A recreation of Pat McGrath's glass-skin makeup for Maison Margiela Haute Couture SS24 Isabel Rose (@isabellrrose) with permission for Varsity

John Galliano’s Maison Margiela Artisanal Collection for SS24 brought back a new, revived era of fashion as art. With anatomy-enhancing padded hips and extreme corsets, alongside scandalising merkins and erotically sheer lace drawing us into the underbelly of 1930s Paris, the collection brought us seedy, sensual and everything in between. Bathed under the first full moon of the year, Galliano’s eerie doll-like exaggerations of the human form were accompanied by Pat McGrath’s viral "porcelain doll" makeup look which has since been created thousands of times on social media platforms.

Pat McGrath’s makeup look created skin so glassy and lustrous, that it almost resembled a porcelain mask coated in a shiny glaze. Glinting under the moonlight and ambient lighting, it was alien, otherworldly, and only served to add to the ethereality of this Haute Couture show. The mystical and delicate look the makeup achieved juxtaposed the gritty and grainy runway under Pont Alexandre III, and helped to bring us into the fantasy of Galliano’s 1930s Paris. Created backstage by acclaimed makeup artist Pat McGrath, the look involved a lot of experimentation, which social media users realised as they attempted to recreate it in multiple different ways.

“Couture makeup works in synergy with the set design, lighting, and music to bring a designer’s vision to life”

The viral doll-like makeup look proved puzzling for beauty gurus online attempting to replicate it; many speculated that a liquid formula typically used in special effects makeup was used to create the glassy skin effect. But McGrath revealed on an Instagram live masterclass that a carefully concocted mixture of water, clear gloss and peel-off face masks were airbrushed onto the models’ faces in layers and blow-dried in between each layer to allow it to set. Around 7-8 layers were applied to achieve the desired level of glassiness, and spoons were held over the eye and lip areas to protect the makeup during airbrushing. Water-based SFX glue was used for the corners of the lips, nostrils and inner eye area for increased longevity of the make-up.

McGrath’s doll-like makeup was recreated by beauty influencer @isabellrrose on TikTok which went utterly viral: her video garnered over 20 million views. Despite achieving a similar outcome as McGrath, she opted to brush the glaze on instead of airbrushing it, something that might make recreating this look a lot simpler. Many other social media beauty gurus and influencers participated in the trend of recreating McGrath’s look, with each providing their own interpretation and flair.

“Each unique technique developed on the runway trickles down to influence everyday trends in beauty”

While the couture makeup look in its original form may not be the most wearable – picture scrunching and peeling when the wearer raises their eyebrows – it works in synergy with the set design, lighting, and music to bring a designer’s vision to life.

Couture makeup looks might push the boundaries of everyday makeup but this is precisely what makes them so relevant – each unique technique developed on the runway trickles down to influence everyday trends in beauty. We might, for example, continue to see thinner eyebrows and glassy skin growing in popularity.


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In line with the resurgence of Y2K in fashion trends, we might also look back in time to forecast future beauty trends. 2000s trends like shimmery lip glosses and double-lined eyes are now starting to make a big comeback. This season’s couture makeup looks have been bold as well. Giorgio Armani’s tie-dye 1920s-shaped eyeshadow looks, Giambattista Valli’s exaggerated eyelashes, and Jean Paul Gautier’s bejewelled lips and eyebrows all scream that we’re in for a year of bold, maximalist makeup. After the more minimalist clean-girl look that has been trending, with its slicked-back hair and sheer highlights, perhaps the growing popularity of more maximalist looks that exaggerate and highlight facial features will be a breath of fresh air.