A passion for red
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