The Beauty Look at Dior's 2021 Cruise Show Was All About Going Back to Basics

Simplicity was key at this year's show.

Photo: Courtesy

On July 22, in the middle of the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, Italy, singers, dancers, an orchestra, and of course, models gathered — all either socially distanced or wearing PPE — for Dior's 2021 Cruise Show.

While distinct from shows past due to coronavirus precautions, the magic of Dior was still ever-present on the iconic runway.

The clothes, crafted by Maria Grazia Chiuri, were stunning as usual. This year's collection was inspired by the essence of Lecce, offering a mix of both neutral and earthy tones. It was filled with a general simplicity that was much appreciated during a chaotic moment in history.

The pandemic has moved the vast majority of us to go back to basics in recent months; with some of us being forced to accept more of our natural features than we anticipated at the start of the new decade. Yet, the spirit of neutrality and simplicity is the exact look creative and image director for Dior makeup Peter Philips wanted to capture when it came to beauty for this year's show.

"It's a very simple makeup look," he shared with InStyle backstage. "It's about that strong, natural woman — being luminous. Being a radiant, confident woman."

Following strict hygiene rules has always been a top priority for Philips, but this year's protocol was tenfold.

Makeup artists wore all the necessary PPE, including masks and face shields, while working with models in the spacious backstage area. Each girl had her own set of products, labeled with their names to prevent any potential cross-contamination. Frequent hand washing and strict sanitization processes were a must.

Yet despite the extra equipment, which can undoubtedly make the art of pristine makeup application more difficult, the end result was remarkable.

"Everything we did to enhance the radiance was natural," said Philips. "It's not with pearlescent [makeup] or anything shiny. It's about well-hydrated skin and using the right products to enhance that natural glow."

Dior Cruise 2021

Skin prep began with Dior's Capture Totale C.E.L.L. ENERGY Super Potent Age-Defying Intense Serum, followed by the line's face cream.

Next, Philips applied the Dior Backstage Face & Body Primer to even out complexion, then painted the Backstage collection's Face & Body Foundation on top. "[I applied] a really fine layer — not too much — on top of the moisturizer and the primer just to give the illusion of perfect skin," he explained.

For the eyes and eyebrows, Philips only used three products: Dior's cult-favorite Diorshow Brow Styler, along with Pump 'N Brow and the revamped Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in 090 Black.

"It's the perfect mascara for a natural makeup look, but you can build it up," he said of the new formula.

Dior Cruise Show 2021

Finally, for the lips, Philips began with Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub to give the girls a smooth base, then applied Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss, making sure to blot with a tissue.

"It's a look that really fits every woman," he said of the beauty direction. "It's a very diverse casting, every girl looks great. No matter their ethnicity, they look luminous."

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As far as the future of runway makeup goes, no one can predict what will come next or how the backstage protocol will change as the pandemic continues to unfold. However, Philips doesn't see the shift as a loss, but rather as an opportunity to embrace something new.

"There will always be a place for backstage," he exclaimed, making reference to the repositioning of the music industry when MTV came to air in the early '80s. "It didn't kill live performances, it didn't affect people buying music, but it created a new platform. I think these new virtual formats are creating a new way of communicating."

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