Pat McGrath (make-up artist)

I-D Northampton Vogue (magazine)

Pat McGrath
Northampton, England
OccupationMake-up artist

Pat McGrath MBE[1][2] is a British make-up artist. She has been called the most influential make-up artist in the world by Vogue magazine and other commentators.[3][4][5] In 2019 she was included in Time's 100 most influential people list.[6]

Early life

McGrath was born and raised by in Northampton, England in a working-class household by her Jehovah’s Witness mother. Her mother, Jean, was a dressmaker and became a big influence on McGraths eventual career in make-up, teaching and encouraging her to experiment with make-up and inspiring her love for fashion. [7][8][9]

McGrath has no formal training in fashion or make-up, having completed only an art foundation course at Northampton College.[3] She has said of her career: "I really love being a makeup artist. It never gets mundane or predictable and every shoot and show is different."[10] In the 1980s, McGrath moved to London and became involved with designers such as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.[11]


McGraths first breakthrough occoured in the early 1990s working alongside Edward Enninful at i-D magazine, continuing to work as a receptionist to support herself financially. In 1999 she was hired by Giorgio Armani to collaborate on a new range of cosmetics and became the recipient of the Pantene Pro-V Make-Up Artist Of The Year Award in both 2000 & 2001. [12]

As part of the 2014 New Years Honours, McGrath was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to the Fashion and Beauty Industry [13]. That year, McGrath was also hired by Procter & Gamble, as Global Cosmetics Creative Design Director in a multi-year partnership that was rumoured to be paid at $1million [14]

In 2015 she launched 'Pat McGrath Labs.', her own line of beauty products which by 2019 had become a $1billion company and becoming the biggest selling beauty line at Selfridges[15][16]

2017 saw McGrath hired by her previous colleague, and friend, Edward Enninful as Beauty Editor-at-Large for British Vogue [17] and in the same year won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards, a British Fashion Council Event.[18] In 2018, six leading stars, including Saoirse Ronan, Naomie Harris and Sara Sampaio, wore Pat McGrath Labs make-up to the Fashion Awards.[19] McGrath has also regularly appeared in the Top 10 of the Powerlist, highlighting the most influential Black British people across a number of industries [20][21]


According to Vogue (2007), McGrath is known for her unique, adventurous, and innovative make-up techniques which include using her hands as opposed to brushes.[22] She has a talent for using bold hues and material experimentation ranging from feathers to ornaments.[23] McGrath is limitless, a mindset that enables her boundless creativity and diverse range of looks.[23] Her art lies within the reinvention of makeup and experimentation. Her innovative and intuitive outlook to life help create the vibrant and legendary looks we see throughout numerous catwalks and fashion shows.[24]


McGrath draws inspiration for many sources, using materials such as feathers, gold leaf, and leather.[25] McGrath told Vogue in 2008, "I'm influenced a lot by the fabrics I see, the colours that are in the collections and the girl's faces. It's always a challenge but that's the key – to make it different every time."[22] Her inspiration started with her mother, particularly her love for fashion, film and costumes:[26]"Everything that she was obsessed with, I became obsessed with."[24] McGrath's mother encouraged her stating "It will be a problem for you if you don't love what you do. So make sure!"[24] Growing up in London, McGrath and her mother used to go makeup shopping when she was six years old.[26] Fashion became a huge inspiration for McGrath, stimulating her creative approach.[26]

McGrath also looks to models that bring her personal inspiration.[25] McGrath says, "They are their own women, representing a mix of ethnicities, sizes, and backgrounds, they allow me to experiment and create the looks I dream of in my head."[25] She considers models Naomi Campbell, Hailey Baldwin, Paloma Elsesser, Jasmine Sanders, Mallory Merk and Ruby Aldridge as her muses.[25] She says of Campbell, "We've worked together since the mid-1990s, and she inspires me in ways I've never imagined. There is no one like Naomi."[25] McGrath calls Paloma Elsesser's face "the ultimate canvas",[25] for her hypnotic complexion that "guides a makeup artist's touch." [25]

