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The Dualism Behind Dior's Marlene Dietrich-Inspired Pre-Fall 2024 Runway Makeup

Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP

Dior briefly swapped its typical runway home in Paris for a night at the Brooklyn Museum on Monday. The decision to stage a show in New York was inspired by Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s travels to the city as a young woman and wanting to represent the “raw” glamour with which New Yorkers have become synonymous.

Though the location of the show was new to the luxury house, the collection mostly was not. The designs featured on the runway were mostly from Dior’s previously released Pre-Fall 2024 collection, tasking the brand’s team with differentiating the overall experience to be a refreshing and unique take on an already-seen lookbook — a major part of which was the runway hair and makeup, masterminded by Guido Palau and Peter Philips, respectively.

Despite Philips, who serves as the creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup, having crafted the accompanying makeup look back in December, he paid thoughtful attention to the way it appeared on the runway and helped bring the collection to life.

Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP

“You can tell there’s a story behind this girl,” Philips told Fashionista backstage. “You’re left wondering, ‘Why isn’t she totally glammed up? Is this the leftovers of a makeup look, or is this the start of her makeup — or is it just her?’ This isn’t a pure glam narrative. It becomes more about the model herself. There’s a rawness and modernity to the total look.”

That “rawness” is achieved through restraint, and a very limited amount of makeup. After prepping models’ skin with Dior Capture Totale Le Sérum and Hyalushot, Philips created a glow-y base for the look. “I lightly used the Glow Star Filter primer to highlight points that would already be naturally highlighted,” Philips says. “I used a very thin layer of Forever Skin Glow foundation and really only concealed for minor corrections.”

Using skin care and sheer primer to under-paint the highlighted features of the faces was a big part in ensuring the look never became too “glam.” Once the foundation was on, Philips left it at that: “I didn’t even sculpt the face. We didn’t use any contouring or highlighter. I wanted a very flat face. The light on the runway will help to sculpt.”

Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP

Leaving the face flat was a decision inspired by “the duality between masculinity and femininity,” particularly that of 1920s Hollywood actor Marlene Dietrich, according to Philips: “It’s about the idea that a strong woman can wear a sparkly dress but also have a no-makeup look. She can wear a suit, but with glamorous hair. I think that’s very Parisian, but at the same time, very New York. That’s where these two worlds can come together and create something great.”

For the eyes, Philips created full but natural looking brows (using the brand’s brow pencil and styler), and then blended inky eye shadow into each model’s lash line. “I sneaked a bit of dark eye shadow on the roots of the lashes. I always do that. I take a flat brush and push in a dark shade so it doesn’t look exactly like an eyeliner, but instead just makes your eyelashes look full without using mascara,” noted the artist.

Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP

Photo: Rodin Banica/WWD via Getty Images

As for why he and Chiuri chose to forgo mascara — a product for which Dior beauty is especially known — Philips explained, “When you wear eye makeup, there’s a texture and it becomes feminine. [Chiuri] wanted to keep that warm masculinity.”

Though the majority of the makeup look kept things as simple as possible, that vision didn’t apply to the lips: “I wanted it to look like a bitten lip. In French, it’s called ‘bouche mordue.’ It looks like leftover lipstick after you drink a few glasses of red wine or after you kiss someone, which is both very Parisian and very New York,” Philips said. 

Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP

Rather than use a lip liner and a single hue of lipstick, Philips relied on shades 111 Forever Night and 670 Rose Blues of Rouge Dior Forever and a soft brush to paint a slightly overlined lip that reflected a “from the night before” energy.

The overall effect? A study in contrasts.

“One side of this girl is extreme glam in glittery gowns and the other is playing with masculinity in suits,” explained Philips. “Here, we are bringing those sides together and reinventing it to be one look.”

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