’Tis the season to ramp up the glamour. "It's all about opulence and shine," says Pat McGrath with a smile. "Bring on the sparkle, the shimmer, and the metallics!"
For a rapturous holiday bash, McGrath, or “Mother”—as she is known in the beauty stratosphere—is seeing to it that her latest muses radiate bolder and brighter than everyone else. "I don’t really believe in rules when it comes to makeup—especially during the holidays," explains the makeup visionary, breaking into her old couture show kits to supply next-level sparkle. "I say try something new or bold—a gold eye, a deep crimson or glitter lip, flickering metallics. Express your individuality and let your creativity shine." To exemplify her holiday philosophy, McGrath transformed models into a set of distinct characters, all with luminous skin and strategic look-at-me-touches that had drama and individuality reigning supreme.
Subverting preppy style codes, Stella Maxwell's prim and proper alter ego has lids stacked in glitzy golden crystals, while Akon Changkou, playing party girl, wears jolts of emerald eyeshadow, taking flight with diamanté tips. Strokes of eyeliner are similarly statement-making; a suited-up Alana Felisberto's ice blue stare is encased in punkish onyx wings against a clean complexion, while confident queen Noah Carlos wears flashes of red-hot pigment along the brow bones with a set of glittering crimson talons to match. Eniola Abioro, embodying a celestial—astrology-obsessed—being, sports a quartet of rope braids, her almond gaze shaded in a shimmering violet hue fitting in more ways than one. "Purple is the color of royalty in my country," she says with a twinkle in her eye—and gleaming vinyl lips. Taking a turn to the dark side, He Cong goes for elegant goth, kicking a moody color palette up a notch by pairing a Bordeaux-painted pout with elongated smoky eyes punctuated by pops of cool cerulean blue on the inner corners. "Today, it feels people are obsessed with customization, individuality, and standing out from the crowd, which has always been my approach," says McGrath.
Inside a whimsical powder room, touch-ups of McGrath's next-level looks are taking on new life against groovy floral wallpaper, a glowing vanity mirror, and a menagerie of wind-up animal figurines. Color is more saturated and sparkles are—extra—blinding. This is where the real party happens.
The Posh Prep
"She's very put together and OCD, but she has a little bit of a wild side," says Stella Maxwell, decked out in Chanel tweed to slip into her buttoned-up character. Using Gold 001, her first product ever, McGrath layers on the limited-edition gold shadow on the Brussels-born blonde's gaze, topping it off with an aureate gem-encrusted veil-like eye jewelry. "She lives on the edge with sophistication," the pro explains. "She's indulging decadent shine!" Full fringe, glossy pink lips, and a bouncy blowout secured with blasts of hairspray finish the look.
The Glam Goth
"There’s a mysterious allure," says McGrath of the glam-goth persona Chinese model He Cong is channeling, slinking around the party in a black sequin Saint Laurent mini-dress. Her I'd-rather-be-somewhere else attitude only adds to her bewitching brand of beauty. Cong's look centers on a deep, dimensional crimson lip and smoked-out lids with flashes of metal, courtesy of the Eye Ecstasy Subversive Palette.
The Life of the Party
"We should all be unafraid of color and shine—not just party girls!" says McGrath. To cut it up on the dance floor, South Sudanese stunner Akon Changkou receives a duo of shimmering green wings dotted with crystals. "The winged eye is one of my favorites, especially for lifting the eye," she explains while filling the shape with Mothership II: Blitz Emerald. "Doing it in a bold color really takes the effect to the next level!" Too much for Changkou? Never. "You can never have enough shimmer!" she insists while shimmying in a baroque print Versace set.
The Debonair Bombshell
"Makeup is transformative for everyone," says McGrath, wielding Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in Xtreme Black to trace a pair of matte, jet-black wings with punkish spike detail on Brazilian newcomer Alana Felisberto. "This is so powerful." With her damp strands slicked back into a sharp, polished knot, Felisberto is all business. "I feel so strong," says the model, her sharp cobalt talons popping the collar of the white button-down layered beneath her checked print Balenciaga suit.
The Confident Queen
"Color makes you confident!" says McGrath. "Even if all you do is trace a delicate line and leave the rest of your face neutral, you'll make a statement." Draped in in a tweed peplum jacket with scarlet fishnet overlay by Alexander Wang, 18-year-old beauty Noah Carlos wears a bolt of fire-engine red along the creases, their glowing skin enhanced with a "femme-fatale flush," McGrath blending Luxetrance Lipstick in deep rose Unfaithful and Eyedols Eye Shadow in neutral taupe Statuesque on the cheekbones. "It's devil horns from here on out!" laughs Carlos.
The Celestial Individual
"There's more to life, more to the galaxy," says Eniola Abioro. "It's all aligned." The Nigerian beauty—and tender-hearted Cancer—is always looking to the stars for answers. "I’m a Gemini, so I’m all about duality," explains McGrath, mixing Blitz Astral Quad in Nocturnal Nirvana and Chromaluxe Hi-Lite Cream in Astral Blue Stat to create a holographic, crystalline violet sheen on the eyes. "The mix of jewel tones with metallics is divine, and perfect for the holidays when it’s all about sparkle and shine."
Directed by Alana O'Herlihy
Fashion Editor: Zara Mirkin
DP: Peter Pascucci
Hair: Evanie Frausto
Makeup: Pat McGrath
Manicure: Mei Kawajiri
Set Design: Jesse Kaufmann
Editor: Yasmin Jansen
Originally Appeared on Vogue