Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Whoever said that the industry’s hot shots aren’t human has obviously never met Peter Philips. The creative and image director of Dior Makeup for the past four years is known for his warm, genial nature – even to the press. Then there’s the story of how the brand’s latest offering, Dior Backstage – an extension of the Dior Backstage Proline – came about.

“When I started with Dior, I always used the Diorskin Star foundation, but there weren’t suitable shades for every model (walking the runway). I had to ask the labs to create a white foundation in the Star formula so I could mix and match, and adapt the colour,” he tells us.

“And that kind of made us think that women probably face the same problems when they go to the counter – and not everyone has the time to mix and match. So we thought, why not come up with a foundation line that’s really thorough?”

“Thorough” is exactly the word to describe the makeup base that anchors Dior Backstage. Dubbed Dior Backstage Face And Body Foundation, the fluid comes in 40 different shades (though only 21 are sold here), all formulated to be lightweight and easily buildable. The latter is a point Philips stressed on partly in response to all the beauty blogger tutorial videos invading the web today.

“Makeup tutorials tend to be about thick layers of makeup, high-contrast contouring and highlighting. A lot of women are impressed by it, but they are also very intimidated by it,” he says. “Real professional, fine-tuned makeup is lightweight and not only looks good in a selfie, but also in real life.”

Factoring in how the pros appreciate a base that won’t melt under spotlights – or the perspiration that can come from standing under one – the brand has made this foundation heat- and humidity-resistant too. (That this also helps in places like sweltering Singapore isn’t lost on us.) Such thoughtfulness towards the needs of makeup artists and women everywhere is what lies at the heart of Dior Backstage.

Besides the foundation, everything else comes in a palette with multiple shades, each meant to be easy to use and wear, and arranged in order of intensity – softest to strongest. Ever the one for detail, Philips made the cover of the cases transparent. Who has the time to open them to view the contents when you’re in a rush?

Each category is concise – all the essentials Philips thinks a woman needs distilled into one handy, portable package. There are, for example, just two Eye Palettes: one with cool tones, the other warm. Each has eight shades ranging from matte to shimmery finishes, along with a creamy primer that intensifies and extends the wear of the colour that’s applied on top of it.

“All the shades in each of these palettes are matching, so you can combine any of them together to create looks, but they all go together. There are no mistakes possible,” says Philips.

The Lip Palette – yep, there’s just one – is similarly intuitive: nine long-lasting shades that span a rosy nude to sophisticated burgundy, split up evenly across three rows. The ones on the p row are glossy, the middle ones satin, and the bottom ones matte. Use each individually or combine multiple to create the trendy ombre effect – it’s practically idiot-proof.

Philips’ personal highlight, the Glow Face Palette, epitomises how Dior Backstage is bout – in his own words – “technical products that are anything but intimidating”. Described by him as “a basic essential for a professional or every woman’s makeup kit”, it boasts four universal shades that feel lightweight and leave a pearlescent finish. White and gold work as highlighters, pink revives a dull complexion, and bronze warms up skin tones effortlessly for that sun-kissed look.

“What we want to do is to make easy products that people can use to look as if a makeup artist had done your makeup for you,” says Philips of the entire collection. “We don’t want to force women to have a professional makeup line in their bathroom. We want to provide an easy-towear line, and put all our expertise into it to make a woman’s 15 minutes in the bathroom easier.”

We tried it: It cut the time we usually spend on our makeup routine by a third. And, we swear, the finish looked so fine, one might have thought that Philips himself was behind it. Guess you could say that, in a way, for anyone who uses the collection, he very much always will be.

My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Face And Body Foundation, $65 each
“The payoff of this foundation is not full coverage. It’s lightweight, but you can build it up. It’s also heat- and humidity-resistant. Those are its benefits. It’s easy to apply, and you can find your shade. We also made it liquid because it’s easy to use on both face and body.” 
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Brow Palette, $65
Available in two colour intensities – light or dark – each palette contains a setting wax and two powder shadows. Use the lighter shade in each one as a base, then the darker one to fill holes, followed by the wax to set. Done.
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Lip Palette, $83
The colours in the top row are glossy, the middle ones satin, and the bottom ones matte, with the lightest shade on the left and the darkest on the right. Each can be used on its own, or mixed for an ombre effect.
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Contour Palette, $77
“There are four shades: the bottom two are matte to create a shadow, while the top two are a little pearlescent and they create the highlight. They are not very strong, but are pigmented in a way that you can build up.” 
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Eye Palettes, $83 each
“These palettes are easier to use than our 5 Couleurs eyeshadow palettes, which have contrasting colours and are more complicated. All the shades here match, so you can combine any of them. There are no mistakes possible.” 
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Brushes, $45-$104 each
All 13 in the range are inspired by Philips’ personal favourites. You don’t need all though. “With a good selection of five to six brushes, you can do any type of makeup,” he says.
My Reading Room
Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette, $77
The four shades are universal, with the top two functioning as highlighters, the pink to revive dull skin, and the bronze to lend warmth. “I’ve been using this ever since (it came back from the lab). It’s really the most amazing palette you can ever imagine, and it will last you a lifetime,” says Philips.