Bio: Who is Pat McGarth?

For the souls that live and breathe fashion, the name Pat McGrath will undoubtedly resonate in their minds. They probably own the Gold 001 eyeshadow from her make-up range Pat McGrath Labs (its October 2015 launch sold out within minutes), they will definitely be one of her 1.4 million Instagram followers and they will certainly have seen her facial artistry strut up and down the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris.

McGarth completed an art foundation course at Northampton college in the 1980’s and had no formal training in fashion or makeup but credits her mother for her love of fashion and make-up, telling Vogue in 2007, “She trained me, basically, to do the shows, right there...look at the pattern, check the fabrics, look for the make-up and begin”. Whilst admiring and learning from stylist Kim Bowen, McGarth got her break when she travelled to Japan with Caron Wheeler from Soul II Soul (whose make-up she had done three years previously as a favour to a friend) which led to McGarth working with i-D magazine’s at-the-time Fashion Director, Edward Enninful. From here, her career went from strength to strength with her and Enninful catapulting i-D to a position of international importance and influence. She went on to work with some of the best photographers in fashion like Peter Lindbergh and Hemlut Newton. A particularly close relationship was formed with legendary photographer Steven Meisel where they have famously created every Vogue Italia cover and lead editorial story – the photographer will now rarely shoot without her. She is the force behind so many of the bi-annual fashion week shows (80 per year to be specific) and is responsible for the make-up trends and products we read about, buy and wear. Such is McGarth the innovator in make-up with her use of exaggerated eyes and brightened lips, it is said that McGarth would prefer to abandon brushes and use her fingers to create looks for fashion shows, editorial and campaign shoots.

Miss Rayder, Photoraphy Richard Burbridge, Styling Edward Enninful, Hair Julien D'ys, Make-up Pat McGarth. All clothing Commes des Garcons A/W 2004 [The Passionate Issue, No. 224, June 2004]

However, McGarths career does not just stop at makeup application; she creates it too. In 1999 McGarth developed a line of cosmetics for Giorgio Armani who later told Vogue, “I was struck by the way she interpreted colour and by her ideas about beauty and femininity. She never used cosmetics to try to mask a woman”. Not a stranger to taking on multiple projects, her long standing relationship with fashion house Christian Dior saw her create the wild Technicolour looks including latex petals stuck to faces, vinyl lips and bodies drenched in powder paint. In total, McGarth was responsible for 16 years of the Maison’s couture and ready-to-wear shows. During the noughties, McGarth continued to rise; in 2004 she was named global cosmetics creative design director for Procter & Gamble – the name behind make-up brands including Max Factor, Cover Girl, and SK-II. 

(Left-Right) Dior Autumn/Winter 2006 couture, Dior Spring/Summer 2004, Dior Autumn/Winter 2008 RTW

If her fashion week shows and her work for commercial make-up brands wasn’t enough, in 2015 McGarth brought out her own line of cosmetics aptly named Pat McGarth Labs. Once Gold 001 eyeshadow sold out on her website (the launch only consisted of 1,000 units and was a completely self funded venture) she then waited one year until deciding to include outside investors where she then slowly added to her line. Whilst Sephora now stocks her range on their US website, we in the UK have been left unable to recreate her off-the-runway-looks: enter (and all hail) Net-A-Porter who has brought her products to a global audience as of July 26th, 2017.

Pat McGarth Labs - Skin Fetish 003 Kit - Nude, £70 | Net-A-Porter

It is hard to say what the milestone in McGarths career was, from Anna Wintour dubbing her as the most influential make-up artist in the world or the Queen awarding an MBE, to this weeks announcement of McGarth’s appointment as the Beauty editor-at-large for British Vogue. One thing is for certain and that is McGarth is an innovator who always has and will continue to transform, predict and influence the beauty industry and its trends for many years to come. We for one cannot wait to see how she and long time friend and collaborator Edward Enninful will revolutionise and shape British Vogue – cue #TBT to their i-D days...