In the words of Gwyneth Paltrow, “beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” If there was ever a (rare) time that I agreed with Gywnnie, it was on this.
A red lip is timeless. It symbolises an era far from Instagram selfies, where men donned hats and women made it their business to match their gloves to their handbags.
And while it may be too daring a look for some, these emblematic women show that whether you are ruling a country or the silver screen, a red pout is the ultimate symbol of feminine glamour.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Liz I ignored the Church’s strict ban on red lippie by making her own. However, the lead used was poisonous, causing death when absorbed into the skin. As a result, her red lipstick became synonymous with the “kiss of death” and is responsible for creating that element of danger that is associated with it.
It was a red lip that inspired Gabrielle Chanel to quip “if you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack”, which we’d like to think many women have taken on as their personal motto.
The original “It Girl” of Hollywood, Clara Bow glamourised the appeal of the red lip in the Jazz Age of the 1920s. Soon after, women everywhere wanted to emulate her.
The red lip was immortalised by Ms Monroe, who brought the beauty staple into the stratosphere in the 1950s and 60s when she was the toast of Tinseltown.
Plath was a beautiful, talented and tortured soul who poured all of herself into her poetry. An icon in the world of literature, the dramatic slash of red lipstick she wore filtered into her writing when she says that it left “a bloody crescent moon on a beer can.”
In the 1980s, Madge ruled the airwaves, TV and the silver screen. It might have been the decade that style forgot for many, but Madonna’s ruby-red lips were a beacon of hope amidst a sea of perms and neon.
Who could forget the now iconic image of Thurman on the Pulp Fiction poster? With her razor-sharp bob, white shirt and famous red pout, it transformed her into the ultimate femme fatale. Red lipstick is iconic for a reason – it adds a finishing touch to any outfit, even if, much like Thurman, your on-screen style is more low-key.
Red; the lip colour of choice for a superhero. Need we say more?
She may not have become the first female President of the United States, but that doesn’t make her any less of an icon. And it doesn’t hurt that she can pull off a red lip with the best of them.
Emma Stone is the perfect woman to bring the glorious scarlet lip into the 21st century. The Oscar-winning actress is not only beautiful but insanely talented and funny. In short, she encapsulates the strong, fierce woman that red lipstick champions.