At Dior SS23, makeup was a mix of 16th century and social media

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When it comes to make-up references, we’ve seen them all: nature, movies, emotions… but Dior’s Spring-Summer 23 inspiration has to be one of the most unexpected. For the fashion house’s Spring-Summer 2023 collection, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri was influenced by 16th-century Italian aristocrat Catherine de’ Medici, the only woman to rule France as queen. You’d think that would give Peter Philips, creative and image director of Dior makeup, his starting point, but in fact Chiuri showed him a very different brief…

“It’s a funny story actually. As of course the main inspiration for the collection is Medici, a very powerful woman,” said Philips United Kingdom backstage before the show. ‘An icon of the Renaissance in France but also throughout the world in fact. But then she showed me this photo of a girl on social media. That girl was Stella Lucia Deopito, an Austrian model and actress who had caught Chiuri’s eye.

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“She showed me a specific reference of her makeup and we agreed that it could be amazing to have her as a face. To have a historical figure for the clothes, but a modern girl, from social networks, for makeup.

“We liked the idea that it shows that any woman who is confident in what she does can be a muse,” Philips explained. “This girl is just in her bedroom, playing with eyeliners, but producing a very unique look. It’s a beautiful story: a girl from history and a girl from Instagram.’

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Philips adapted the image’s cross eyeliner for the show, tailoring it to each model with elongated shapes and soft edges. Opting for pencils instead of eyeliner pens (“They’re a bit more smudged, more rock’n’roll. A pen was too sixties.”) he used a kohl liner for dark circles around his eyes and a finer pencil for details. After smudging it a bit, he used a thin cotton swab to “trim the edges and make them neater”. It’s easier to do it this way than trying to draw it perfectly. It’s much faster and more efficient.

dior ss23 makeup peter philips

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The skin was prepped simply with serum, a light wash of foundation, and a bit of concealer if needed. The eyeshadow (from a palette created especially for the show) gave a light pearly finish. “Maria Grazia loves nude makeup,” added Philips, “so the palette reflects that, with options for all skin tones.” The lips were finished with a soft swatch of lipstick, pressed more like a smudge.

For hair, stylist and longtime Dior collaborator Guido Palau was shown the same image by Chiuri, so most of the models wore high school-style pigtails, with a grungy feel.

dior ss23 makeup peter philips

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Although he has a strong look, Philips tells us that one of the biggest challenges in his work is that Maria Grazia “doesn’t really like to see a lot of makeup,” so finding that balance between runway-ready and subtle. was the key. And, of course, balancing 16th century and 21st century references, surely a first for any makeup artist in history.

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