Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup discusses the house’s latest makeup collection and a new approach to beauty after the global pandemic.
If there’s one man who knows how to make women look and feel good, it’s Dior Makeup’s Creative and Image Director Peter Philips. The beauty mogul has been working with the house on countless product creations and beauty looks since 2014 and has reignited the legacy of the brand’s founder Christian Dior who also had a vision for beauty. Philips has a special respect for the softness and elegance of femininity but isn’t afraid to experiment or add an edge when the time is right. Defined by his extraordinary imagination, Philips is driven by a passion for artistry and innovation which allows him to keep reinventing beauty looks and keep surprising with beautiful products that fulfil the needs of today’s women.
Over the past two years, the global pandemic has ignited a shift in the way women wear makeup and Philips was one of the first to acknowledge this with the launch of softer more subtle makeup collections throughout the COVID-19 period. But now, as we start to return to normality, the artist is ready to have some fun again. This January for the first time Dior Makeup products and La Collection Privée Christian Dior are adorned with the houndstooth check print that is emblematic of the House. The New Look limited series collection features the black and white iconic print, adorning new products with the elegant couture signature. We find out more about this collection as well as tapping into trends, tricks, and all things beauty.
What has changed in your approach to defining beauty and the way you orchestrate your work since the COVID-19 pandemic?
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was shocking because we had to change everything very quickly. We had to rethink launches, cancel launches, move things around and be very reactive to what people wanted at that moment. We knew that women still wanted to wear makeup, but we needed to consider the fact that she may be wearing a mask, however, she might still want the sensation of a lipstick, because lipstick is not just a makeup result. It is even about the click of the opening, it’s a very feminine gesture and for a lot of women, the application of lipstick is as important as the product itself. So, we launched the Rouge Dior Forever Liquid, the non-transferable lipstick, and the Rouge Dior Lip Balm. We decided to do a balm that was also a lipstick which gives a caring element and a beautiful element that is not intimidating but just delivers on what the woman wants. And then secondly it needed to be non-transferable so that even when you remove your mask your lipstick is still there. And finally, I wanted to play with colours as I was sure there were women out there who wanted to feel good under their masks. So those were two launches that we decided to do as a reaction to the situation and to offer a service to our clientele a new approach to make up, and they were a big success.
Women were appreciative of these products and of the brand and how we thought about things in a way that shows we care. At the end of the day, we wanted to keep everyone dreaming and the storytelling around these products was good. They also offered the refill aspect of the packaging and in a way, because of the pandemic, people had become more aware of buying environmentally friendly products, so in that respect, this launch came at perfect timing.
What can you tell us about the new limited edition houndstooth packaging for the New Look collection?
It was a fun project and it’s a moment wherein a couture house, all the archives and house codes come together. You have the iconic lipstick; Rouge Dior, with a houndstooth motive that is iconic for Dior and we have a new look and fantastic products. We also have synchronisation with Maison Christian Dior with some limited-edition fragrances. It’s a limited-edition collection in limited edition packaging but you can also put any of your favourite shades inside the packaging as it is refillable. The quality is amazing and it’s just a beautiful accessory to put in your handbag that brings together the beauty and the fashion elements of the house of Dior.
Let’s talk about the upcoming Spring/Summer 2022 season – what trends can we expect to see in terms of the approach to makeup?
For Spring/Summer 2022 I think it’s all about looking healthy, luminous, and glowing and accessorising your look depending on your mood or what you are wearing. I don’t think we can say there is one trend for the whole of the season. I think women are looking for a much more subtle look, but on the other hand, if your personality is longing for something bold and bright, then multicoloured looks are great. But the base will always be beautifully glowing and natural.
For example, for the Dior SS22 ready-to-wear show, we did a look that featured a double liner but we didn’t want the beauty look to take away from the outfits, so we opted for this subtle look. The runway shows are not about the makeup, they are about Maria Grazia Chiuri’s vision, so never want to create a look that overtakes the fashion and that’s why I went for the double liner. It’s a look that Maria Grazia likes a lot, it’s something that suits every girl as it brings out the eyes. It doesn’t make the women look too made up, but it’s still sophisticated. It’s a look that always works. Interestingly I have done something similar before for a couture show but with gold liner and I think it’s a look you can play with in many ways and with many different colours.
What about white liner in the waterline of your eyes is it true it broadens the eye or is it a myth?
It’s not a myth, it will make your eyes look bigger, but it also depends on your skin tone. That’s why for example we have a beige liner in our collection which is not so aggressive and blends in better with your skin tone so it will make your eyes look bigger. It creates a continuation of your skin into your eye, it neutralises the pink or the redness of your eye in the waterline and it makes your eye look bigger. There are many tricks you can play around with which work well when it comes to eyeliner.
One of our favourite makeup collections is Dior Backstage – tell us a little about what is in the pipeline for this collection?
Originally the Backstage line was designed to incorporate very basic essentials. The most important thing is skin and then you can create your look with colours from the classic Dior makeup line. But now we have animated this collection a lot more and it is very fun. The palettes have been a great success and they have a great formula, so we have been working on more collections for the holidays for example. They are fun to play with.
As an expert and an artist what do you do to get yourself in a creative state of mind and how do you decide on the colour tones you want to play with for each collection or season?
It’s about making sure that there is harmony and that all the shades match well and that they are not intimidating. I don’t want to scare women with something that they think they might not master, and I want them to be seduced by my colour combinations not scared. I work a lot with natural shades and tones and that’s why multiple palettes like the Backstage collection are a bit more exciting for me because I can add a couple of colours that are a bit more extreme. Then aside from the colours, it’s important to make sure that the formula is compatible within that palette. This is key because not every formula works together.
What tips would you give to women in our region when they are trying to explore or experiment with makeup shades?
What I know from Arab women is that they are almost too expert for me to give advice! Nobody in the world does eye makeup like an Arab woman. And they are also very good with lips – they like to add lip liner and blend in two or three shades to create a unique look. They use this same artistic approach to both the eyes and lips. It’s the expertise of knowing where to shade, how to elongate, how to highlight, how to use your lashes and your eyebrows to make a complete look, and they do the same with lipstick. When I’m asked to give advice to Arab women, I always feel very intimidated because most Arab women I see are already experts in their field. They are not afraid to experiment with colour either, I’ve seen gorgeous shapes with aubergine tones and taupes, which are not always easy to use. So, what advice can I give them? I do love when I see warm tones because of the depth of the eyes, I like to see a little bit of gold or bronze.
Is there anything you think has changed in the way women wear makeup today?
I think in general and probably because of the pandemic when women have been at home a lot more, there is a softer approach to makeup which I think is why softer tones in lip shades are very popular. But on the other hand, I feel that there is a desire to play with colour also, but maybe not all the time. Women are not going out so much, but when they do go out, they can really play with colour and I think this is a new approach to makeup that embraces a softer version of what they used to do, but at the same time, when the moment is there, go for it, go full-on and have fun with makeup.