Belle for leather

The lambskin casing for Givenchy’s new lipstick ups the design ante, says a guest beauty blogger

Riccardo Tisci’s taste for sensuality and erotic darkness in his designs for Givenchy has at last segued into the brand’s beauty line. Le Rouge, a 12-strong lipstick range (£24), is decadently wrapped in black leather and embellished with silver studs.

There’s a very obvious S&M link to be made, but the leather-clad collection is beauty with an edge that moves glamour into a new realm – dangerous, sensual and stylish. The couture-style accessory also embraces Givenchy’s historical relationship with skins. More tellingly, Le Rouge is the strongest sign of a new direction for the brand’s beauty lines. Until now, its beauty and fashion collections have been kept very separate aesthetically, but this new lipstick range is a firm nod to Tisci’s catwalk style. Further evolution in its beauty products is set to take inspiration directly from Tisci’s favourite materials.

The creation of a leather-clad lipstick offers some technical challenges. To inlay leather – a  material whose flexibility is susceptible to factors such as temperature – it must be hand applied. Givenchy employs a semi-industrialised method, putting the lipsticks on vertical supports on a rolling carpet, ready to be encircled. The hide is kept very thin so it is flexible enough to be manually wrapped around the spherical case.


Le Rouge has significantly upped the lipstick design ante. Connoisseurs may already know that metal casings, common to vintage lipsticks, always feel cold to the touch. Modern lipstick packaging makes use of UV metallising: plastic overlaid with metal, which makes the moulding of details much more manageable and ensures that casings stay at room temperature.

As if enveloping a lipstick bullet with fine lambskin isn’t enough of a statement, Le Rouge lipsticks have also been infused with a François Demachy fragrance. Working collaboratively with Nicolas Degennes, artistic director of Givenchy le Makeup, the perfumer has scented the range with powdery mimosa and blackcurrant, plus a drop of warm benzoin.

The fashion brand plans to ramp up the shade selection with white leather-effect wrapping for summer in the Croisière 2013 collection; working the leather look to encompass Noir Couture Mascara (Givenchy eschewed “real” leather in white for practical reasons). It’s only the beginning of a rainbow of Tisci inspiration in the years to come…


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