6 Reasons Pat McGrath Is the Industry’s Most Legendary Makeup Artist

She just secured damehood from the Queen.

Pat McGrath

Ben Hassett/ Design by Cristina Cianci

It’s not often we use the word "legendary" but makeup artist, industry vet, and founder of Pat McGrath Labs, now officially Dame Patricia Ann McGrath DBE, is just that. Pat McGrath DBE, or "Mother" as she’s know to her legions of fans and devotees, just made history as the first makeup artist to be named a dame of a British empire. "I am beyond humbled that I have been awarded a Damehood in the Queen’s New Year 2021 Honours List as a D.B.E—Dame of the British Empire for Services to the Fashion and Beauty Industry and Diversity," Dame McGrath said of the honor in a press release.

"I am truly delighted and humbled to be given this wonderful honour. My mother’s obsession with beauty and fashion ignited my passion for this amazing industry and I feel blessed to have the privilege of working with some of the most extraordinary people throughout my career," continued McGrath.

With over 25 years of experience working in the industry and a long list of firsts, it’s no surprise she’s achieved the honor. The industry vet and British Vogue beauty editor-at-large has created some of the most iconic looks on and off the runway, leading the show backstage at Dior, Valentino, Givenchy, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, to name a few. She’s crafted memorable looks—crystals-covered eyes and lips, feathered brows and lashes, and metallic lips that look like liquid gold—recreated by other MUAs and beauty-lovers alike. Let's not forget her CFDA awards and billion-dollar beauty brand Pat McGrath Labs, which launched in 2015.

To celebrate we took a look into how the widely influential makeup artist reached legend status.

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Her Stunning Work for Vogue Italia

In the '90s McGrath was introduced to legendary fashion photographer Steven Meisel, which led to a decade-long partnership. Together they worked on the cover and lead stories for every issue of Vogue Italia for over 20 years, including the iconic Black Issue featuring supermodels Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn. Her professional relationship and friendship with Campbell over the years has made them a dynamic duo in the industry.

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And Her Work at British Vogue

Of course, that's not the only edition of Vogue that McGrath has worked on. In 2017, she became the beauty editor-at-large for Vogue UK, joining a team of highly acclaimed beauty pros like Charlotte Tilbury and Val Garland who are also contributing editors.

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Her Billion Dollar Beauty Line

No surprise, McGrath's brand of innovative, runway-worthy beauty products is valued at over a billion dollars. Pat McGrath Labs launched in 2015 and quickly racked up fans, launching lipsticks, mascara, highlighters, and complexion products in over 30 shades. Her crystal lip kits and sequin-filled packaging have become some of the most coveted beauty products, selling out at Sephora stores and online when there's a new drop.

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Her Highly-Coveted Beauty Collabs

Just last year, Pat McGrath Labs became the first-ever beauty brand to collab with streetwear brand Supreme. The collaboration, a super-pigmented matte lipstick in the streetwear brand’s signature red, sold out in a matter of seconds. She's also collaborated with pop-culture and style brand giants like Star Wars, Prada, Valentino, and Comme des Garçons.

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Her High Fashion Work

We can't forget about her legendary work on the runways—fashion month gets pretty busy for McGrath and her team. Over her career, she has created looks for over 60 (yes, 60!) shows for all of your favorite high-end designers from Dior to Louis Vuitton. If there's a runway beauty trend or look you've been waiting to try, there's a high chance she was the brain behind the beauty.

Her archives are well worth making time to dig through, so might we suggest checking out #makeupbypatmcgrath?

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Her Many, Many History-Making Accolades

The CFDA Fashion Awards are like the Oscars of fashion, celebrating the best and brightest of the fashion industry. In 2017, McGrath won the CFDA’s prestigious Founder’s Award, making her the first makeup artist to do so. Past winners include designer Donna Karan, model and activist Bethann Hardison, and former J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler. 

She was also awarded the British Fashion Council’s Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator in 2017 and named one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2019. 

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