Stephanie Hallett
January 25, 2017 1:42 pm
Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage

We can always count on makeup visionary Pat McGrath to do something unexpected. She is, after all, the woman behind Rihanna’s gem-encrusted face on the cover of magazine last September. But her totally unexpected beauty additions to the already-otherworldly Maison Margiela show at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday were next-level creative.

The Margiela collection, from embattled designer John Galliano, riffed on privacy, filters, the “selfie generation,” and the many layers of modern identity, and made use of deconstructed and reconstructed trench coats, mesh veils and coverings, and large, body-shielding coats.

McGrath’s makeup played up the most unusual aspects of the collection, starting with a relatively bare face — topped with the artist’s own glossy Skin Fetish 003 highlighter — and remixed with threads and other detritus.

In one instance, McGrath piled red thread onto a model’s lips for a cartoonish, mesmerizing effect.

And in another, it was Galliano’s eye-embroidered veil that took center stage while the model’s bare face lay beneath.

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 25: A model walks the runway during the Maison Margiela Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage)

“This collection is about adding filters,” said a Maison Margiela spokesperson in a press release about the collection, “but as much about removing them and sharing as about connecting with a community, becoming part of a union and relating through mutual emotions rooted in memories.”

Galliano, who was fired from Dior in 2011 after an anti-semitic rant (he has since apologized and said he is an alcoholic) joined Margiela in 2014 and has been releasing flamboyant collections ever since. The fashion house seems to be a good fit for the designer, who prefers to remain out of the public eye, as Maison Margiela does not require its designers to bow at the end of a show or speak about their work (Galliano does neither).

Of working with Galliano, McGrath has said, “John and his team really played with make-up. I remember bringing a girl down once, and she had on probably 10 pairs of lashes and three pounds of eye shadow and the hugest, glossiest lips. We brought her into the studio for a make-up test, and John said: ‘We’re not doing a beach story. This is not about a natural look.’ He wanted more.”

The two artists have worked together for years, previously at Dior and on other Margiela runways shows. This latest out-of-the-box look may not be appropriate for everyday wear, but it’s definitely a treat for our eyes. Thank you, Pat!