On the drawing board for four years, Chanel has launched 31 Le Rouge, a luxury lipstick that seamlessly fuses craftsmanship with technology. The faceted glass casing (a first for the brand) created by a master Japanese glassmaker pays homage to the mirrors lining the famed staircase at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, the birthplace of Chanel. This lipstick also ticks off a technical achievement with its refillability. The casing not only rehouses a replacement lipstick when a bullet is finished, is also allows shades to be easily interchanged.
Aiming for the zenith of lipsticks, this new release also enlists a high count of natural ingredients, a lip-caring formulation and impeccable colour payoff and finish. Able to firm and sculpt the lips, each of the 12 shades, inspired by the house’s heritage, is as timeless as the case itself. Take the sophisticated Rouge 2.55, which is inspired by the lining of an iconic bag, or Rouge Beige, which takes its cues from an evening gown Gabrielle Chanel cut from beige satin. To delve deeper, we talk to the brains behind the formulation, Nathalie Volpe, international director of innovation, research and development at Chanel, about the creative journey to this pinnacle of lipsticks.
What makes 31 Le Rouge so special?
Nathalie Volpe: It is the first lipstick to incorporate both immediate and long-term effects while guaranteeing an intense makeup result. 31 Le Rouge had to have everything, had to be able to do everything and offer everything. And that starts with a feeling of genuine emotion at first glance, as well as the exceptional sensorial experience of using it.
Gabrielle Chanel is always an inspiration but especially for 31 Le Rouge. How did she influence this new lipstick?
NV: For me, Gabrielle Chanel is synonymous with freedom. She dared to break with convention and go against the grain of her era. She really is one of the team. She is a major element of inspiration, as much for her vision of women and what she wanted to give them – the ability to move freely, independence and self-expression – as for her creative energy, her radical positions and her idea of focusing on the essential. This radical approach has to be seen in our work.”
What do we need to know about the formulation?
NV: With 75 per cent natural origin ingredients, [the lipstick is] extremely high quality, long wear and has super performance. These might all sound like obvious requirements, but, together, they are not easy to obtain, especially with our exacting standards.
After four years on the drawing board, what were some of the challenges?
NV: Micro-bubbles kept appearing on the engraved Chanel name after the lipsticks had been poured. This flaw was clearly unacceptable in our exacting quest for perfection, and so the idea of embossing our name on the bullet for the first time came up.
Chanel 31 Le Rouge Lipstick, $235 at Chanel
Who will wear 31 Le Rouge?
NV: We think of each woman and how this formula will be with her throughout the day, at different moments of her life, when she is at work, with her family or at a party, and we want her to feel proud to wear it.
What was the pinch-me moment for you?
NV: When we get the go-ahead for production. It’s a hugely joyful moment as it is the validation of months of work, hundreds of samples, thousands of items tested, and the effort made by the entire value chain. And then we pass the baton to our production teams. Creating a lipstick is always an enormously proud moment for all of us.
Shop the new Chanel 31 Le Rouge Lipsticks at Chanel.com.au