The presentation for Hermès Beauty in Paris last month began with a large projection of a horse—George Stubb’s oil canvas work Whistlejacket. That’s because the luxury fashion house considers the ultimate expression of outer beauty to be a horse. It may seem like an unlikely point of inspiration for a new line of makeup. Yet horses are strong, graceful, fierce—and at the very core of the brand’s DNA. It’s been hand-crafting leather saddles since 1837, after all. At Hermès, horses prove in the power of elegance.
Over the course of two centuries, Hermès has expanded beyond the equestrian to all forms of luxury goods—from Birkin bags to dog collars and iconic scarves. The brand has offered cult-favorite perfumes and colognes for years, but color cosmetics have always been just a kaleidoscopic dream for makeup enthusiasts everywhere. Until now: Rouge Hermès, a collection of 14 satin and 10 matte lipsticks, has finally hit shelves.
Pulled from the brand’s archive of 76,000 silk and leather shades, the lipstick colors are all wearable and intensely craveable—covering everything from poppy-red to electric pink. And yes, there’s a signature orange (Rouge Orange) that’s not to be missed. In addition to the lipsticks, there’s also a clear Lip Care Balm, Poppy Lip Shine, Universal Lip Pencil, and the world’s chicest Lip Brush.
The brilliant pigmentation of the formulas is beyond expectation. One swipe delivers opaque payoff on both the matte and satin lipsticks. The mattes don’t feel drying, but rather like a plush powder. “I think of our make-up textures resonating with the house’s other materials like an interplay of analogies, a natural extension of Hermès on bare skin,” says Jérôme Touron, creative director for Hermès Beauty. “For the textures of our lipsticks, I immediately thought of leather, for the pleasure and sensation of comfort it gives me and the look and feel of its different finishes.”
The formulas are wonderful, but it’s the packaging that makes the Rouge Hermès collection an instant icon. “In lacquered, brushed, polished, black, white or permabrass metal, the design juxtaposes the contemporary spirit of the house with its history, all in straight lines and softness, regulation and rhythm. The touch of a hand reveals an ex-libris engraved on the cap, curved like a fingerprint. The magnetic closure guides a simple, intuitive gesture,” the brand notes in the release.
There are those luxury fanatics who will purchase this lipstick and never dare to swipe it, instead choosing to covet the packaging and design from a safe distance, like a priceless work of art. When you design a lipstick housed in a miniature orange box, it’s bound to become an heirloom.
Sustainability was a central focus for the luxury fashion house. “These objects are made to last, favoring noble materials such as metal, with the use of plastic limited to essential elements (the interchangeable mechanism and inserts),” notes the releases. The bullet of the Rouge Hermès lipstick pops out of the gorgeous outer case, making it endlessly refillable. The lipsticks are $68, while each refill is $42.
The thoughtful touches and holistic design elements don’t stop there. Whereas any of us could identify the familiar powdery, violet notes of a typical lipstick bullet—the Rouge Hermès collection is scented with something much more elegant. The unusual notes of sandalwoods, arnica, and angelica were developed by Hermès’s nose Christine Nagel. The scent is subtle and delicate, yet a welcome innovation.
Rouge Hermès is available in select Hermès boutiques and on Hermes.com now. New seasonal and limited edition shades will also be added throughout the year for $72 each. Expect to see more from Hermès Beauty, which will continue to launch new products like skincare and color cosmetics every six months beginning in September 2020. SHOP NOW
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