NEW YORK — To the envy of prestige and mass beauty companies alike, Procter & Gamble Cosmetics has recruited one of the most powerful forces in the beauty and fashion industry, superstar makeup artist Pat McGrath.

McGrath, who is preparing for fashion week commitments at Anna Sui, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein this season, is in the midst of getting acquainted with her newest client, the $51.4 billion consumer-products giant.

At a cocktail party Thursday evening at the Bryant Park Hotel, Marc Pritchard, president of P&G global cosmetics and hair colorants, proudly announced McGrath’s appointment to the newly created position of P&G global cosmetics creative design director.

“We think Pat is a perfect fit for P&G Cosmetics. Pat is recognized as an innovator within the fashion and beauty communities and has brought her expertise to the pages of top fashion books, the runway and celebrity fans. Our strategic alliance further reinforces P&G’s commitment to developing the latest innovative product concepts and cutting-edge design,” Pritchard said Wednesday.

And while McGrath is admittedly still familiarizing herself with P&G’s cosmetics brands, namely Cover Girl and Max Factor, she does plan on using a handful of Cover Girl and Max Factor products backstage at the three fashion shows she will collaborate with this season, effectively catapulting these two mass beauty brands into the world of high fashion.

The multiyear partnership signals the continued blurring of mass and prestige, as mass beauty marketers attempt to elevate the image of their brands, and prestige players look for ways to introduce themselves to a broader consumer base.

While the company declined to comment, industry sources estimate P&G could be paying McGrath more than $1 million a year.

McGrath, a 20-year mainstay in the beauty industry who has made a name for herself dreaming up novel looks for the fashion shows of notable designers such as Christian Dior and Dolce and Gabbana, noted she was looking forward to using her beauty and fashion experience to create unique products for a broader audience of women.

“With [P&G’s] asset of state-of-the-art research and development and technology, and my deep understanding of color, concept and product innovation, this is going to be a great marriage,” she said.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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McGrath is no stranger to product development, having consulted on the creation of L’Oréal’s Giorgio Armani cosmetics collection.

Her mission, said Pritchard, will be to “create products for our customers that translate trends from runway to ‘real-way.’”

While no specific projects are planned to date, McGrath said she is brimming with ideas, adding that she and P&G agree shopping for mass cosmetics should be both easier and more fun.

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