Red Lipstick is a celebration and exploration of the enduring power and allure of the world's most iconic shade. Written by widely published beauty writer Rachel Felder, Red Lipstick is a beautifully designed gem that will delight lipstick lovers of all ages. This gorgeous book is jam-packed with informative, entertaining text, little-known facts, quotes, and more than 100 gorgeous images culled from fine art, photography, as well as beauty and fashion editorial and advertising.
On our newest episode of Editors Unedited on the Library Love Fest Podcast, editor Elizabeth Sullivan interviews author Rachel Felder. They discuss Rachel's writing process, curating the images for the book, and how they both bonded over their love of wearing red lipstick.
In celebration of the famously vibrant lip shade, we put together a few interesting facts from Red Lipstick.
• Red lipstick was adopted as a part of the suffragette’s de facto uniform.
Cosmetics entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden not only supported women’s right to vote, but she also strongly aligned herself with it. When the suffragettes staged a large protest march down New York City’s Fifth Avenue past her salon in 1912, Arden and her team handed them red lipstick, a bit like marathon supporters who stand roadside, fortifying tired runners by offering them cups of water. The following year, on March 3, 1913, when nearly five thousand women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, they wore red lipstick too.
• For her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a bespoke lipstick hue.
It was a custom-mixed deep Bordeaux to coordinate with the Robe of State. The shade was known as Balmoral, a nod to the Scottish castle where the royal family spends the holidays. With an everyday palette of lipsticks that includes her tried-and-true red—although pinks have come to dominate as her color of choice as she has grown older—the Queen’s love of lipstick is clear.
•Actresses from the 1930s and 1940s wore red lipstick on-screen, even when playing roles in period films where it wasn’t historically correct.
In the 1930s and 1940s, red lipstick was very much a part of the fashion and beauty sensibility, infusing glamour into women’s everyday look, whether they were full-time housewives or part of the expanding workforce. Crimson-lipped actresses helped fuel that cultural ubiquity, as they favored wearing red lipstick on-screen, even when playing roles in period films where it wasn’t historically correct. When Vivien Leigh played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, she wore perfectly applied red lipstick, even though the story is set during the American Civil War.
• Makeup of the geisha includes an especially heightened take on red lipstick.
Traditional and uncompromising, the makeup of the geisha includes an especially heightened take on red lipstick, pairing vivid matte crimson lips with a highly whitened complexion. Today, many geishas add a final step to the lip application process by dipping a small brush into the slightly molten interior of a small piece of hard candy, using the fluid, sugary center as a sealant.
Here is the audio from the podcast episode:
Be sure to check out Red Lipstick, available on April 9th, 2019.