The Rise of High Fashion Make-Up Lines

Watch out fashion house fragrances, make-up is here to take your crown, because from Hermès and Gucci to Carolina Herrera and Jimmy Choo, the accessory everyone is after this season is the luxe lipstick.


In seasons past, if you weren’t yet ready to invest in a fashion piece from a luxury house, you’d probably seek out the brand’s signature scent instead, leading to the launch of cult favourites including Hermès’ Eau des Merveilles and Gucci Guilty, over the years.

Scent though, is, by its very nature personal and (unless you invest in a chic travel vial) difficult to carry around with you. Thus, in this time of constant innovation in the beauty industry, luxury fashion houses are finally joining the make-up fray.


As well as helping a company’s bottom line, it makes sense for high fashion brands to give customers an avenue into their world using make-up, because of the accessibility cosmetics, and lipsticks especially, can offer. Specifically, they allow the company to reach a wider demographic of individuals (in terms of age, skin colour and wealth portfolio), while quenching an individual’s desire for something luxurious and beautiful at a lower price point.

“You might not be able to afford a pair of shoes designed by Pierre Hardy, but you can purchase the lipstick he helped create for Hermès,” explains Katy Young, Bazaar‘s beauty director, about the appeal of high fashion make-up lines.


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Orange turns red. #Hermes #HermesBeauty #24colors

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“Lipstick is the most beautiful object you can find inside a handbag”

Furthermore, unlike ready-to-wear, there’s no question over rewearing your favourite lipstick shade more than a handful of times (in fact, a colour can quickly become your signature), making the cost-per-wear even more affordable. Plus, a beautiful lipstick case can still result in a gasp of glee from yourself and your friends when you display it (social media-ready) on your dressing table.

In fact, “lipstick is the most beautiful object you can find inside a handbag,” says Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, which might explain why taking it out of a (even non-designer) bag gives us such a thrill.

It’s also arguably why the ‘Lipstick Effect’ exists: the theory that when faced with uncertainty (both economic and social), we turn to less costly luxury goods, like lipsticks, to appease our desire to treat ourselves to something wonderful. It would make sense then, in this time of heightened anxiety around the world – from Brexit to coronavirus – that brands are finally heeding our calls for make-up offerings.

So, from the weight of a luxury lipstick in your hand and the satisfying click of closing its lid, to the joy at finding your perfect shade, these are the high fashion make-up lines that are sure to put a smile on your face…

The Brands To Know About …


Leading the charge is Gucci, which released a collection of lipsticks in May 2019. Significantly, this wasn’t the launch of one or two shades with limited-edition availability (as some fashion brands have done before). This was a full range of 58 colours, from bold reds and bright pinks to an array of diverse nudes, encased in beautiful packaging decorated with Art Deco-inspired motifs.

The brand has also not stopped there, with the more recent launch of the Obscur Mascara and rumours of more make-up creations coming very soon. That means Gucci looks set to have a full make-up offering by the end of the year.



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Introducing the Hermès lipstick. #Hermes #HermesBeauty #24colors

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Another luxury fashion house to have recently expanded its reach into make-up is Hermès. Like Gucci, its first baby steps into beauty was through lipstick.

Called Rouge Hermès, the collection houses 24 shades in either matte or satin finishes, inspired by the brand’s incredible leather and silk archive and encased in tri-coloured plastic-free cases, designed by the famed creative director of Hermès jewellery and shoes Pierre Hardy.

To add to the collectibility of the collection, there are accessories too, including a lip brush, and leather carry case. Plus, there will be three limited edition lipstick shades made available every six months – a technique beautifully in line with the seasonal fashion calendar.

Carolina Herrera


Other high fashion brands, including Carolina Herrera’s most recently launched make-up line, are playing off the suggestion that lipstick can be as much an accessory as bags or scarves.

Dubbed ‘ready-to-wear collectibles’, the launch of Carolina Herrera Makeup (available at Harrods) sees lipsticks in 36 shades given a makeover with printed cases, tassels and charms all available to create your very own lipstick design.

The approach puts the consumer in control (if they can get their hands on one before they sell-out, of course) and gives women “an opportunity to flaunt their make-up, unapologetically, like a piece of fabulous jewellery,” explains Carolina A. Herrera, beauty creative director at Carolina Herrera Makeup (and daughter to the brand’s namesake designer).

Jimmy Choo

Fragrance isn’t being completely replaced though. Instead, many brands are utilising their perfume expertise to scent their make-up collections – for Gucci that means the smell of violets, while Hermès’ perfumer Christine Nagel created a completely custom blend especially for Rouge Hermès.

Then, in the case of Jimmy Choo, its revitalising its fragrance offering while also expanding into make-up. The launch of the new Seduction collection encompasses (for the first time) ten bold lip colours, chosen to represent the iconic shades of the house – from glamorous red, to playful pinks and more muted shades.

They are all scented with Iris Crush – one of six new feminine fragrances (in a collection that also includes perfumes with rose, amber and vanilla at their heart). Plus, there are eight glamorous nail polishes to choose from, so you can match your pout to your mani-pedi.

As a finishing touch the full collection has the signature Jimmy Choo logo running up the side of their chic light pink and gold packaging, making them arguably just as covetable as a pair of the brand’s signature heels.

Thus, with high fashion make-up lines rumoured only to grow and grow, it seems fair to say that the thrill of owning that perfect luxe lipstick is unlikely to fade.

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK