On March 4, Hermès revealed its 16th métier with Rouge Hermès, an inaugural beauty line of luxurious lipsticks. Featuring 24 sumptuous shades, the lipsticks are assembled by hand, and contained in brushed and polished recyclable aluminum in black, white, and permabrass gold. The lipsticks are equipped with a refillable design, and after application, close with a magnetized lid. Like any other object from the house, Rouge Hermès lipsticks are made to last.
“Hermès Beauty is part of who we are: a house where everything comes from creation, driven by artisans who seek to accompany the men and women of today with elegance, and with the integrity and authenticity that we represent,” said Axel Dumas, CEO of Hermès. “It is the quintessence of our affection for surprise and wonder, which embraces the object, its design, and the desire to be useful while inspiring dreams.”
Hermès Beauty has taken the house over five years to create, bringing in internal talents from across the brand. Directed by CEO of Hermès Perfume & Beauty Agnès de Villers, the line is a pure collaborative creation under the care of artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas, featuring design of the object by creative director of Hermès jewelry and Hermès shoes Pierre Hardy, fragrance direction by director of Hermès’s olfactory creation Christine Nagel, direction of femininity and color by artistic director of the women’s universe and creative director of women’s silk Bali Barret, and the transposition of the vision into makeup by creative director of Hermès Beauty Jérôme Touron.
“Our approach to beauty is fundamental. It is to reveal and highlight what is naturally there, with elegance, comfort, and pleasure. I like the idea of Hermès as an intimate companion, revealing one’s deepest self. I associate Hermès’s beauty objects with self-fulfillment, with the color of an individual’s personality,” said Pierre-Alexis Dumas.
For the lipstick’s design, Hardy focused on the essentials, like the classic cylinder shape, but infused with playful twists. The construction was a kind of alphabet for the designer, who aimed to give the recognizable shape special treatment. While it’s still an incredibly recognizable form, it was treated in a soft way between color and material choice. Hermès’s historic monogram was treated delicately with “a curve like a print of the finger,” as Hardy described.
“It was about giving form to beauty—this impalpable, fragile, elusive, unpredictable, and diverse combination of qualities. I sought a simple, radical form that would be a suitable receptacle for the sophistication it contains. I love the simplicity of pure shapes that color brings to life,” Hardy said. “These small objects that a woman will handle every day, that she will put away, take out, use, and look at are far removed from any reference to a confined version of womanhood, the conventions of mandatory femininity, or a nostalgic kind of hyper-femininity. They reflect an attitude and are designed to be purchased as you would purchase a piece of jewelry. The idea was not to emphasize their function, but to add an element of surprise.”
The vibrant colors for Rouge Hermès were pulled from the house’s archives, inspired by the unforgettable hues of Hermès silk, which includes over 75,000 shades. For the first collection, with some in classic shine and others in matte, new sophisticated shades like Amazone, Casaque, and Rose Zinzolin have been released.
“Like a silk scarf gracing a woman’s neck that creates radiance and reveals her beauty, for Hermès Beauty we wanted to discover or rediscover the emotion of color as a fundamental feminine trait,” said Barret. “At Hermès, color is an irrational, intoxicating passion, a craftsmanship of nuances, an obsession with striking the right tone, and a language all of its own.”
Playful colors are fundamental to Hermès, part of its creative heritage. For the beauty collection, three emblematic colors were chosen: Rouge H, invented by Emile Hermès in the 1920s; Rouge Casaque, an equestrian red that’s graphic and energetic; and the daring Orange Boîte.
The collection is also accompanied by a biannual limited-edition collection of three colors. For the first limited-edition collectable line, it debuts with colors inspired by the Bauhaus movement from the 1920s—Rose Inoui, Corali Fou, and Violet Intense, each featuring different colors on the external packaging, too.
Those who know lipstick know the care and craft of wearing such color. For such upkeep, Hermès has also launched beauty objects to aide in your beauty ritual—a lip care balm, a universal lip pencil, a lip brush in lacquered wood, and an orange lip shine shade called Poppy. In September, the house will also launch its first collection of leather accessories, including cases and mirrors, to begin another biannual launch until a complete line of makeup is created.
“Our approach to femininity, and our desire, is rather to reveal the beauty of a woman, to reveal her character rather than to decorate her,” said Barret. “It’s not a diktat, it’s not a status. It’s about who you are and we’re going to make you even more beautiful.”