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Model Bella Hadid and make-up director Peter Philips arrive in Dubai for Dior exhibition

Bella Hadid’s entry to The Dubai Mall created the kind of hysteria more in keeping with a Justin Bieber concert.

In town for the launch of the long-awaited Dior, The Art of Color exhibition, supermodel Hadid (Gigi Hadid’s sister, and the face and brand ambassador for Dior Beauty) was surrounded by a frenzied scrum of bloggers, media and society figures.

As the crowd jostled to get a view of the lovely Hadid (and we can confirm, she is indeed lovely in the flesh) I found myself standing next to a quiet, unprepossessing man. I did a double take when I realised this was Peter Philips, creative and image director of Dior Make-Up. In other words, the man behind the exhibition.

Appointed in 2014, the vastly experienced Philips previously headed up Chanel cosmetics.

I asked, gesturing to the zoo in front of us, if he minded that Hadid was grabbing all the attention. ”Oh no,’ he replies, smiling. ”I am a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. I am happy she is here and that everyone wants to see her. She is a lovely girl. She loves make-up and knows a lot about it.”

Standing against a backdrop of some of the stunning images from the eponymous book that inspired this exhibition, Philips talks me through the display.

”This exhibition is about the book, and the book is an homage to Dior and beauty, and the incredible work created.”

Dior, The Art of Color is a retrospective of the long and dynamic history the house of Dior shares with make-up.

Dior Beauty was launched in 1967, when Christian Dior asked Serge Lutens to create a make-up line. The multi-talented Lutens poured all of his experience as a hair stylist, photographer and make-up artist into the project, going on to shoot some of the iconic images that now grace the book’s pages.

Control of the department then passed to make-up artist and photographer Tyen, who was made creative director of cosmetics in 1981.

Speaking about his predessors, Philips explains: ”The work they did is just fantastic. I have only been at Dior for three years, so I feel I have a small role in this book. But we needed more pages, so I did a shoot and made 12 images”

The book’s cover is an image created by Serge Luton when he first joined Dior in the 1960s.

Philips says: ”Although some of the images are now over 40 years old, they are still very fresh and very daring. And that’s why we produced this book.”

Each of the chapters tie in to Dior make-up’s 12 key colours, and then place these against the works of art that the shades evoke. For example, the chapter on blue has a make-up image by Tyen next to a piece of art by contemporary artist Tracey Emin.

”There has always been a crossover between art and fashion,” notes Philips, and this exhibition is a great example of that.

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