Something strange happened during spring fashion weeks. Lipstick colours became…complicated. There was Prada’s hullabalooed hot red lip, where a sharp white line crested the Cupid’s bow. Elsewhere, backstage artists fussed with unlabelled lab pots of thick, Through the Looking-Glass brights, adding smacks of contrasting fluoro powders. At Jason Wu, the flat yet hyper-vivid result was powerful to behold and flattering to the wearer.
The heightened creativity incited a collective lip-colour crush. Many are flocking to anti-gloss formulas for intense colour payoff. The downside? While it stays put longer, lips can become weathered by day’s end. That’s why cosmetic companies are aiming for lipstick’s new sweet spot: instant, shine-free colour—sans desert dryness.
Nars’ popular lipstick-in-a-crayon is expanding from matte and glossy chubbies to Satin Lip Pencils, $30. Founder and creative director François Nars, a backstage fixture at Marc Jacobs, created 13 fashion-y shades, from Light Apricot to Vivid Watermelon to Shocking Pink, all in creamier, instant-bam! finishes.
Shiseido creative director Dick Page, the artist-in-rez at Michael Kors, is revamping the brand’s Perfect Rouge collection, deepening all 20 catwalk-ready hues with a secret “red illuminating pearl pigment.” For $30, hyaluronic acid and plumping oils promise a quenched kisser, while an embossed message—“Tokyo Ginza Shiseido”—on the bullet reminds you that you’re in luxury land.
The crème de la lip crème lies with Givenchy’s new Le Rouge, complete with a black leather exterior. Its heavy-weight pomp and silver studs refer to the house’s Emmanuelle Alt–trotted shoes and handbags. At $38, they’re a splurge, but no matter: Canadian lipstick sales increased by $44.9 million in just five years at last tally.
Why’s that? A recent sociological study suggests that during economic recessions, sales rise due to our evolutionary instinct to draw moneyed mates with our sexy pouts. Good news: Lipstick has been looking so good lately, PDA is now deemed acceptable. Public displays of application, that is.
It All Adds Up: The Season’s Right-As-Rainbow Lip Equations
Rochas x Lucia Pieroni: Clé De Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick in R2 + R1, $65 each + Check Color Duo in Pink, $85.
Prada x Pat McGrath: CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor in Hot, $11 + LipPerfection Lip Liner in Passion, $11 + Dolce & Gabbana Intense Kohl Eye Crayon in True White, $30.
Missoni x Lucia Pieroni: M.A.C Lipmix in White + Magenta + Orange, $18 each + Loose Pigment in Red Electric, $25.
Bleeding The Orchid
When designing Givenchy’s Le Rouge lipsticks, director for makeup Nicolas Degennes took on the role of artist and gardener. “I didn’t want to copy anything,” he says. Obsessed with nature’s “in-between” colours—nuanced tints that aren’t distinctly pink or red—Degennes turned to his favourite epiphytes: orchids. He threw a lunch for his international team of colour experts, asking each to bring blooms from their home country. The 60 exotic centrepieces resulted in the final 17 shades. Talk about flower power.