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Pat McGrath Labs Goes Big in Britain, Opening at H Beauty, Flannels

“People are so excited, I think, to be in stores again. They’re happy to be able to leave their homes and experience and touch color,” said Pat McGrath, who is opening across the U.K. at brick-and-mortar retailers and online.

Pat McGrath Labs is preparing to take the U.K., and judging from the enthusiastic response during a recent Claridge’s event, the nationwide rollout is long overdue.

Dame Pat McGrath held beauty writers in her thrall as she presented the spring 2023 season’s runway looks, upcoming trends and a selection of her brand’s products.

She also talked about wearing face tapes; argued that her Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence was good enough to drink; and, at one point, picking up an eyeliner, said: “You can all do this kohl look — I don’t want any excuses.”

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During the event, McGrath’s pal Guido Palau swung by to say hello – a move that elicited a quick round of applause from the audience — while Nicolas Ghesquière popped his head through the door and blew kisses at her.

The English-born, New York-based McGrath was in London ahead of a major push in the U.K. over the next month. Her brand will expand far beyond Selfridges, where it launched exclusively in 2019, taking over more than 20 windows.

Pat McGrath Labs will launch at four H Beauty stores in England and Scotland; a further four at Flannels in England and Northern Ireland; at Cult Beauty and at Sephora, which, as reported, is launching in the U.K. Oct. 17 following its purchase of last year.

The U.K. is Pat McGrath Labs’ second-largest market after the U.S., and a significant one given McGrath’s British background; honor from Queen Elizabeth II in 2021, and high-profile work with European magazines and brands.

A look at the new Pat McGrath Labs space in Liverpool, England.

“The U.K. is smaller than the U.S., but it’s an important market that is very dear to our hearts. You are soon going to see Pat McGrath Labs all over the U.K.,” said Thierry Maman, the company’s global managing director.

He said competition in the U.K. is ferocious, but the brand sees great potential and an enthusiastic luxury audience. There are plans for a variety of exclusives and activations at the different stores, and online.

The U.K. launch is part of a wider international and digital expansion strategy that has seen the brand expand in the Middle East, India and Continental Europe. Pat McGrath Labs is also set to launch in mainland China.

Asked about U.K. customer habits, McGrath said they are similar to what she’s seeing in the U.S. “Here in my home [country], they love newness and playing with color, having fun and being daring. In the U.S., it’s the same. I’ve always felt there’s a synergy between the two.”

She also said physical in-store shopping is back with a bang.

“People are so excited, I think, to be in stores again. They’re happy to be able to leave their homes and experience and touch color,” said McGrath, adding that she recalls the thrill of shopping as a child, “and looking at beautiful products. It was always aspirational. You wanted more, you want to feel and to see. All of these things are still important.”