Pat McGrath’s Runway Beauty Report: Fall 2011

It’s no surprise that Vogue named Pat McGrath the most influential makeup artist in the world. The go-to for nearly every major runway show, McGrath’s jam-packed Fall 2011 schedule included leading the beauty teams at Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Prada, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Loewe, Versace, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Nina Ricci, and many more. In short, odds are that any runway makeup trends that make it into “real" women's lives were initially conceived by the British makeup artist. Even more impressive than the wide range of looks McGrath is able to create is that as CoverGirl’s global creative design director, she uses just as many drugstore products when working on runway shoots, as she does luxury brands. McGrath hosted an online editor and blogger event recently where she discussed the major runway takeaways for the Fall 2011 season.

Balenciaga; Louis Vuitton

Starting with the brows, McGrath told us that they were strong and statement-making (no more invisible bleach – thankfully). To create thick brows, both powder and brow pencils were used in two shades to shape and feather in hairs. When working on girls with bleached brows (a trend for way too long), McGrath and her team also used mascara on the brows. Among the shows where statement brows were most evident were at Balenciaga where they were strong and, on occasion, blue, Givenchy where they were more natural and groomed, at Prada where brows matched the models’ hair color (some models had to have their brows re-colored for this), and at Dolce & Gabbana where strong masculine brows were set against more feminine, arched ones.

Prada; Gucci

McGrath then moved on to discussing eye lines, which she noted this season were very graphic. The look at Louis Vuitton was singled out for its thin, super-sharp use of pencil around the eye, and Lanvin was highlighted for its squared off eye meant to look like the models had done their own makeup. Mascara fans will delight to know that unlike past seasons where mascara was typically only applied to top lashes, this season was heavy on top and bottom mascara, great for framing the eyes, at shows like Miu Miu and Gucci. When lots of mascara was used, shadow was toned down. 

For cheeks, this season it was all about the flushed look. At Prada, rosy cheeks tied into the innocence of the collection whereas the all-over blush look at Versace helped give the models a sexy edge.

The star of the season, however, had to be lips. They were all or nothing with an eye-catching rich, glossy burgundy at Gucci and a matte chocolate at Loewe, while a light, bright coral-carnation pink complemented Nina Ricci’s looks and nudes dominated at D&G and Valentino. To get the nude look, McGrath's team often resorted to heavily balming and scrubbing the models lips. Speaking of nude, neutral eyes were big for Fall 2011 according to McGrath who worked with light, almost neutral browns to create the eye looks for a number of shows including Valentino and Givenchy.

Loewe; Valentino

Blame it on HD, however, the most important thing McGrath told us about getting the models runway-ready this season was hiding imperfections – something all women can relate to.

Photos: Vincenzo Grillo, IMAXtree.