get the quietly striking beauty look from dior's latest couture show

Dior Makeup mastermind Peter Philips breaks down 'the nudest look I've ever done.'

by Kristen Bateman
12 July 2018, 5:45pm

Backstage at Dior’s fall/winter 18 couture show, makeup artist Peter Philips was applying the final touches to models. Since 2014, Philips has been the creative and image director of Dior Makeup — and before that he held a similar position at Chanel. Philips is also responsible for some of the most wildly creative editorial beauty looks on the runways of Dries Van Noten (those crystal-rimmed eyes that have been recreated by celebs and slews of fashion brands) and Calvin Klein, and painted models’ faces for countless magazine covers including i-D.

With legendary hairstylist Guido Palau rushing behind Philips to finish the coiffed ponytails and other models waiting to be perfected by him, the makeup artist makes a bold statement: “I think it’s the nudest look I’ve ever done.”

Facing a surprisingly neatly organized table full of Dior’s brand new Backstage makeup line, inspired by the essential tools Philips uses to create his famous editorial looks, the makeup artist used the new products to create the entire look for Dior’s couture show. “The whole collection is tone on tone,” he says about the brand’s latest runway pieces. “It’s very sheer dresses and very cool colors in shades like dusty rose.”

True to Philips’s description, Dior put on a show of quietly beautiful dresses, coats, and gowns of almost sculptural effect. With hints of navy, taupe, khaki, and a singular red dress, the makeup look was discreet and just about as natural as one could imagine. Philips is correct to say that this may be his most barefaced look ever — last season during couture, for example, he created a dramatic spiked variation of bold cat eye liner that mirrored giant spider lashes. And this season hadn’t been planned to be so simple either. Philips and his team decided to change the look last minute. “We tried a lip color during the first fitting,” he said. “With the lip, it became all about that and you kind of forgot the look. It’s [now] all about skin and skin that blends in with the nude tones of the collection.”

For a makeup artist who may be best known for creativity, this might have been the biggest challenge yet. The concept, in theory, was to create makeup that didn’t overshadow the clothes, but still existed. Looking at the models backstage, it was difficult at times to tell which ones had their makeup finished and which were waiting to be transformed with a next-level layer of no-makeup makeup. “If you look at a girl wearing the dresses, it’s all about that craftsmanship, there’s no distraction of prints,” Philips said. “In a way, by doing a nude face, the girls almost become like mannequin dolls. They become anonymous and it’s almost like a cloud of tulle. That’s the idea behind it, it’s tone and tone. It’s all about naturals.” To further touch on that theme, the usual Musée Rodin show space recreated one of the rooms from Dior’s epic Couturier du Rêve exhibition at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs as the set — with white muslin prototype dresses on mannequins layered against the wall, towering to the ceiling.

“Key products were the Backstage Face and Body Foundation,” Philips detailed. “To make sure the skin looked amazing — with suntans or bikini straps or whatever might happen — we had to do the face, legs, arms, and body. We even bleached the eyebrows on some girls and some we enhanced the eyebrows a little bit to make it stronger. It becomes like a pastel fairytale.” Philips skipped mascara and instead used a trick to make the lashes appear a little thicker. “I used a little liner which Maria Grazia didn’t notice,” he said. “I used a flat brush, and by pushing it into the roots you kind of can create a fuller lash without having to apply mascara.”

He also couldn’t resist adding the slightest bit of color. “Last minute, I applied a little bit of the Backstage Glow Face Palette on the face and softly brushed it on the eyelids,” he revealed. “It was last minute, so it was almost floating on the face. It didn’t set in as a full metallic.” Philips also used a bit of skincare to ensure the makeup lasted under the harsh runway lights. He applied two drops of the Dior Capture Youth Glow Booster serum, mixing it with moisturizer in some cases, to create a bit of an adhesive surface to make foundation stick.

According to the makeup artist with a cult following, the beauty behind each Dior runway show is a creative collaboration between himself and the artistic director of the brand, Maria Grazia Chiuri. She often sends him a brief on what she wants to do, which then turns into either a conversation or image references before a show.

“When it’s a runway show, in general, you don’t really have to think about the personality of the model, because she is there to represent the vision of the designer,” Philips says. “When you do makeup on a woman, you think about her, it’s her personality and her strength and weaknesses you have to hide or put forward. It’s a different relationship.”

peter philips
dior couture
couture fall/winter 18