It’s funny, that time-old phenomenon of when something is difficult to get hold of, you only want it more. For a few short days, there was nothing more difficult to get hold of than Lisa Eldridge lipsticks.
You wouldn’t have known it from newspapers or television news, but there was an underground swell in the beauty loving world, building day by day in anticipation of Lisa’s True Velvet lipstick launch. First, the original limited edition release which sold out in a London minute, and then the second release, which had built on the momentum of the original – now the masses were ready, website bookmarked, launch-time calendar alerts set, credit card numbers memorised. Within mere days, some even hours, these too were gone.
It seemed no-one was more surprised than Lisa herself, who has humbly promised another release is on it’s way this October. This launch, perhaps, has shocked all the big players in beauty who have been pushing the nudes and liquid lips for so long that a capsule collection of just three strikingly red lipsticks didn’t seem to fit the trends or the market. But this, it seems, is what Lisa does best – create trends, rather than follow them. You only have to check out her Instagram and YouTube videos (of which she was one of the first professional makeup artists to create – and continue using) to realise that her makeup looks are some of the most innovative, trend-inspiring around.
I could write an entire article about Lisa herself, who is now Global Creative Director of Lancome but has also worked with brands such as Shiseido, Boots No 7, and Chanel, while also being one of the most in-demand celebrity makeup artists around. But, today, minus the fan-girling, I want to focus in on her collection of three red lipsticks for those who missed out the first and second time around and are considering purchasing from the re-stock.
Let’s talk packaging very quickly. I could photograph these lipstick cases all day long. The brassy gold tone is light-catching, they feel weighty and luxe in the hand, and the magnetic lid closure is a dream. These lipsticks feel incredibly modern, while also somehow lending themselves to a time gone by. Perhaps Lisa’s love and knowledge of vintage makeup comes into play here; while there’s nothing specifically vintage about this, it encapsulates the glamour and specialness of cosmetics from Hollywood’s heyday.
Firstly, my favourite, Velvet Ribbon – the classic red. Lisa describes this perfectly as “a vibrant, universal, classic neutral/blue red”. While all three lipsticks feature this velvet-looking coating on the bullet – a unique point of design that instantly sets these apart from any other lipstick on the market – Velvet Ribbon is perhaps the most aptly named. Imagine that luscious, richly coloured velvet ribbon adorning a gold gift box, or the decadent, bright red you might find on the curtain or on the chair upholstery of an old theatre – this is Velvet Ribbon to me. A traditional red, for sure, but with life in it that it doesn’t look flat or dull. Beautiful and striking on fair skins, this is my pick if you’re especially pale. I enjoy it dabbed and blotted lightly, as much as I do bold and perfected.
Velvet Morning was my If I miss out I won’t be heartbroken shade. It’s a bright, orange red, that makes me think of a vibrant island sunrise – fiery and saturated. I think this would be the perfect shade on beautifully tanned or olive skin tones, and gorgeous for a summer holiday with beachy hair and fresh skin.
Velvet Jazz, I was surprised to see, was incredibly popular amongst Lisa’s buyers. This shade is, to me, a real vintage red. The kind of red you imagine on the lips of a war-time French woman against an otherwise scene of Parisian grey. In fact, if you have seen the film Charlotte Gray, this is a ‘Charlotte Gray red’ in my mind. Deep and moody, it is striking on a complexion as fair as Cate Blanchett but equally seductive on olive and deeper skin tones. When re-reading Lisa’s own descriptions, I wasn’t surprised at all to see she touts this as “a muted, earthy, brick red inspired by the 1930’s red lipsticks in my vintage collection” – this is exactly the vibe you get from this shade.
We are spoilt for choice with makeup these days in that we can find, and wear, pretty much any colour we desire. But there was a time, when lipstick was red lipstick – the only choice to adorn a woman’s lips. It remains the classic shade for a reason.
Not everyone feels that they are a red lipstick kind of person, that they don’t have the confidence, the boldness, the persona or vibe to pull it off. I’m reminded of what another lipstick queen, Poppy King, once said, that “the biggest mistake women make when it comes to lipstick is thinking that it takes confidence to wear it, but it is lipstick that gives you confidence.” Perhaps a red lipstick person – that person you imagine who appears so ready to take on the world – wasn’t a red lipstick person before she applied her makeup. Perhaps that very lipstick colour gave her the uplift of confidence, the persona of boldness and strength, that she carried with her – while she took on the world.
While these lipstick formulas are unique and original, and beautifully packaged, I can only say that when I put on a Lisa Eldridge red, I feel that same lift, that little pep – however small – in confidence. In the end, isn’t that what makeup is all about?
Keep an eye out on Lisa’s website or sign up to her newsletter for future releases.
Read about the Summer Pinks collection here.