EW’s Style Director Sarah Joan Ross takes a trip to Paris to meet Pat McGrath, Max Factor’s Global Creative Design Director.

Sarah Joan Ross with Pat McGrath

I’ve been interviewing make-up artist Pat McGrath for the past 15 years. Usually we’re squashed into some tiny corner of the backstage catwalk area, where clouds of glitter, powder and paint fill the air, and the never-ending whir of the hairdryer competes with the booming sound system, which is re-playing the same catwalk track over and over. Light bulbs flash as dozens of TV crews and photographers document the scene in which McGrath’s 25-plus assistants are up to their elbows in lipstick and trying to show their handiwork for her approval. Oh, and we’re also surrounded by 45 giggly 15-year-old Russians and Brazilians with legs as long as the Burj Khalifa, who all want to be ‘done’ by Pat.

It can only be described as absolute chaos, but amidst this moment of fashion madness I’m always guaranteed a few moments of calm – courtesy of the make-up maestro Pat McGrath. And do you know why this is? She is really – and I mean really – good at her job. McGrath has been touted as the most influential make-up artist in the world, and I don’t think anyone could dispute this claim. This season she talks us through some of the most important looks she painted for the A/W shows and, more importantly, tips on how to re-create them at home. Get your lipstick at the ready…


At the show

Pat’s sketch

Max Factor Facefinity All Day Flawless 3-in-1 Foundation

Max Factor 24 from False Lash Effect in Black

The Look: A serene, modern chic beauty with smouldering eyes and bold, intense lashes that pop against flawless porcelain-like skin.

The Inspiration: 1960s muse Penelope Tree and Anjelica Huston.

McGrath’s top tip:
“We applied the foundation as you would a moisturiser, liberally working it into the skin with the fingertips, gradually building it up as a primer and foundation base. We then took a small brush to focus the foundation onto areas needing more help, working it as a concealer around the nose and under the eyes.”


At the show

Pat’s sketch

Max Factor Colour Effect Flipstick in Swingy Brown

Max Factor Max Colour Effect Lip Gloss in Rubylicious

The Look: Gothic elegance, illustrated by dark glossy red lips and romantic lavender grey eyes, elevated against a backdrop of snow white skin.

The Inspiration: Dark fairy tales and the notion of girls walking through the forest at night.

McGrath’s top tip: “If you’re feeling artistic, wipe away a little of the lip colour from the centre of the lips and reapply just the deep red shade end of Colour Effect Flipstick in Bloomy Pink to create a two-tone, dimensional lip.”

Sarah’s snaps

Sarah with Dubai beauty blogger Huda Heidi Kattan

Breakfast at Hotel de Sers

Pat’s version of ‘Goth’

Get the Goth look with these

Lunch at Hotel Costes in Paris

Trés chic rouge!

Read more of this story in the latest issue of Emirates Woman, out now!