Ever wondered who is the mastermind behind some of the most iconic Dior beauty looks? We sit down with Peter Philips ,Dior’s Creative and Image Director, who has worked across multiple runway shows for the house as well as with very famous faces like Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence and most recently on the latest launch of Rouge Dior Liquid and Double Rouge.
A painter’s son from Antwerp, Belgium, Peter Philips was studying fashion at the city’s famed Royal Academy, where fellow alums included Haider Ackermann and Dries Van Noten, when he realised he was more interested in what was happening backstage than on the runway.
Following graduation, he moved to London, and soon established a reputation for thinking outside the kit. Collaborating with the likes of Steven Klein, Craig McDean, and others, Philips became a mainstay of every fashion photographer’s go-to list, and by 2008, he was leading Chanel’s makeup division, before moving to Dior six years later.
Alongside his make-up artistry, the Creative and Image Director continues to break boundaries, making cult products one after the other, with this season seeing the launch of the first liquid lipstick formula by Dior in metallic and velvet shades, as well as Double Rouge, a two-in-one contouring lipstick juxtaposing a dark matte outer layer with a pearly colour on the inside.
The new Rouge Dior Liquid and Double Rouge are further testaments to the expertise of the house of Dior, creator of colour, and here Philips talks us through the journey when creating new launches, his go-to favourite products and the empowering effect of make-up.
‘The idea was to create a Rouge Dior liquid lipstick in astonishing matte, satin and metal finishes, and develop a range of shades to suit any skin tone,’ – Peter Philips.
Which colour first came to mind when creating the range?
Jungle Matte, a nude shade. The collection references the nineties, so I thought about Naomi Campbell when she did the spice contour, and that brought me to this shade. Then when I tested it I saw you could get that effect right away. We had to discover along the way, as it is not like you could play with your lipliner and lipstick and combine, we had to put them in a stick and see how they came out.
Tell us about how you create your colours, as you often offer extreme shades?
My main collections always have palettes that are easy to wear as my motivation is to make women look and feel beautiful, and share my expertise. Of course, we are a couture house so we also must show that we dare, as many people have a desire to be very expressive. So, due to that I do create bold colourways as even back in the 50s we dared with make-up shades, so it is always in the Dior DNA.
How do you think make-up empowers women?
I don’t know how to describe this, but when I apply make-up on someone I can see the transformation, how it gives confidence as you cover up things that make women insecure, and enhance features that make her feel beautiful and elements that she doesn’t know she has. That is an empowerment. It changes her attitude and is part of being a feminist.
What is the best way to prepare your lips before applying lipstick?
I would recommend starting by using Dior Addict Lip Scrub to get rid of skin and moisturise, then most of our lipsticks have a caring element so you can go straight to the final product. What sets our newly launched liquid lipstick apart is that it doesn’t dry out you lips, as many others on the market are dense and dry and after some time will traumatise your lips. It is not just a cosmetic, it is also caring as I wanted a liquid lip product that answered all the expectations that women want, easy application, great result, and care.
What do you think will be the biggest lip trend for the new season?
I think there will be something in matts and metallics. Ombre has been done, yet metallics has been left out, so I can see that making an impact.
What changes have you seen in the beauty industry over time?
Over the past four to five years, especially due to social media, there have been huge changes, with a lot of millennium brands and extreme products. However, as an insider I recognise the formulas, and there are just a few manufacturers in the world, so it is usually the same formulas put in different packaging with different names. That is what sets us apart at Dior as we have our own labs, so we can add something extra that makes it Dior, however it also pushes us to keep reinventing ourselves as there is this hunger for colour, texture, and innovation, so we have to keep up.
What is your favourite Dior beauty product of all time?
As I can’t mention the new ones, it would be the Diorshow Lash Maximiser as it really works and blew my mind away when I first started using it. The under base really makes a difference on short and thin lashes.
Can you share with us what element of your job you enjoy the most?
It has to be the whole package. The fact I can travel and create products from scratch, developing them and seeing the full process. It is a combination of communicating and seeing how differently everyone treats makeup all over the world, ensuring they seduce customers in the Middle East and in Finland, when both regions are worlds apart, like night and day.
By Lara Mansour Sawaya
Photography: Charlotte Wales for Christian Dior Parfums
Concept and Makeup: Peter Philips for Christian Dior Parfums
Styled in Dior