A pas­sion for red

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - WOMAN T -

THE story of Rouge Dior started with the colour red.

“I love red! It is the colour of life,” Chris­tian Dior used to say. It be­came the em­blem­atic colour of the House of Dior which was founded in 1946.

Red pro­vided an out­let for the flam­boy­ance of John Gal­liano, Dior’s cur­rent artis­tic di­rec­tor. It be­came a pil­lar of Dior-style beauty, sweep­ing across the his­tory of the house like a pow­der trail.

The black and white im­ages of the mas­ter’s first col­lec­tions hint at the mod­els’ crim­son lips, a no­table el­e­ment in the Dior im­age. Mon­sieur Dior knew only too well that the lip­stick is an in­dis­pens­able ac­ces­sory to women.

In 1949, the de­signer who wanted to “dress women’s smiles” launched the first ver­sion of the Dior lip­stick as a limited edi­tion, avail­able only in the lit­tle bou­tique at 30 Av­enue Mon­taigne, the favourite ad­dress for high-end fashion in Paris.

Mon­sieur Dior con­sid­ered the vivid colour of made up lips as the fin­ish­ing touch on a fully dressed face.

It was not un­til 1955 that he worked out his dream for­mula, in the grand tra­di­tion of French savoir faire. The first eight shades were in­spired by the fabrics that he per­son­ally se­lected, to match just about ev­ery com­plex­ion and mood. The first lip­sticks nat­u­rally re­flected the tex­ture of satin, a fab­ric that Mon­sieur Dior ap­pre­ci­ated for its el­e­gance and shine.

The de­signer even used lip­stick to mea­sure the suc­cess of his de­signs when de­lighted clients came up to kiss him af­ter each run­way show. “The lip­stick that cov­ers my cheeks is the surest sign of a col­lec­tion’s suc­cess,” he beamed.

Haute cou­ture gowns and suits in pale pink satin or scar­let silk were paired with lip­sticks the colour of roses and peonies.

Each sea­son, the House of Dior daz­zled with its wide va­ri­ety of hues which re­flected the shim­mer­ing fabrics and stun­ning em­broi­dery of its haute cou­ture col­lec­tions. Lively orange tones made way for el­e­gant beiges and pretty pinks.

In 1970, Mon­sieur Dior broke away from the pink and orange colours of the 1960s, and in­vented in­no­va­tive shades such as vi­o­let, brown and choco­late, which proved to be a hit. Since its cre­ation, Rouge Dior has come out with more than 1,500 shades.

Tyen, cre­ative di­rec­tor for Dior make-up since 1980, dis­plays his wizardry with colours by cre­at­ing an in­fi­nite pal­ette of lip­stick shades through the decades, cul­mi­nat­ing in the present-day col­lec­tion. – Oh

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