Início Tech Dior’s Peter Philips Talks Makeup, Creativity and Tiktok Stardom

Dior’s Peter Philips Talks Makeup, Creativity and Tiktok Stardom

At Dior’s pre-fall ready-to-wear show, held in the atrium of the Brooklyn Museum in April, an unseasonable mugginess permeated backstage amid blaring hair dryers, chattering models and bustling publicists.

But Peter Philips, Dior Makeup’s creative and image director, didn’t break a sweat.

Philips was cool as a cucumber in the midst of the flurry, directing his team, getting hands-on with models’ ombré bitten lips, taking directives from brand employees, all the while explaning the nuances of the look to a throng of reporters.

“To me, it’s a face sculpted by glow and light,” he said, of the softly molded complexions offset by a natural brow and bitten lip. The finished look was a masterclass in improvisation, since the backstage heat could melt even the best-laid plans. As for the layers of luminizers Philips had run through in makeup tests, “You don’t need it,” he said, in a cool nod to his steamy surroundings.

It only makes sense that Philips can handle the most frenzied situation. The Belgian makeup artist has been a backstage staple since the ’90s, with a list of collaborators that reads like a who’s who of fashion royalty, from Chanel (he was global creative director for makeup there from 2008 to 2013) to Alexander McQueen to photographer Irving Penn.

Backstage at the Dior Fall 2024 ready-to-wear show

Backstage at the Dior Fall 2024 ready-to-wear show.

Kelly Taub/WWD

“McQueen used to send a box full of references, archive pieces and whole files about a painter. That would be the basis,” he said, of the process the duo used to come up with iconic looks such as the highly exaggerated cherry-red smeared looks at the 2009 ‘Horn of Plenty’ collection.

“Karl Lagerfeld would talk to me like he would talk to Suzy Menkes, almost two hours explaining the collection,” Philips continued. “Every designer is totally different.”

As for Dior women’s wear designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, “She does amazing research, she knows what she wants, and also what she doesn’t want,” said Philips. “I know how far I can go, and she trusts me.”

It’s a similar sentiment between Philips and Kim Jones, artistic director of Dior Men’s. “Peter understands my work and the messages of the collections. It felt quite natural to have him on board for all the beautiful projects we did together,” said Jones via email. “Peter is a long-time friend. I like to be surrounded by talented people and he is one of the most talented makeup artists I know.”

Peter Philips

Courtesy of Liang Zi/Christian Dior Parfums

Philips travels frequently with both designers to the fantastical locations where shows are held. A 2022 Dior Men’s show at the Giza Pyramids was particularly memorable. “Doing a show under the pyramids was mind-blowing,” Philips said, adding with a laugh, “But when you go somewhere for a show, at the end of the day, the place you’re in the most is backstage. And they all look the same.”

India was another favorite locale, and travel has become an evergreen source of inspiration. “I’m very fortunate the way my work keeps me extremely busy. I travel a lot and I’m constantly surrounded by young people, it’s very inspiring on its own,” said Philips. “It’s not that I go to museums to get inspired. I go to museums because I like going to museums. I’m not looking for inspiration.”

Philips may not be looking for inspiration, but he is definitely providing it to makeup-loving consumers globally. “It used to be that the shows were just for press and buyers,” he said. “Now, it’s a way to communicate about the clothes to the world in general. A social media post from a celebrity is just as important as a major article. It makes it more approachable.

“The front row has maybe even more impact than the catwalk, because it’s where everything gets passed through social media,” Philips continued. Regardless of entry point, Philips has proven adept at creating — and selling — buzzy products, including Dior’s perennially viral Lip Glow Oil and Rosy Glow Blush.

“The Lip Glow Oil is a really good product and a great formula, and we had a fanbase. The product did what it was supposed to do,” Philips said. “It suddenly became viral because of a TikTok challenge. I got Instagram messages from friends everywhere saying it was sold out, and asking if I had any stock. I found out from the marketing team it was gone everywhere.”

Despite the product’s success, Philips doesn’t use virality as a product development blueprint. “It’s something you cannot control,” he said. “It’s an exposure you get because people truly love your product, and they see that that endorsement is not a paid advertisement.”

Trends — TikTok and otherwise — also don’t impact Philips’ process. “If you try to chase a trend, you’re always too late. I believe we should just stay true to ourselves,” Philips said. “Of course, there’s pressure from marketing teams to keep all the hype. But if you follow what’s hyped now, you’ll always be delayed. You have to count on your gut feeling and the quality and claims of a product being true.”

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