Everything I Need to Know about Makeup, I Learned from Pat McGrath: 7 Models on Their Favorite Tricks from the Backstage Master

Karlie Kloss Pat taught me how to do my brows. I have very sort of arched brows, and she taught me how to appreciate my shape and how to sculpt them into something really strong.
To a seemingly endless list of top-tier fashion houses—Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Louis Vuitton among them—makeup artist Pat McGrath is the creative force behind the directional beauty looks that emerge on their runways each season, from exaggerated plumed brows (Alexander McQueen) to glittering, full-face masks (Givenchy). But to her legions of model fans, who walk in those shows each season, the British powerhouse is also a much-loved confidante—lending support and, naturally, makeup advice to those who settle into her chair. Backstage this week at the New York collections (where McGrath’s hand could be seen at Victoria Beckham, Kanye West x Adidas, and Diane von Furstenberg), we asked eight models to share one game-changing beauty lesson they’ve learned from the master herself. After all, Mother—as she’s often called—knows best.

Caroline Trentini
I’ve learned over the years to work with what's good on my face, and so I extend my eyebrows a little bit. That was Pat. In the beginning, when we were working with Steven [Meisel], she studied my features and said, "You need to ask people to extend your eyebrows because it gives your face a better shape." [I usually] go with a lighter color, like a taupe-ish eye shadow, rather than a darker color; it blends in a little more and looks more natural. The more you try to make the simple things perfect—that's the key. Because in the end, you don't want to look like you spent two hours doing your makeup.

Daria Strokous
I learned from Pat how to apply a colorful lipstick with my finger. Not a stain, but to really, fully put it on. It’s the way she rolls the finger against the lip. I can't do it with a brush or the actual lipstick; only with a finger. That's probably the coolest thing she’s taught me. Because the lip is not super drawn-on. If it's not too bright a color, it almost looks like your lips.

Drake Burnette
One thing that has stood out in my mind is putting on eye makeup. I’m not worried so much about it being perfect anymore because I feel like makeup artists always are saying, ‘Oh, we want it to look like she did it herself.’ It’s more of a kind of real beauty than this impossible attempt at perfection, and I like that. For me, that’s Pat. She comes up with a makeup look, but she wants it to be sort of individualized to each girl, to bring out the best of each girl’s beauty.

Hilary Rhoda
Contouring the cheekbones and the eye sockets. It enhances everything, and then you don't really have to do much else. I just use bronzer or a taupe color. I want to get ready fast, so whatever I brush over my cheeks, I also do it on my eyes. I think [contour] is something that you start from and you can build on it, but that's always the starting point.

Ondria Hardin
To make yourself look really awake, you can use a shiny [Madina Milano] highlighting stick or any pale, pearly product. I learned that from Pat. You dab it in the corners of your eyes and on the Cupid's bow of your mouth. It just brightens everything up. She also taught me to do a smoky eye with my fingers, and ever since I started doing that I haven’t picked up a brush.

Sasha Luss
You always need a shiny stick! She puts it on the cheekbones, on the nose [along the bridge], a bit here above the lip, and inside the eyes, right there in the corner. That one makes your face look really fresh and glowy and shiny and pretty. It really pumps it up.


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