Perhaps more than any other fashion pioneer, Gabrielle Chanel was crucial to changing the way we view beauty. Chanel’s first line of makeup was launched in 1924, ten years after the fashion house opened, and five years before the skincare range would launch. Gabrielle’s philosophy was that makeup’s real aim was not to adorn, but to make more beautiful, and when that aim is achieved, the face looks younger. She loved red lipstick and had hers specially made, powdering over it for a longer-lasting hold (this shade was reproduced in 1974, under the name of Rouge de Chanel). The first Rouge de Chanel lipstick was created as part of the original range of makeup in 1924 and came in an ivory case, trimmed with black and featuring a copper sliding mechanism. Chanel continued to develop her lip products, creating a creamy stick of lip color in 1954 that she inserted into a rectangular tube, the exact replica of the iconic No. 5 spray bottle. This lipstick even had a leather compartment made for it inside the 2.55 quilted handbag that still exists today. Packaging was key to Chanel’s cosmetics: monochrome and stamped with a double C, it was one of the earliest examples of chic branding and continues to be one of the most desirable. In recent years, it has been its nail polishes that have created the most buzz in the beauty community. Chanel launched its first nail polish range, Vernis, in 1972 (the name was updated to Le Vernis in 1995) but it was the launch of the shade Rouge Noir in 1994 under the creative direction of Dominique Moncourtis and Heidi Morawetz famously worn by Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction that became a cult classic and set a precedent for the house, making it the place to discover the must-have nail colors each season.
The one and only Rouge Noir.
Coco Chanel’s timeless, chic style remains perfectly represented in the brand’s iconic cosmetic range.
Christian Dior’s first lipstick, Rouge Dior, launched in 1953 and was available in two packaging styles: the first, chic and simple for your handbag, or the incredibly ornate obelisk dressing table version.