Pat McGrath Created Peel-Off “Alien Skin” at Margiela, But

“Aliens” just invaded Maison Margiela’s spring haute couture show. Walking down the runway on January 5, models appeared as other-worldly creatures with supernaturally lustrous skin that left the internet completely mesmerized. The genius that she is, makeup artist Pat McGrath was responsible for the enchanting effect: “It’s a modern take on porcelain glass skin,” her team shared in a press release. “Skin is coated in a hyper-shiny glaze, mimicking the smooth, reflective quality of glass.” But we — alongside other earthlings — are still investigating exactly how these humans were transformed into such ridiculously shiny space dolls with not a single pore on their face.

Model in alien doll makeup backstage at Maison Margiela

Pat McGrath Labs

McGrath was coy about what product she used to create the effect, but beauty detectives quickly pointed to Kryolan Professional Make-Up’s Liquid Glass (a liquid formula typically used in special-effects makeup, making it the perfect product to create this gleaming canvas) as the main suspect.

Makeup artist Erin Parsons had a different hypothesis, based on insight from a makeup artist who worked on the show, that the product used was a custom mix made with a water-based formula. This led Parsons to conclude that McGrath applied Freeman’s Renewing Peel-Off Gel Mask — and it’s a sound theory, partially because models were seen peeling their full faces of makeup off after the show. Parsons tested it out herself by watering down the cult-favorite face mask from the mid-2000s and airbrushing it onto her skin in layers. “This look was so incredibly genius, and the technique is mindblowing,” Parson said on TikTok.

Model in alien doll makeup backstage at Maison Margiela

Pat McGrath Labs

Model in alien doll makeup backstage at Maison Margiela

Pat McGrath Labs

McGrath hasn’t confirmed either of these theories to be true but did say that “all will be revealed very soon,” in a recent Instagram post.

In the meantime, we’re inspired to swipe on our makeup boldly, set aside our rosy pink blush for a vibrant shade of yellow or coral, and experiment with a smudge of lime lipstick, just as McGrath did on these models at Margiela.

Models in bold eye makeup at Armani Priv Couture show

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Model in bedazzled eyebrows at Jean Paul Gaultier couture show

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Model in feather eyelashes at Giambattista Valli Couture show

Getty Images

If the makeup from this season’s haute couture — like the electric tie-dye eyes at Giorgio Armani, the feathery, extra-long eyelashes at Giambattista Valli, or the bejeweled lips and brows at Jean Paul Gautier — is any indication, an astronomical year for bold makeup lies ahead.