“It’s a strong look, but at the same time a fragile look,” says makeup artist Peter Philips of the gentle beauty look he created for Christian Dior’s fall 2023 haute couture show. Within the manicured gardens of Musée Rodin, where models bustle backstage in various stages of preparation, the approach to beauty is a study in restraint. The makeup is intentionally “very pure,” says Philips, without sparkling pearlescence or dramatic contouring. “It’s at the level of a couture show,” he says. “It doesn’t look too raw or too punky—there’s a luxury feeling to it.”
At the request of creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, the beauty reflects the quiet power of “a marble statue” and plays off of the tonal collection. “There’s a lot of luminosity in the clothes; metallic finishes; a very light palette,” says Philips, the creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup, of the fringed capes and beaded column dresses that walked the runway.
To achieve that balance, he prepped skin with Dior Forever Glow Veil Primer and dusted the models’ eyelids with a hint of gold shadow from Diorshow 5 Couleurs palette in 539 Grand Bal. Even mascara was avoided, “because it looks more like a statue” without it, he says. “It takes away that layer of sexiness.”
Not far down the tented hallway, hairstylist Guido Palau’s team is sculpting hair into teardrop-shaped braids that offer a new iteration of the ouroboros plaits he sent down the runway at the house’s recent cruise show in Mexico City. “Maria Grazia loves femininity and beauty, and was looking at ancient Greek references where the women looked so strong but romantic,” says Palau of coming up with a look that is visually “really simple,” though technically complicated.
The hair is sewn into place by hand, sometimes adding extensions to create the necessary length, and several artists surround each model to support the process. According to Palau, the classic style speaks to the collection’s spirit of connection. “Whenever you do a braid, it’s this monumental thing,” he says of its emotive qualities. “Everyone understands a braid—our grandmothers had braids, the braid has a lot of connotations to it: It’s always kind of feminine and romantic.”
This article was originally published on Vogue.com