John Galliano’s Maison Margiela’s spring/summer 2024 couture show in Paris stunned the world last week—and it was in no small part due to the magic created by legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath. The internet went into a frenzy after models walked the runway under a full moon by the Seine resembling perfect porcelain dolls with impossibly glowy skin, stunning eyeshadow, penciled-in brows, and bold lips. McGrath apparently wanted to make sure each model’s glazed skin indeed looked as if kissed by the moonlight.
Shortly after the show, while fashion fans praised Galliano’s brilliant collection, beauty fanatics and experts quickly began to dissect McGrath’s brilliant makeup artistry and the products that she used to achieve the porcelain doll looks. There were instantly tons of theories shared across TikTok and Reddit, but per a press release issued by Pat McGrath Labs here’s how the British makeup artist used her line of products to create barely-there brows, watercolour-like blush looks, and cool-toned eyes and lips.
First McGrath applied Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence, her glow-inducing essence, and followed it up with her classic Skin Fetish foundation and concealer combo as well as the Divine Blush: Legendary Glow Colour Balm. The rest of the look featured Pat McGrath Labs’ PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil and MatteTrance Lipstick—plus eyeshadows from the Mothership I: Subliminal, Mothership VI: Midnight Sun, Blitz Astral Quad, and MTHRSHP Mega: Celestial Nirvana eyeshadow palettes applied on the eyes, brows, and even lips.
McGrath documented all of the various looks from the Maison Margiela show in hypnotizing videos posted to her own Instagram page.
But as to exactly how the glazed or porcelain effect was achieved of the models skin… that’s been a little more of a mystery. McGrath hasn’t been as forthcoming with the products that she and her team used to create the the most viral aspect of the beauty look.
Redditors were quick to investigate. As of Saturday, January 26, the crowd-sourced verdict was that McGrath used Kryolan Liquid Glass, a vinyl polymer that forms a clear, reflective film on the skin. The product is fully sold out on Kryolan’s website, with a restock scheduled in three weeks. However, McGrath replied to a TikTok by Nico Haagenson about the Kryolan theory, saying “Amazing!! But we will show the real product soon! Stay tuned.”
Makeup artist Erin Parsons has a different theory which she posted on TikTok. Parsons thinks that the product used to create the model’s glass skin was Freeman’s Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Mask. Per Parsons, the face mask would need to be diluted to function with the airbrush machine. Parsons goes on to DIY the mask-and-water combo, spraying on five layers of the watered-down mask and using a hair dryer to set and seal it between coats.
As for the actual product that McGrath and the makeup artists used to turn the Maison Margiela models into porcelain dolls… stay tuned. It sounds like McGrath might just reveal her technique in the coming days. When Instagram user @missglamslap commented, “Mother!! We need a video on how this skin was created! ❤️❤️🔥,” the legendary artist replied with three suggestive 👀 emojis.
BUT WAIT! Here’s the update we’ve all been waiting for
McGrath has finally broken her silence after countless make-up artists and beauty aficionados have posted TikTok and Instagram videos attempting to guess how exactly she and her team created that porcelain-like finish on the models’ skin – and the products she used to do it. “The super sleuthing of everyone online has been so joyful to see,” she says. “We truly pushed ourselves artistically and technically when creating this make-up look, and it means so much to me to have that recognised. Watching everyone experiment with different products to try to recreate our look has been incredible.”
So… what was the product that McGrath and her team used for the show? “I wish I could tell you that it was just one product, but unfortunately, to create that perfect, hyper-reflective, glass-like finish we needed to play with several different ingredients – including water and different gel-like masks – as well as [different] artists’ techniques. That’s what really delivered the perfect porcelain-like finish John was looking for,” says McGrath.
“I love being an alchemist – my brand is centred around creating products and formulations that have never existed before. We’ve been working on one formula in the lab for some time now, and while I was backstage for Margiela, I combined several products for the show, including face masks – yes, one was cucumber! – and the perfect amount of water,” the make-up artist explains.
“The technique was the most challenging piece of the puzzle – making sure we could achieve a reflective glass finish without tampering with the make-up underneath. I understand that people don’t want to mix a tonne of products and buy an airbrush machine. We will soon drop one product that will give you the perfect glass finish. It’s not quite ready, but it’s coming soon,” McGrath says, coyly. Saying that, the reaction to the show has accelerated the timeline of a future product launch her team is now scrambling to bring forward.
So there you have it folks. We’ll be getting a new Pat McGrath Labs product to mimic porcelain skin very soon…
Need more? Need a makeup flashback? Read about the history of MAC’s “intense matte red lipstick” Russian Red that was created specifically for an early MAC convert who was about to “Vogue” her way across the globe on her third worldwide concert tour.