New book celebrates the subversive genius of make-up artist Inge Grognard

‘Inge Grognard, Makeup 1989-2005’ is a new book that explores the ‘beauty revolution’ ignited by the make-up artist’s early work with Maison Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten and more

Inge Grognard Makeup looks in black and white from the book Inge Grognard Makeup 1989-2005
Left, Maison Martin Margiela make-up test, S/S 1991; right, BAM No3 editorial, Summer 1990
(Image credit: Make-up: Inge Grognard. Photography: Ronald Stoops)

Inge Grognard, Makeup 1989-2005 is a new book from the young publishing house  Zegris Books that showcases the early career work of make-up’s great iconoclast. Inge Grognard’s career launched in the mid-1980s when she became the make-up artist for the Antwerp Six, including Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, as well as her childhood friend Martin Margiela. 

Inge Grognard make-up explored

Look from Inge Grognard Makeup book, showing bleached brows and hair with black marks on face

Jurgi Persoons, A/W 1998-1999 lookbook

(Image credit: Make-up Inge Grognard. Photography Ronald Stoops)

Since then, Grognard has worked with Balenciaga, Haider Ackermann, Hood By Air, Vetements and more; but the new beauty book primarily focuses on her work in the Antwerp fashion scene of the late 1980s to the early 2000s, where she pioneered her signature subversive, do-it-yourself style.

Images show models with a bold painted-on unibrow, or deliberately misapplied mascara, or blanched, monochromatic features. The results are captivating and also challenging; they pose philosophical questions about our perceptions of beauty as much as they titillate our aesthetic sensibilities. 

image from Inge Grognard make-up book, showing woman with red lips and a white shirt

BAM No2, summer 1989, editorial

(Image credit: Make-up: Inge Grognard. Photography: Ronald Stoops)

As Olivier Zahm, co-founder of Purple magazine, writes in his introduction for the book: ‘Grognard’s beauty revolution is essentially feminist. She uses make-up as an artistic gesture, an intimate revolt, one that allows each woman to reclaim her beauty, her inner turmoil, her hidden conflicts, her fragility and to reach beyond the masculine imperative of seduction.’ 

Inge Grognard Makeup on young Kate Moss

Kate Moss backstage at the A/W Maison Martin Margiela 1992–1993 show

(Image credit: Make-up: Inge Grognard. Photography: Ronald Stoops)

He continues, ‘Her work marked both a brutal break with traditional beauty conventions and a leap into the future with an aesthetic that is still defining the beauty of tomorrow.’ 

Indeed, as Grognard’s recent work with Balenciaga, in particular, has shown, she is still one of the most innovative forces in the industry, constantly reconfiguring our definitions of beauty. 

Inge Grognard, Makeup 1989–2005, £20,

Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.