Dolce & Gabbana, Milan Fashion Week, Summer 2011: Show Review, Interview with Pat McGrath

Published in: Makeup, News

The look at the Dolce & Gabbana runway show; All backstage photo credits: Delphine Achard and Ludovic Belmonte

You know how sometimes you see a look come down the runway and you’re like, “Whoa! Where the heck did that beam down from? Enterprise, do you read me?”


Take the orange eyeshadow makeup artists sent Tom Cruisin’ down the catwalk in New York not long ago. Don’t get me wrong — I lurves me some brights, and I’m all for artistic expression when it comes to le war paint, but it’s also nice to see runway looks I might actually wear in real life.

Staring up at the massively tall models backstage before the Dolce & Gabbana Summer 2011 Fashion Week show in Milan today, two thoughts kept coming to mind: 1) I am extremely short, and 2) I’d wear that makeup in a *hawt* second.

While multitasking makeup artist extraordinaire Pat McGrath worked her magic backstage, wielding her brushes like wands, I tried to stay out of everyone’s way. As she zipped around from girl to girl, dabbing a bit more blush here, reapplying a pair of false lashes there, she also gave feedback to the army of makeup artists assembled for the show.

The look — a sensual yet natural face brushed with nude, pink and brown — was created to complement the ethereal fabrics ruling the show.

That’s Pat on the right!

The Dolce & Gabbana models on the runway; All runway photo credits: Monica Feudi

I had a feeling backstage would be hectic, but I wasn’t prepared for the maelstrom of bodies, makeup, motion and chaos. And makeup.

Did I already say makeup? — because it was everywhere, covering every square inch of counter space (’twas glorious!), as if an angel had broken a piñata filled with the stuff, and it rained eyeshadow pans, powder jars, brushes, and tubes of lipstick and gloss from above.

Most of the products were Dolce & Gabbana’s, but I did see a couple of things from other companies sprinkled around the room, like MAC Face & Body Foundation, Benefit Powderflauge and Laura Mercier concealer.

I asked Pat what a regular Jane might do to translate today’s runway look into something easy to do at home. Her answer: Jane wouldn’t have to change a thing. Life, like makeup, doesn’t always have to be hard.

Ah… Music to my ears. 🙂

To get the look at home:

  1. It all starts with sensual skin: For a healthy looking canvas to work upon, Pat started by applying a shade of foundation perfectly matched to each model’s face and body.
  2. Get flushed cheeks with one of Pat’s favorite blushes: Next, she created a matte pink flush by sweeping Dolce & Gabbana Powder Blush in Caramel (a product that Pat recommends every woman have in her makeup bag) across the cheeks.
  3. BIG bright eyes: Next time you find yourself jet-lagged in a foreign country and running on four hours of sleep (LOL!), or pulling all-nighters before finals, create a wider, more open eye by lining both your upper and lower waterlines with a beige eyeliner. Pat used Dolce & Gabbana Nude liner.
  4. Make those peepers really POP with one of Pat’s favorite quads: She used the Dolce & Gabbana Nude Eyeshadow Palette extensively today. To make your eyes look a little bit more dramatic (but not overly so) draw a wet brush across the brown shades (mixing them), and apply the concoction along your lash lines. Then, work the beige and peach colors into the sockets and beneath your eyes to add depth.
  5. Mascara AND false lashes: To wrap up the eyes, Pat curled the lashes, then applied mascara to the upper ones only, finishing with falsies affixed along the outer corners.
  6. Lightly enhance the lips with a stain: Finally, a delicate color for the lips. Pat mixed the shades from the soon-to-be-released Jewel Lip Palette (I don’t have a specific release date yet; should hit shelves within the next few months) and lightly dabbed that onto the lips. What do ya think of the red jeweled cover? Cute, huh? It holds four pans of Dolce & Gabbana lipstick in Nude, Devil, Dahlia and Ultra.

Speaking of upcoming products, here’s a tidbit about Dolce & Gabbana’s new concealer: it comes in a click pen with a brush applicator (also expected within the next few months; I’ll post the exact date soon). Pat raved about this one, calling it “amazing” and “fantastic.” She says it really clings to skin and does a great job of covering up dark circles.


Pat also wanted to offer a few words for aspiring makeup artists. “Be prepared to work hard,” she said, “and be prepared to always listen no matter what the beef is. Don’t have any ego. And have a lot of fun.”

Pretty good life advice there too.

And with that, like Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects, she was gone! — disappearing into a miasma of models and makeup, LOL! 🙂

I’d actually thought I’d be able to take some pictures backstage, but no such luck. Security was tighter than usual, but the official house photographers did a pretty good job.

Your friendly neighborhood (star-struck) beauty addict and Pat

So what do ya think of the clothes and makeup? I’m digging both, but there’s no way I could wear a white outfit all day long without getting food (gelato!) or cat hair on it. Clumsy + food + cat = frequent fashion disasters. It is what it is.

