Pioneering make-up artist and cosmetics industry entrepreneur Pat McGrath has been awarded the DBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to the fashion and beauty industries, and to diversity.
McGrath has been dubbed “the most influential make-up artist in the world” by Vogue and in 2019 appeared in Time magazine’s list of the most influential people. She is also regularly cited as one of the most important and influential black Britons.
Born to a working class family in Northampton, McGrath competed a foundation course in art at Northampton College after which she moved to London in the 1980s. She went on to became a favourite collaborator to rising British fashion designers, such as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.
In the 1990s she worked alongside Edward Enninful, now Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue, at i-D magazine and supplemented her income by working part-time as receptionist.
Giorgio Armani recognised McGrath’s talent and in 1999 invited her to co-create a make-up line for his fashion house and went on to win numerous awards for her work, culminating in an MBE in 2014.
A year later she established Pat McGrath Labs, which by 2019 had achieved “unicorn” status and became the best-selling beauty line in Selfridges. Earlier this year she partnered with cult skate brand Supreme on a lipstick, which was one of the most sought-after products of the year.
She said of the latest honour: “I am truly delighted and humbled to be given this wonderful honour. My mother’s obsession with beauty and fashion ignited my passion for this amazing industry and I feel blessed to have the privilege of working with some of the most extraordinary people throughout my career.”
The Honours list this year was, understandably, dominated by those who have contributed to the national effort during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.