“Beverly Hills” — it’s Sisley’s newest lip color. Makeup artist Patrick Foley is behind the shade, “the perfect beige,” he said, both in color and texture.
“I worked closely with the d’Ornano family and their global team,” Foley said of the French owners. “We sent samples back and forth from Los Angeles to Paris.”
This is the first time the brand has collaborated with an in-house makeup artist in this way. Part of the Le Phyto-Rouge Shine collection, the packaging is refillable with a hydrating and plumping formula containing a “hydrobooster complex.” It’s out Thursday exclusively at Neiman Marcus — where Sisley first launched when it entered the U.S market.
Foley joined the luxury retailer in 2019, coming from Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.
“He was still fully booked for the last few weeks at Barneys,” said Gretchen Pace, vice president and market general manager at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, of bringing him on. “I think he would have stayed there. And I told him, I said, ‘I know you’re fully booked. But I think the end is probably inevitable, and I think you could build the next chapter with us.’”
Foley, a sought-after beauty consultant, has had a 34-year career working with the likes of the late Farrah Fawcett, a longtime friend; Raquel Welch; Jaclyn Smith, and Jane Fonda. He sees as many as 14 clients a day — celebrities, beauty enthusiasts and ladies who lunch — inside his private studio, located down a hall on the beauty floor of the Beverly Hills location.
Here, he discusses his background and work in the business of beauty and retail.
WWD: What led you to the beauty industry?
Patrick Foley: I kind of fell into it. I grew up in Maine, so I never even knew there were makeup artists. If someone wore makeup, they did it themselves. I worked with Farrah Fawcett for years, and she was someone I was really close to.
When I first started [at Barneys New York] my boss said to me, “You’re only going to last six months.” And I didn’t do great at first, because no one knows you exist. But slowly, you can start connecting with clients, and how you connect with them is selling them what’s right…You want to be as honest as you can.
WWD: How did you meet Farrah Fawcett?
P.F.: I was working with a lot of different people at that time, like Barbara Sinatra, Angie Dickinson, Dyan Cannon…I was at Saks. She came to the counter, and I just started helping her. She was buying all this stuff, and I’m like, “No, I don’t think that’s right.” I sat her down, and I did it. It was a slow build, but then we got really close.
WWD: Did your career start at Saks [Fifth Avenue]?
P.F.: Believe it or not, it started when I was 17 [years old], and I needed a job…I was [a fragrance model at Beverly Center] for Chanel in 1986. I had to wear a tank top. Everything about that job I hated…But slowly, I would gear towards the lipsticks, not knowing anything about lipstick and just playing. They’d be like, “Can you help this person?” I would ask the consultants questions like, “What are you doing,” and I learned that way. I started slowly buying makeup and playing with it just for myself.
Then I went to the Chanel boutique [on Rodeo Drive], and I started helping Betsy Bloomingdale and some of their other top clients. They didn’t know I didn’t know about makeup. I started it and stayed with them for 10 years. I got really good at it. But I just took art classes. I never took a makeup class. Makeup is practicing. If you can understand color and texture, anyone can be a good makeup artist.
WWD: After Barneys, what made you want to join Neiman Marcus?
P.F.: It’s funny. I really was the last person to think Barneys was closing. They were literally taking out the chair. But I connected with Gretchen. I was so vulnerable, oddly, and I knew I had to be with someone that I trusted. And it was Gretchen. It was not very complicated for me.
WWD: What is the beauty consumer looking for today?
P.F.: Easy, high-performance, result-driven products.
WWD: How has the pandemic impacted your work?
P.F.: To be honest, not as much as one would think. My loyal customers stayed loyal, but our conversations changed. Instead of doing makeup for occasions, I was teaching customers about the importance of a skin care routine. They still wanted to learn from me, but the lessons pivoted to align with the times.
The industry as a whole had to get creative, but isn’t that what we do best? The focus shifted to skin care, and then there were moments of having fun with color again or learning a new skill or technique.
WWD: What trends have you noticed?
P.F.: More diversity in color tones for all skin tones, bright pinks and oranges on the eyes. The lip liner is back.
WWD: What beauty tricks did you learn early on that you still apply today?
P.F.: Foundation is just that, a foundation to build on. Soft taupe eyebrow pencil works on everyone. Blush gives the face an instant, easy pop. Use a lighter powder through the center of the face.
WWD: What advice would you give to a makeup artist who’s looking to have longevity in the beauty industry?
P.F.: Stay true to yourself and your clients. Be consistent, listen, find solutions, check your ego. And have some fun along the way.