Patricia Ann „Pat“ McGrath consistently reinvents makeup: She invents terrific techniques to introduce us to her ideas on aesthetics, creates unseen makeup products for her brand “ Pat McGrath Labs“ and looks for fashion shows and photoshoots. It’s not only her creativity – it’s also her drive to bring her vision to life that makes her stand out. No matter how crazy her approach to makeup might feel at first – from feather lashes to glass skin –  there is always a goood portion of pretty, an extra dose and of euphoria and exceptional eye for perferction that amaze many.
Growing up in the UK as the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant, Pat McGrath left art school at just 17 without pursuing formal training as a makeup artist. Since the beginning of her career, she visualises surreal dreams with lipstick and eyeshadow. Her porcelain, glassy faces for Maison Margiela’s Artisanal Collection 2024 became a viral phenomenon and sparked a hype for make-up that is unmatched.
It’s the perfect timing for an interview with the makeup artist who has been breaking beauty norms since the mid-1990s and founded „Pat McGrath Labs“ in 2015.
With her skills, vision and products Pat inspires professionals, aficinados and amateurs globally and draws them into her color and texture palette.

he backstage chaos, hooked arms with me, and relaxedly discussed her looks and philosophy.“ How does Pat McGrath manage to combine perfection and innovation?

I draw inspiration from the past and present, filtering it through a prism of future possibilities.

Porcelain faces at Maison Margiela's Artisanal Collection 2024 / Images via @patmcgrathreal


What does kitsch mean to you?

It is the expression of the extraordinary. Kitsch represents an aesthetic that redefines conventions and adds a touch of drama to everything.

Opulence over minimalism: why do you mostly choose the maximum?

I am actually known for both, reduced „no makeup“ looks and extravagant couture maximalism. Opulence, however, means creative freedom and the full spectrum of expression to me, it allows everything. My goal is to bring minimalism and maximalism together, creating a canvas for both subtly defined and elaborately opulent looks. My work always celebrates the beauty of contrasts and opposites. That’s why I launched the „Sublime Perfection Foundation Range,“ for example; it gives everyone the opportunity to exhaust all kinds of expressions.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I draw inspiration from the past and present, filtering it through a prism of future possibilities. This means pushing boundaries and creating something that has never existed before. Like the glassy skin I developed for the 2024 Maison Margiela Artisanal Collection. The same goes for products – my brand only came into being because I wanted to create something that didn’t exist yet. Pat McGrath Labs is the pinnacle of my artistic work, it is my career wrapped in products. If I want something and can’t find it anywhere, I make it myself.

What’s more important to you: creating something new or something beautiful?

From my backstage looks to my products: I always want to combine both. Innovation doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty. Look at the viral doll-like skin from the Margiela show: I developed a brand new technique and it turned out breathtakingly beautiful. I remember many such examples, like the feather eyelashes at Valentino or the crystal lips I did back in the 1990s.

When does makeup become art in your eyes?

Makeup becomes art when it evolves beyond its original meaning and becomes a medium for expression, storytelling, and transformation. Just as a painter brings a vision to life with their colors, so does makeup.

Do you remember the moment you discovered your passion for makeup?

The revelation came when I realized that makeup can lead to more self-confidence and fuel the imagination. I watched my mother immerse herself in the world of makeup. As she got ready, I would dive into a dream world with her. Makeup changes not only the face but also emotions, feelings, and self-perception.

And what moment has inspired you recently?

Architecture, art, fabrics, films, travel, and technology are always my sources of ideas. Currently, it’s especially nature, specifically lush blossoms. I’m thinking about how to translate their beauty into products for Pat McGrath Labs. I also draw from emotions – here it’s again about contrasts like restraint and excess.

What would you say to someone who doesn’t use makeup?

Don’t underestimate the impact of a few brushstrokes! It helps the soul and your spirit. Even small details make a difference and help you face the world more confidently. I think everyone can benefit from this power. Play, try things out, experiment, and find out what suits your own individual beauty.

Besides makeup, what is always in your kit?

I always carry a notebook and pen to capture sketches and ideas. Everything visual is input for me, whether photos or moving images, they have their own poetry. And music! I need my playlist to get into the creative process, for example with Diana Ross‘ „Boss“ or Shygirls‘ „Tasty“. Also, especially during Fashion Week, I always have three extra power packs for my phone – I’m very practical in that way.

Interview: Laura Dunkelmann

Don’t underestimate the impact of a few brushstrokes! It helps the soul and your spirit.

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