This Is Random…

This is random, but after the show I ran into Bryan, the fabulous fashion blogger behind I wish you could see our legs in this pic, but homeboy was wearing some killer wedge cork heels, and each of his thighs — swear to god! — were half the size of mine. NOTE TO SELF: Stop eating so much Nutella. Oh, forget it. Really, who am I kidding?


As I was dragging my rear end out of the venue to come back here, the folks from Swide Magazine (check out their video of the runway show) actually stopped and asked ME for an on-camera interview with THEM. I think I just got in the shot by accident, LOL! I haven’t seen the interview yet and don’t know if they’ll actually post it anywhere visible to other humans, but if they do I’ll let you know!

It’s coming up on 3AM here so I’m off to hit the haaay! As the Italians say it, “Buona notte!”

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 65 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Alex (Shineypink) says:

    Awesome! Great coverage. Caramel? Like the kind in twix? Please break that down. Looks like you had a blasty blast.

  2. Christina says:

    What an awesome experience! It looks like you had so much fun and I love love love your earrings!

  3. Alex says:

    Looks like so much fun (and chaos)! I really love the looks on the models. I really wish there was a foundation I liked– everything just seems too cakey for my taste. Their skin just glows.

  4. sounds like such an amazing experience!

    i LOVE the makeup. don’t get me wrong, i love the “enterprise looks,” too :p. but nice, approachable, simple makeup is just as good.

    also love that pat used the face & body. i definitely need this product in my life!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … All About Eyes- Runway Edition – Alexandre Herchcovitch

  5. marisol says:

    How fabulous! What a great experience Karen. The make up looks so great and thanks for getting some tips for us regular Janes.
    marisol recently posted … And for the hundredth time

  6. Rae says:

    Yep, still just as exciting after the fact! Fabulous coverage, Karen — thanks so much for sharing your experience 🙂 The makeup is gorgeous, of course, and I totally love how wearable it is.
    Rae recently posted … Our third birthday

  7. Stephanie says:

    Yeeee! I am so excited and very much living vicariously though you right now!

    * I am supposed to studying for a pathology exam, shhhh*

  8. Amber says:

    So awesome, thanks for the peek backstage!

    The makeup looks divine!
    Amber recently posted … A little more organization

    • Karen says:

      It was perfection. I would’ve tried plopping my butt in a chair and pretending to be a model so I could get my makeup done but I suspect my “height challenges” would set off some alarms or something, ha ha!

  9. Audrey says:

    There is something wrong with the world when Alessandra Ambrosio is the shortest person in a photo of twenty girls!!

  10. Lisa S. says:

    This was soo awesome! I’m so excited for you and being able to see back stage is just crazy!
    Great coverage and it’s so neat that you were able to do this!

  11. woohoo for wearable makeup looks! ooh that D&G compact reminds me a LOT of Cosme Decorte Magie Deco packaging.
    makeup morsels recently posted … NOTD- Purply Taupe

  12. snoopysteph says:

    What an experience, Karen! I really love the makeup look they chose for the models – such a refreshing change from the usual alien-ish looks you normally see during fashion week. I’m really curious about the caramel blush!

    • Karen says:

      A lot of people seem to be, so when I get home I’ll pick up a pan from Saks so I can do a review/swatches. Sound good?

      Hope you had a lovely weekend! What did you do? BTW, kinda random did they ever get around to fixing the front of your office after that car crashed in the window?!?

      • snoopysteph says:

        A swatch would be great! I’ve yet to try any D&G beauty products so this might be a nice starter item.

        Yes, we have a brand new, beautiful office front & waiting room thanks to our insurance company! The owner of the vehicle is trying to say that the car was stolen at the time of the incident but we have an eye witness who says the driver didn’t flee the scene immediately. And you know if they had stolen the car they would have high-tailed it out of there ASAP! Plus there were house keys attached to the keys left in the ignition…dummies.

  13. leo says:

    looks like you’ve got a lot of fun!! and your photos are great!!

    (you DO miss Tabs, huh?? ;))

  14. Jess says:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing experience! Looks like sooo much fun!
    Jess recently posted … NOTD- OPI Miami Beet!

  15. Christy says:

    That looked like a great experience! It’s an old teenage dream to work backstage in a fashion show. 😉

    I wouldn’t stop eating Nutella, just a wee less and a bit more treadmill or elliptical time, plus some weight training to rev up the metabolism. That’s what I did 🙂
    Christy recently posted … MAC Disney Venomous Villains Evil Queen Hot House &amp Strange Potion Lipglass Review &amp Swatches

  16. Jen says:

    Wheee! Awesome post! Living vicariously through you right now.

    And is that Alessandra Ambrosio I see? Love her!

  17. sarahc says:

    Please! Post when they release the lip palette Karen OK?

    Great tips from Pat!

