One of the things I really really like about Guerlain is that they bridge an amazing history with really forward-thinking packaging and amazing textures. It’s a great contrast to think that they’ve been making perfume since the 1870’s and yet, the packaging of their Rouge G’s has more than a little hint of the space age about it, I’ll say one thing for them, they’re not afraid to do things different.
Because they have such an amazing history, they have some great vaults in Guerlain HQ, and this leads creative director Olivier Echaudemaison to occasionally make raids on some great lost designs of the past. Based on an old design lipstick case first developed in 1936 (I think the pic above really highlights their Art Deco influence) the new Rouge Automatique lipsticks are a fun – they’re designed to be used one-handed – addition to the Guerlain lipstick line.
I was sent three to try, (l-r) Rouge D’Enfer, Mitsouko, and Cherry Blossom. As well as taking the inspiration for the casings from the vaults, each lipstick is named after either a classic Guerlain shade or fragrance.
(l-r Rouge D’Enfer, Mitsouko, Cherry Blossom) In order to get at the colours, you slide the button on the (slightly rounded – this is important, I’ll come back to this later) front of the casing, and the top slides down, and the bullet rises up to enable you to apply it.
There will be 25 shades in the range, and I have a red, a nude and a pink to show you. In the same order as the hand swatches above:
A classic neutral red creme, with no shimmer. It applies lightly and lasts well – I wore it for seven hours and it lasted me through several snacks and quite a few cups of coffee, but I have to admit there was a hint of “red ring of doom” when I wore it through lunch.
Mitsouko is – what else? – peach. If you don’t know, the fragrance Mitsouko is based on peaches – amongst other things. I can’t deny that when I first looked at the bullet, my first thought was “Peach! Frosty! Frosty Peach!”. But on swatching, and on the lips I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s a lot more sheer than I anticipated, and it has very fine shimmer on the lips. Not quite a micro-shimmer, but close. It’s far, far, far more flattering than I ever expected, and it’s something I’ll happily wear.
Now, my favourite pink lipstick of All Time (at the time of writing – I am fickle) is, of course, Guerlain Rouge G in Georgia. This doesn’t, for me, hold a candle to that shade, but it is very pretty. Again, in the bullet, the impression is that it’s frosty, but, like Mitsouko it’s sheer on the lips, and the frost shows up as a slight hint of shimmer. It’s very wearable, if a little on the pale side for someone who likes their pinks, PINK! as I do …
The texture of these lipsticks is fabulous. All from a gel base, the creme shades are highly pigmented, and all the variations are lightweight on the lips, and “meld” with your lips rather than sit on it (which is a particular pet hate of mine), they’re very comfortable, non-greasy, and non-drying. Lasting time is rather average, but you can extend that with use of lip pencil or a lip primer. The packaging is lovely and light, and you could carry about six of these around with you for the same weight of say, one Rouge G or two Tom Fords …
The one thing I don’t like is … the packaging. As you can see from the picture above, the case is rounded at the front, and is quite thick, so it can house the lever that moves the bullet up and down. Now, the problem is that the bullet is placed facing that direction so you have the thicker side of the casing towards your lips when you’re applying it. With the more sheer shades this isn’t so much of a problem, but when you’re applying the red (or any other shade that requires precision), it means you have to lever up much more of the bullet to avoid having to hold the lipstick at an awkward angle when applying – and it makes me worry about snapping the bullet. If the bullets were placed so they face the back of the case (where it is thinner), it would be less of an issue. All that said, it’s a relatively minor issue. The texture and wear of these is superb.
Guerlain Rouge Automatique will launch exclusively in Selfridges on April 3rd, and cost £24.50. The cost is comparable to Rouge G’s, which now cost £28 … they’ll be available nationwide from 1st May.
Oh, and one final picture … I’ll be reviewing the Terracotta collection for 2011 from next week, here’s a sneaky preview:
The Fine Print: Samples kindly provided by a mysterious benefactor*.
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