There she was. A sea of plucked marabou feather. A boxy clutch. Hair pulled back. Brows groomed. Red lipstick on. This was Oscar de la Renta’s new, well-travelled woman. And her story was as much about humility as it was strength and wanderlust. This was evident in the red lip. Soft. Mellow. Blurred at its edge. It spoke volumes about the kind of vagabond she was. She traversed time-zones, yet moved gently.
Red lipstick runs deep in the annals of beauty. It has long been a symbol of strength; Elizabeth Arden a notable figure in the construct of this, providing bullets of red lipstick to women marching to vote in 1912. Even Nancy Wake – Zimmermann’s muse in yesterday’s show – a proponent of this, carrying her Chanel red everywhere she went. A conduit of temerity and power, it forever holds rank as a marker of female might, even in the feminist zeitgeist of today.
But today’s articulation of the red lip sat with softness. Gently blurred, it circumvented the sex appeal and self-assured seduction one might associate with the red lip. It was delicate. Feminine. Almost adolescent in its translation; like a little girl playing dress-ups for the first time, imperfect and undone. But what it lacked in clarity and precision, it made up for it pigment. Despite its soft-focus finish, it was rich. Bold. A bright fire engine red that had been diffused with technique rather than product. With a tender touch, makeup artist Tom Pecheux began in the centre of the lip with this bright red, the gently dabbed outwards with a deeper crimson hue. Rather than a crisp red, it was like a soft halo of colour, which, despite its deliberate imperfection, stayed within the lines.
Despite its soft edge, it remained strong, much like the woman wearing it.