepped with her own Pat McGrath Labs Divine Skin: Rose 001TM The Essence before she used the Proot Calendula Peel Off Mask, Freeman Renewing Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask, Daggett & Ramsdell Tea Tree Peel Off Mask, and Que Bella Pineapple Hydrating Pineapple Peel Off Mask, followed by the Skin Illustrator Clear Gloss – which was created for make-up artist Ve Neill to use on actor Jude Law in the film AI "to create a plastic sheen mannequin effect". Phew!
Naturally, bets were placed as to whether McGrath has a product launch up her sleeve; one that will allow us to recreate the ultimate glass skin finish with ease... and it was confirmed on the live that there is.
In the meantime, her pro tip to create a wearable natural glass-like finish is to prep the skin with her aforementioned rose essence "then perfect using the Sublime Perfection Foundation". On the cheeks, "apply and blend the Divine Blush: Legendary Glow Colour Balm for a flushed doll-like look," she suggests.
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