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Brief Published: 28 Apr 2020

Luxe Lipsticks: Fashion Brands Revive Heirloom Make-Up

Carolina Herrera

Luxury fashion brands are launching make-up collections to shore up profits and offer entry-level products for fans. These exciting collectables could revive the declining prestige make-up market – which dropped by 8% in the UK in 2019 (NPD, 2020). Hermes is championing heirloom collectability, while Carolina Herrera is marketing artfully packaged pieces as statement jewellery.

“Lipstick is the most beautiful object you can find inside a handbag,” said Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele when he relaunched the Italian fashion house’s highly anticipated make-up collection in 2019. This reverence for good design also forms the basis of US brand Carolina Herrera’s March 2020 make-up collection launch.

The line features refillable lipsticks and powder cases that reflect the brand’s bold colours and graphic prints. These “ready-to-wear collectables” are accompanied by tassel accessories and charms, as well as a luxe keychain-like ring which attaches to the packaging to turn them into wearable pieces. 

The heirloom collectability so inherent in luxury fashion buys is now being channelled into make-up. French house Hermès’ lipstick line Rouge Hermès, launched in March 2020, is available in 24 shades and either matte or satin finishes. Each colour was specifically chosen from the brand's impressive archive of over 900 leather shades and 75,000 silk swatches – meaning every one relates to a part of Hermès' impressive heritage. To further tie the cosmetics to the brand’s history, the refillable cases are made from the same hardware used in its handbags.

British brand Jimmy Choo also launched a make-up collection in 2020 in collaboration with luxury London department store Harrods. The Seduction Collection features packaging with a distinctive jewellery-like look – the gold finishes and frosted gold ball lipstick toppers are designed to be cherished and revered.  

While many industry insiders are signalling the death of make-up as consumers isolate in lockdown, the ‘lipstick effect’ suggests consumers will be looking to treat themselves with little luxury purchases. As we explore in Cosmetics in the Wake of Covid-19, regular beauty rituals (such as applying make-up) are also alleviating boredom and providing comfort during this difficult time.

Jimmy Choo