Much of McGrath's inspiration derives from making the natural skin salient.[27] This can be seen in her own makeup line, which focuses on luminous skin.[27] McGrath says, "Flawless, luminous skin has always been a constant in my work. For years I've been using a custom mix of products to achieve different levels of luminosity from fresh baby skin to a supercharged power-glow."[27] The sequin packaging of her makeup line also derives from McGrath's inspiration of sequins, a reoccurring element in many of her looks.[27]

The most important element of McGrath's inspiration stems from unique individuality and beauty, breaking away from traditional standards.[27] McGrath values beauty beyond superficiality, looking at the story behind the person she sees.[27] On the definition of beauty, she believes that "real and true beauty comes from within. It's like an energy, because the task of bringing out beauty—and at times creating it—really is like a puzzle. Often in my work, the approach to beauty is to seek perfection, yet sometimes beauty is imperfect or quite raw."[27]


  1. ^ Pat McGrath at Voguepedia.com
  2. ^ Pat McGrath Biography at i-donline.com
  3. ^ a b Mower, Sarah. "Pat, Inc." Vogue (September 2007): p. 794.
  4. ^ "McGrath, Pat." i-Dmagazine.com.
  5. ^ "Pat McGrath - Makeup Artist - Pat McGrath Videos, Interviews..." MODTV.
  6. ^ "The 100 Most Influential People of 2019". TIME. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  7. ^ Hughes, Sali (6 August 2017). "Beauty queen: how Pat McGrath revolutionised makeup". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Pat McGrath", BoF 500.
  9. ^ Hughes, Salli, "Beauty queen: how Pat McGrath became the world's most influential makeup artist", The G2 interview, The Guardian, 6 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Pat McGrath Profile".
  11. ^ Linda Wells. "Pat McGrath Is the Most in-Demand Makeup Artist in the World", The Cut, 16 August 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  12. ^ Pool, Hannah (15 December 2001). "The new black". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  13. ^ Lidbury, Olivia. "New Year Honours 2014: make-up artist Pat McGrath gets MBE - Telegraph". fashion.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  14. ^ Staff, W. W. D.; Staff, W. W. D. (10 September 2004). "P&G Lands McGrath for Creative Role". WWD. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  15. ^ Niven-Phillips, Lisa (1 June 2019). "Pat McGrath Labs becomes Selfridges biggest-selling beauty line". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  16. ^ Varshney, Apekshita (20 August 2018). "Pat McGrath Labs Is A $1 Billion Company". Techweek. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  17. ^ Weatherford, Ashley (24 July 2017). "Pat McGrath Joins British Vogue As Beauty Editor-at-Large". The Cut. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  18. ^ "The Fashion Awards: Pat McGrath Wins Isabella Blow Award For Fashion Creator". Vogue. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  19. ^ "6 Stars Who Wore Pat McGrath Labs At The Fashion Awards". Vogue. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Meghan Markle and Stormzy named among Britain's most influential black people". The Independent. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Architect David Adjaye tops list of UK's most influential black people". Dezeen. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  22. ^ a b Mower, "Pat, Inc." Vogue (September 2007): p. 798.
  23. ^ a b "Business of Fashion."
  24. ^ a b c Leive, Cindi, "Makeup Artist and Beauty Mogul Pat McGrath Shares the Secret of Her Success", Glamour, 11 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Summerton, Ema, "6 Model Muses That Have Inspired Makeup Artist Pat McGrath", Allure Magazine (2017).
  26. ^ a b c Ying Chu, "Makeup Artist Pat McGrath Talks Inspiration, Favorite Products, and What She Really Thinks About Nail Art", Glamour (2013).
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Jade Taylor, "Makeup Artist Pat McGrath Talks Beauty Icons And Her Highlighter Kit," Nylon Magazine (2016).