Like the little black dress, the camel coat, and the French manicure before it, the red lip is one of those enduring symbols of style which has truly stood the test of time and earned its place in fashion's hall of fame. As likely to be spotted on a trip to the shops as on the catwalk, and a favourite amongst beauty editors, red lipstick adds an element of Parisian chic and glamour any situation and activity (except maybe eating burritos). Whether strolling through the park in jeans and a Breton striped top, or dancing the night away in heels and an LBD, the red lip is as durable as the sleek pony and the nude nail. The colour red has been linked to passion and romance for centuries, and whether by social conditioning or biology, has supposed aphrodisiacal effects. In drawing attention to your mouth and the words that come out of it, red lipstick is seen as empowering and a symbol of prowess and assertion. That little boost of confidence you feel after assessing a well-applied red lip? We've all been there. It sure works for Joan Holloway, and I for one have been known to apply a red lip when in an essay writing slump - messy bun, PJ's and all (it helps, trust me). Often deemed a 'love it or hate it' trend, once a mark of immorality, and occasionally touted tacky before 6pm, in my opinion the red lip is for everyone, everywhere, anytime. You just have to find the one. My first lipstick was a true red, plucked from the shelves of Boots and paid for with a fistful of hard earned 50p coins (the price for a spot of dusting in my household). I wore it with pride, despite the fact it was most certainly applied terribly. I happily applied kisses to blank surfaces and pouted in my Polly Pocket mirror, for the satisfaction of a red lip is unequaled - even at the age of 8. As I grew older I passed through a succession of red lips, experimenting with blue tones and orange tones, sporting a deep dusky red to my high school prom, and wearing down a Kate Moss for Rimmel coral toned red in the space of a summer.
So when Danny surprised me with my first trip to a Chanel counter for lipstick two years ago I went for the truest most classic red without a second thought. My pick turned out to be No. 19 Gabrielle, named after the lady herself and her date of birth (19th August 1883). Gabrielle was the first lipstick launched in Chanel's first makeup collection in 1921 and was supposedly her personal favourite. It has since obtained cult status as the classic red - bright blue-based red with a slight silky sheen. As with all Chanel products the packaging is exquisite - a solid metal tube means this lipstick is cool and weighty in the hand, and of course sports the famous interlocking C's. Gabrielle applies with a thick and creamy consistency, but isn't at all drying, and has long lasting pigment and a subtle powdery rose scent. The high street offers dupes aplenty but for £24 you can state with confidence that you're wearing Chanel (from the neck up at least).
In my opinion, there is nothing more satisfying than applying that slick of red and slipping your bullet of choice into your handbag - something akin to that of applying your war paint and riding into battle, or so I like to think. I could talk for hours about my love affair with red lipstick so in lieu of boring the anti-red's amongst you I'm going to conclude by taking the liberty of extending the classic quote - "Every girl needs a little black dress...and every girl needs a classic red lipstick".
Let me know in the comments below what your go-to red lipstick is, and if you're loving my new blog design (as I am!) I'd really really appreciate it if you could nominate That Grace Girl for 'Best Designed Blog' in the Company Style Bloggers Awards!