Antwerp born makeup artist Peter Philips is nothing short of a legend in the field, but didn’t find his calling as a makeup artist until the (in this industry) ripe old age of 27. His innovative style, infusing unexpected, bold elements with high fashion, almost never came to fruition at all, as he began his creative career working towards a degree in graphic design. Fate intervened after he diversified to study fashion, and was taken on chance field trip to work as a dresser at Paris Fashion Week, where he closely watched the makeup artists at work and thought, “I can do that,” he says.
After graduating in ’93 Philips began testing and building his book as a makeup artist, working alongside fellow newcomers to the fashion scene in Belgium at the time, photographer Willy Vanderperre and designer Raf Simons. He tells of a career changing moment on a shoot with Simons, when he created a perfectly scaled image of Mickey Mouse painted onto the male models face and “People flipped out…They really remember the spectacular things you do,” he recalls, “and the pure beauty things they take for granted. I learned a lot from that.”
This ability to deliver the unexpected, through his entirely imaginative vision of beauty, as well as being able to execute flawless classic beauty looks when required created a high demand for his unique perspective and technical skill. Philips has since gone on to quietly cement his position at the top of his field, regularly shooting with the world’s greatest photographers for the likes of French, Italian and American Vogue, AnOther Magazine, i-D, and W. His work also graces campaigns from Fendi to Louis Vuitton, alongside beauty campaigns for Armani, Chanel and Estée Lauder. He is also known for his numerous iconic runway looks, including some of his greatest runway work for Alexander McQueen.
For five years from 2008 Philips held the prestigious position of Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, described by Vogue magazine as the “most coveted job in cosmetics”. During this time Philips was credited with reinvigorating the brand’s beauty division through his use of bold shades and materials (anyone remember those awesome sell-out Chanel tattoo transfers? We have Peter to thank for those!). After taking a little time out from the creative director position upon leaving Chanel, the following year in 2014 he stepped up to fill the role at Dior, replacing it’s previous director Pat McGrath. Not many could fill those shoes, but Philips is an obvious candidate. “His talent and his unique and modern vision of beauty are recognized around the world,” said the company’s president when announcing his appointment. Check out our gallery of some of his greatest work below to find out exactly why.
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