  18. Argyro says:

    ohh!!! I wish I could see all these!!! =)))
    lucky you!

  19. El says:

    Awesome post! Btw, love your hair and make-up 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  20. gio says:

    What an amazing experience! Sounds like you’re having a great time. Thanks for the grat coverage and tips.
    gio recently posted … Wanted! Essie Winter Collection 2010

  21. Sonja says:

    I’m so glad to see you having so much fun&you look great!!

    Love the make up on the models, they all look so radiant!

  22. Nina says:

    What an awesome, amazing, fantastic experience. Pat McGrath is a goddess! 🙂

    Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you! Youre so cute in that interview picture! 😀

  23. Eleonora says:

    I don’t know if it’s just me or not but..I think over the past few years all the models seem to look even thinnier than before. And it’s not a good thing 🙁

  24. Kim says:

    Look at you, Super Star!!! I’m so glad you had a good time. What a great experience! Thanks for giving us a peek, even though I pretty much felt the same way about my thighs after seeing those beautiful models. However, I took comfort in the immortal words of Morgan Freeman as Azeem in Robin Hood when he was asked by a child “why did God paint you?”. He replied with a smile, “Because Allah loves wonderous variety”. And I just happen to be one of the not-skinny-thighed varieties. 🙂

    PS LOVED the Keyser Soze reference!

  25. Shannon says:

    I can’t believe you got to go backstage at D&G!!! Then, to be able to see THE Pat McGrath work her magic in person!!! You’re so lucky. You looked amazing too 🙂 Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  26. Sarah B. says:

    The makeup is so gorgeous! It’s just so pretty– I especially love the soft pink lips.

    Who sells Dolce and Gabbana makeup? I’ve only ever seen it at Saks.

  27. Jenn says:

    Ahh, Pat McGrath is a LEGAND!! I’m so excited for you! 🙂
    Jenn recently posted … MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme Swatches

  28. Deb says:

    What an awesome post! I really love the makeup looks, too. They are some of the prettiest runway looks I’ve seen in a long time, and it really gave the images an ethereal yet down to earth feel.
    Deb recently posted … Extra Strawberry Shortcake Gum

  29. mkdallas says:

    ZOMG! So exciting for you to actually BE there! Are we going to learn about the path that took you there, i.e. were there other US beauty bloggers there, etc.? The makeup on those models is truly beautiful; such glowing skin! I bet Tabs is hella PO’d that you’re away from home, though. He’s gonna give you some major ‘tude when you get home.

  30. Trude says:

    So exciting! Love the look from the show, so soft and pretty.
    Trude recently posted … Happy Friday!

  31. lexi says:

    I am in awe of you – I am hoping to make it to Italy next year. Keeping my fingers crossed! Excellent coverage and I always wanted to meet the fabulous Pat McGrath – what is she like in person?

  32. LOVE this makeup! For those of us who aren’t 16-year-old Eastern European models, it’s def more wearable than the orange 🙂

    Not sure whether I’m more jealous that you’re hangin’ with Pat or that you got to go to Milan! Wowza.

  33. Alexandra says:

    Yay for Alessandra Ambrosio 🙂 The make up looks gorgeous. Not that i need any more products on my wish list lol.

  34. Megan says:

    Sounds like a great experience! These are things many beauty gurus only dream of. 🙂 I love the upcoming Dolce & Gabanna Jewel Lip palette! …and Pat McGrath! How lucky you are!

  35. Elle says:

    I’ve been reading all of your Milan posts–amazing!!! I love the pic of you and Pat! I’m so happy that you got to experience all of that (and share it with us obvs). 🙂

  36. Diva Style says:

    Awesome post, Karen!! Kudos to you for making this dream come true!! Fantastic reporting!! And isn’t Pat McGrath just fabulously talented!?! Love it!

  37. Maygan Dale says:

    Karen I think I screamed a little when I saw this. Okay well it was more like a a teenage girls meeting Justin Beiber kinda sound! I am so jealous! No really I am drinking some hater-aide! This is amazing! Did you get a chance to meet Aaron Henrickson? Hes one of Pats top artist and a total sweetie! We had his work with us one day in NYC . This is amazing!!! Im going to repost on my miniblog if you dont mind… this is so cool. I cant imagine how excited you must have been to be backstage! Now Im going to spend the rest of my night looking back over your Milan posts ( much better than finishing laundry)

    I havent seen the holiday Ruby palette so again your ahead of the staff on this one:)

    I know people always say the stuff is pricey but if they take advantage of Saks friends and family they can save 10%. I know it not enough but at least its something. Ive been reaching out to some of your commentee’s and offering to send them some homemade samples and facecharts with little mini samples attached. Everyone loves it!

    Okay back to reading 🙂 Thank you so much for this post~!!!

  38. Great look, I love the fact that it’s not too hard to achieve at home. Btw that Jewel Lip Palette looks too cute. Me wants!

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