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x – Steven Pan

In the Queen’s New Year 2021 Honours List, the legendary make-up artist Pat McGrath has been awarded D.B.E. Dame of the British Empire for services to the Fashion and Beauty industry and Diversity. She is the first make-up artist to achieve such recognition, having been awarded with an MBE in 2014.   

Often cited as one of most influential people in the creative industries, 50 year old Northampton-born McGrath is behind dozens of catwalk make-up looks each fashion season – creating beauty looks for brands including Prada, Dior and Gucci – as well as the make-up for every cover of Italian Vogue for twenty years. She is also the Beauty Editor-at-Large for British Vogue since 2017, and in 2019 was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people list. 

As well as her skill as a make-up artist, McGrath also runs her own eponymous make-up range Pat McGrath Labs which she launched in 2015. By 2019, the range was valued at $1 billion and the biggest selling beauty brand in Selfridges’ history, cementing her position as one of Britain’s most successful beauty exports. 

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xx – Ben Hassett

“I am truly delighted and humbled to be given this wonderful honour,” McGrath said in a statement following the announcement. “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.  

“Colour across the spectrum is my life’s work and inspiration and I celebrate individuality particularly with my brand Pat McGrath Labs, so I am especially honoured that this award is also for diversity. I believe that with creativity and resilience there can be abundant possibilities and that is certainly true today with this award.”  

News of McGrath’s honour has been a positive note to end a very difficult year for the British beauty industry, which has seen the sector shrink by an estimated 30 percent following the pandemic. However McGrath’s trailblazing work to create inclusive make-up has seen her brand flourish even in difficult times. Donatella Versace said, “Pat is also one of the most important champions for inclusivity, diversity and freedom of expression in all of its forms.”

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Speaking of the award, Baroness Valerie Amos said: “I am delighted at the news that Pat McGrath has been honoured with a damehood for her work in fashion, the creative arts and diversity. Pat is a true inspiration who has represented Britain brilliantly around the world for decades through her ground-breaking work and creativity. Her unique flair, talent, hard work and entrepreneurship deserve recognition.”