Amid the buzzing, barely controlled chaos that is backstage, you’ll find Peter Philips hard at work making masterful makeup look easy. The Belgian artist has a killer knack for causing beauty-insider pandemonium with his innovative, fashion-forward creations that quickly become modern classics. Seriously: Who didn’t have her name on the waiting list for Chanel Le Vernis in Jade or finally “get”—literally and figuratively— why lipstick trumps gloss after the much-lauded launch of Rouge Coco? Here’s his behind-the-scenes take.
What was the beauty inspiration for the Chanel haute-couture show?
“A sketch by Karl Lagerfeld served as the starting point. Together, we created a classic yet modern look that didn’t steal the spotlight from the clothes. On the eyes, we applied a base of grey eyeshadow, and then we twisted the retro look of the eyeliner by giving it a square shape at the outer corner of the eye. And, to break with convention even further, we applied blush very high on the cheekbones.”
How does your collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld work?
“We exchange a lot of ideas. Mr. Lagerfeld shows me the themes for his future collections up to a year in advance, and he gives me very precise details about what he wants, especially with regard to colour. I collect all of this information over the months, and then 10 days before the show I slip into the workshops to observe the sketches and fabrics. Then I can refine my ideas and submit them to Mr. Lagerfeld. We meet up a few times until the final look is developed.”
What is the creative process behind the development of your makeup collections?
“Permanent products like foundations, lipsticks and mascaras are developed to be as universal as possible. Because Chanel is an international brand, textures and colour palettes have to please women from tropical regions as much as they do women from Nordic countries with very different colouring and cultural backgrounds. As for the seasonal makeup collections, they centre around themes often inspired by the codes of the house.”
What is the quintessential Chanel vision of beauty?
“Discreet blush, a very red mouth and extravagant nail-polish colours—anything goes! Mademoiselle Chanel herself was a rebel who scoffed at dictums. We are careful not to impose anything. You have to love what you wear. Makeup shouldn’t be a disguise; rather, it should be a reflection of who you really are.”
A good base is key. Before using Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15, Philips prepped the skin with Hydramax Active Nutrition Cream. He followed with Correcteur Perfection Long Lasting Concealer to leave skin flawless.
To highlight Philips used Éclat Lumière Highlighting Face Pen. To make a sharp cat’s eye
he used Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner in Ébène and finished off with Mascara Inimitable in Black.
Rosy cheeks came via Ombres Tissées in Beiges, used by Philips to contour. He then blended Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Rose Pétale from the lower outer corner of the eye down into the cheekbone.Lips were prepped with the moisturizing Soin Tendre Lèvres Hydrating Lip Treatment.
Don’t rush it. “Women always want tips to speed up their beauty routine, whereas my advice is to take your time,” says Philips. “The face is the first thing you notice about a person.”