Masters at Work: Peter Philips

Masters at Work: Peter Philips

For V107, we highlight the superstar makeup artists and hairstylists who have earned a spotlight of their own.

For V107, we highlight the superstar makeup artists and hairstylists who have earned a spotlight of their own.

Photography: Schohaja

Text: Priya Rao

While musing about his earliest beauty inspirations, makeup artist Peter Philips fondly recalls films from his childhood: “Every Saturday at 4:00 PM there was an afternoon movie on Belgian national TV,” the Antwerp native remembers. “I would go inside and watch that movie because I loved those old-school stars.” In particular, the opening scene of Singin’ in the Rain provided ample fodder. “I remember being blown away when you have all those silent movie stars walking in those outfits for some sort of movie premiere,” he says. “Before social media, before the red carpet, it just made you dream.”

Dreaming is still very much a part of Philips’s day-to-day. As the creative and image director of Dior Makeup, he conjured a minimalist look with what he called “girl power” beauty—a little foundation, primer, light pink blush, and eye shadow—on young models for Dior’s Spring 2017 show (seen above). “The skill of makeup comes in because you need to make it look very natural,” he says.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a flair for the dramatic as well. His recent book, Dior: The Art of Color, is a glorious celebration of the house’s use of makeup throughout its history, featuring his own looks alongside those of Dior’s previous two legendary beauty directors, Serge Lutens and Tyen. In addition to the visions he sends down the runway, product development has become a passion—he’s done it for both Dior and his previous employer, Chanel. “It’s about real-life problems and real-life questions,” he explains. “You realize that women want to be pretty in whatever context that means, but not necessarily fashionable. It’s been a huge eye-opener for me.” This is why Philips prefers not to refer to himself as an artist but, instead, as a craftsman. “It’s more like someone who can make really beautiful furniture. It’s gorgeous but needs to be practical, too,” he explains. “I use my creativity and my skill to combine it.”

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