When I sat down with Peter Philips moments before the FW16 Dior show in Paris, the first image that came to mind was the photograph, made years ago with likeminded creators, where he painted Mickey Mouse onto the face of a male model. It resulted in an iconic image, like most everything Peter Philips puts his hands on.
The scene backstage was surprisingly serene. Peter took a moment to speak to his team to ensure all of the final touches were being made before the models took to the runway… The dark romantic lip that recalls 90’s punk glamour, glossed over at the last moments to give it high shine. The ultra-thick eyelashes, with so many layers of mascara that they actually become both playful and femme.
It was then – right before the show – that I got the chance to speak with the legendary Belgian who has created so many memorable runway looks, not to mention the incredibly successful Dior Beauty products that have been made under his direction. Peter Philips has proven his ability to create not just a face for fashion, but ideas that translate into a real woman’s repertoire…
BW: What sets Dior Beauty apart from all the other beauty brands?
PP: Dior is a couture house with over six decades of experience in beauty – when Christian Dior started his line, he straight away started with perfume and lipsticks. So there’s a huge history, but also a huge expertise. The Dior Labs – they are amazing. People kind of forget because it’s a fashion house, but there is an expertise there that is kind of impressive – not only for makeup but for skincare. And they go hand in hand, so that’s already something exceptional.
BW: What is your favorite beauty product?
PP: Just one! Well, I do love Dior Pro – it’s a line that is so well thought through… It is inspired by makeup artists but created in a way that a woman at home can use the products and have some sort of an expert finish. And the colors are not complicated. For example: there are eye shadow palettes called Eye Reviver Palettes, which are five shades, a primer, a liner, and three shades. It’s all-in-one: very compact, and very easy.
There’s also the fix, which is kind of genius. Normally we would put foundation on the lip [before applying lipstick], but that dries out, so we came up with this idea which is sort of a lip balm combined with a concealer. It’s a multitasking product – it’s not too greasy because you don’t want to impact the forms you add later, and it has a blurring effect. I love those little products and they are very handy. The Star Concealer, too, is genius.
So that’s more than one favorite and I didn’t even start on colors, lipsticks, and eyeshadows…
BW: Is there one product that this collection has highlighted?
PP: The lipstick. I’m relaunching the Rouge Dior line and this is one of the shades I did for the line – Rouge Dior Poison. And it’s one of the first times Dior does this intense, not black, but deep dark plum. It’s a gorgeous color. Comfortable, and the pigment is long-lasting.
BW: It looks beautiful on the girls. Not too intense or dark.
PP: It’s actually intensified because, little show trick, it has a line underneath. I used the DiorShow Pro Liner for eyes which is black so it becomes darker for the show. And I’m going to top coat it last minute with gloss so I need something to keep the consistency.
BW: What was the biggest inspiration for you? Was there a specific source for this show to come up with the beauty look?
PP: It actually started with me presenting to Lucien and Serge before the couture show. They are also new, and I knew them as part of the team but I had yet to talk to them in a different way – as designers. So it was all new. I showed them what I wanted to do, and they showed me what they wanted to do, and we developed a relationship. I showed them the lipsticks and they loved the color so we took that as a base and built up from there. Then they started to show me their collection. There were a lot of contradictions in the collection – it’s a mixture of patterns, fabrics, asymmetric decoupage, almost deconstructed – but at the same time elegant – pieces.
BW: There’s a lot happening, a lot of little layers.
PP: It works! So I said let’s do that dark lip but let’s play with it also. So it’s a matte, highly pigmented – let’s make it super glossy, with almost a crystallin shine to it. If you do eyes, you don’t want to do lips, and if you do lips, you don’t do eyes. You want to get away from that. So let’s go for a soft eye, a luminous shade, a little pearlescent. For mascara – apply a lot, but don’t make it too pretty. Make it a little globby, chunky, asymmetrical. With the hair also, it’s a little boyish with little Swiss buns. So it’s all about those little contradictions happening everywhere, but at the end it works as a total.
BW: So when it comes to developing the beauty collections, do you look at the trends of the season or do you follow your own instinct?
PP: I work so far ahead that you kind of have a gut feeling – that’s why they asked me to come here. We already shot the campaigns for SS17! I always make sure that in my whole collection there is a base that every woman needs and every woman wants. So for example when I come out with a new collection, like my lipstick line, I’ll make sure that there are classics (like the gorgeous reds, peaches, and beiges), but then I also have some yellows and greens coming out which are really amazing. That’s why Dior really stands out. With those colors in that quality – you can really own it.
BW: Maybe it’s a collective consciousness!
PP: Probably! We work from the same DNA, so there might be something there. At the end of the day if it’s not matchy-matchy, you can always make it work.
And then, showtime!