Riccardo Tisci’s taste for sensuality and erotic darkness for the Givenchy fashion house continues to segue into the brand’s beauty line. Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara, launched this month, is encased in glossy black, decadently embellished with gleaming studs. Mascara is sexy again.


Tisci’s stamp on Givenchy Beauty began with leather clad lipstick with Le Rouge collection; beauty with an edge and as desirable as the softest, kid gloves. Leather cased Le Rouge moves the tired ‘Hollywood glamour’ descriptive into a new icon for beauty – dangerous, sensual and stylish – and a couture accessory that embraces Givenchy’s historical relationship with skins. Last year’s launch of Le Rouge Lipstick was the strongest sign of a new direction for Givenchy beauty. Until then, Givenchy beauty and fashion have been kept very separate in aesthetic, but this range was a firm nod to Roberto Tisci’s catwalk style and fondness for leather and stud detailing.

As a first to market, the creation of a real leather clad lipstick offered some technical challenges. To inlay leather, a volatile material whose flexibility is susceptible to outside factors such as temperature, to such high quality, it must be hand applied. Givenchy employs a semi-industrialized method, putting the lipsticks on vertical supports on a rolling carpet ready to be wrapped. Because leather is resistant by nature, it isn’t treated in any way (as leather goods are), but in order for it to be flexible enough to be manually wrapped on a spherical case, the hide is very thin. Most lipsticks will remain untouched by human hands from start to finish in the manufacturing process because machinery can take care of a simple design.

When you up a lipstick design to Le Rouge level, you can be certain that the packaging costs far outweigh the actual contents.  Lipstick connoisseurs may already know that metal casings, commonly found in vintage lipsticks, always feel cold to the touch. Modern lipstick packaging makes use of UV metalizing; plastic over-laid with metal, which makes the molding of detail much more manageable, and UV metalized casings stay at room temperature. Givenchy technicians created a new mold to incorporate the emblematic stud detailing, which sounds simple enough, and yet the design is protected by the intellectual property legal process, which sends it into a new realm of complexity – paperwork! Imprinting the signature four-G Givenchy logo into the lipstick bullet also requires a modern process; a silicone mold. It’s far more flexible than a traditional metal mold and once the hot liquid lipstick is poured, it cools and sets hard with the logo perfectly imprinted.

As if enveloping a lipstick bullet with fine lamb-skin isn’t enough of a statement, Le Rouge was infused with a Francoise Demachy fragrance creation. Working collaboratively with Nicolas Degennes, Artistic Director for make-up, Le Rouge is delicately scented with powdery mimosa and blackcurrant with a back drop of warm benzoin. The complexity of the new generation lipstick formula is such that Givenchy’s Beauvais factory in Picardy was not equipped to produce it (it’s made without castor oil and uses a high quantity of soft powders to create a ‘velvet’ effect), and so Le Rouge was dispatched to another LVMH factory for creation. Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Black Taffetas Mascara is the next stage in a long chapter of grown up sexy in beauty world. Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Black Tafettas Mascara, £23.50. Givenchy Le Rouge, £24. Givenchy Autumn Collection from £25.50.

By Jane aged 49

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