‘The Lipstick Effect’ – a term coined in 1929 during the Great Depression, when sales of lipsticks rocketed despite the poor economic climate – repeated itself during the latest recession and now, in the midst of the current Coronavirus crisis, it’s back again. Which is hardly surprising – there’s nothing more empowering or confidence boosting than adding a bright flash of colour to your lips.
That’s the power great make-up has: it can make us feel put together and in control, even when everything else around us is in disarray. It’s why so many of the world’s most revered and iconic women have embraced the power lip as one of their staple looks, from Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn to Madonna and Debbie Harry. Even the Queen has fallen prey to its charms, after she had a red lipstick created by Clarins for her 1953 coronation specifically to match the red robes of her outfit.
Throughout history the wearing of a bold shade has taken on myriad meanings, from being a political statement of defiance in World War II (Hitler famously didn’t like red lipstick) to a means of protest when worn by the American suffragettes. Today it still connotes a fearlessness of spirit and remains one of the most enduring beauty looks; now adding a bright lip to an otherwise make-up-free face looks so fresh and modern. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “On a bad day, there’s always lipstick.”
Then there’s the thrill of unboxing a new bullet. The sleek packaging, the perfectly sculpted tip, that satisfying click you hear when you close the lid; all do wonders to lift the spirits. This season that’s more true than ever, with a whole host of incredible new collections being released by major fashion houses, from Hermès’s first foray into the world of make-up to Chanel’s coveted new limited edition range.
Featuring 10 matte and 14 satin lipsticks, the Rouge Hermès collection – the brand’s eagerly anticipated make-up debut – was more than worth the wait. Inspired by the French fashion house’s extensive archive of silk and leather shades, the lipsticks are highly pigmented but feel wonderfully light to wear. As you’d expect from Hermès, the packaging is seriously chic, designed by creative director of Hermès jewellery and shoes Pierre Hardy. While limited-edition shades — special colours relating to the fashion house – come in retro colour-pop combinations that will change each season, the forever shades are cased in classic monochrome and gold. What’s more, all the cases are refillable and plastic-free. The subtly scented bullet, featuring notes of sandalwood, arnica and angelica and developed by the house’s perfumer Christine Nagel, makes it a gloriously decadent addition to your make-up bag.
Drawing on fashion’s penchant for Nineties nostalgia, the shimmery shades of the decade have been resurrected with Gucci Beauty’s new lipstick range, Rouge à Lèvres Gothique. Thanks to light reflecting pigments and a metallic gleam, the lipsticks not only add sheen and colour, they also make lips look fuller. Alessandro Michele used the glamour of Old Hollywood to inspire the shades in the collection, which features darker, gothic tones, while the names of the lipsticks hark back to characters from the golden era, from Norma Pink to Lynn Silver.
For a truly personal touch, not only do you get to choose your own shade (there are 36 in total) and finish (matte, satin or sheer) with this lipstick, you can also customise the case. From multi-coloured tassels to geometric prints and gold charms, there’s everything you could want to turn your lipstick into a miniature work of art. An accessory in its own right, the formulas live up to the hype too, delivering vibrant colour that doesn’t fade.
With a python-print bullet and a gold orb positioned at the base of each lipstick, the debut cosmetic collection from Jimmy Choo, which launched as a Harrods exclusive, is gloriously glamorous – just like their shoes. The 10 long-lasting, satin finish shades are no less bold, ranging from audacious reds to deep purples, with each bullet infused with the house’s new Iris Crush scent, a heady combination of iris, neroli and freesia.
Chanel’s iconic Rouge Allure range has been given a limited edition update, courtesy of the camellia flower. A long-time emblem of the house, this was Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower, and here it adorns the golden cap of four bold Rouge Intense shades, loved for their pigment-rich colour and staying power, and four matte Rouge Velours Lumineux lipsticks, which are pumped full of jojoba oil to achieve a smooth, velvety finish. The result is the Rouge Allure Camélia, a fitting tribute to the designer’s beloved bloom.
Containing a star-shaped core of hydrating balm that’s infused with pinky gold pearlescent pigments, Dior Addict’s Stellar Halo Shine lipstick comes in 25 shades and glides on effortlessly, smoothing over even the driest lips and imparting a shimmering wash of colour as it goes. Ideal if you’re not a fan of the matte effect, it still has a high colour payoff, without the worry of the pigment settling into creases, thanks to the hydrating aloe vera infusion.