Red Lipstick is Sooo French!

I have never worn red lipstick!  Never, not even at Christmas. And now I have been more reluctant to try because I figure such a dramatic colour might age me. Can anyone relate?

Still, I notice in Paris, that while French women of a certain age don’t wear a lot of makeup, they do wear various shades of lipstick and almost always in red. And there is something about red lipstick that is sooooo French!

So I thought the best place for me to explore a red lip colour was to visit one of the world’s leading houses of beauty — no not DIOR, CHANEL.

Of course, Paris is Chanel’s home. One hundred years ago this year, designer Coco Chanel initially resided and also installed her flagship store at 31 Rue Cambon just off the posh Rue Saint-Honoré.

It’s still in the same location today dominating the street, complete with a scrutinizing doorman at the gated entrance, who I expected to ask for proof of a humungous bank account and credit card limit as a condition for entry!

Somehow I passed muster, and once inside the busy store opened into a labyrinth of small rooms, one leading to the other, people hustling about drooling over the artistic displays showcasing everything from handbags to perfume embossed with the interlocking Chanel logo and dripping with exclusivity and elitism.

Finding the cosmetic counter seemingly unattended was a bit of a surprise. I actually had to ask someone to find a cosmetician to help me. Chanel has dozens of choices of red lipstick, its most popular shade, but the striking woman helping me (all the Chanel salespeople look like fashion models) seemed at a loss to make any informed suggestions. This did not fill me with confidence. However, I forged ahead pointing to three that I thought I might try. The first two were siren awful, but the third was a shade called Rose Allure (#135) that I liked and thought perhaps I could pull off.

There are no cash registers anywhere at Chanel. Instead, the salesperson escorted me into a fancy office where I was asked to sit down at a large mahogany desk. A rather officious woman was working on a computer tallying up my order. It all seemed incongruently grand considering my meagre purchase and I was feeling once again inadequate.  Was this woman about to say to me  “Madame, we will be adding our $11,000 Gold Quilted Chanel Flap Bag to your order. Ça va?

That’s when my minuscule lipstick arrived in an almost as tiny but truly spectacular little white Chanel bag. In fact, I am sure the bag cost more than the lipstick for which I paid 38 Euros/$44 US/$57 CAD, definitely more than I would have paid for it at home! 

However, I could now say that I had my first experience at Chanel Paris (5 out of 10). And I can add red to my repertoire of lipsticks… I think.

What do you think?

And what about you? How do you feel about red lipstick?

19 Comments

  1. Erica on October 28, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Diana, you are beautiful in any colour lipstick! But that one is spectacular.

    • Diana Bishop on October 28, 2018 at 10:50 am

      You are so kind to say so! I have to say I am now a convert to red lipstick! Who knew?

      • Margaret Tessier on September 25, 2019 at 8:08 am

        Diane I have always used red lipstick
        Love that red by Revlon and when I couldn’t get it in Australia I ordered it from American and England would you believe it was cheaper even with postage Margaret Tessier

        • Diana Bishop on September 25, 2019 at 11:19 am

          Hi Margaret.. I know. I could the buy lipstick I purchased in Chanel in Paris for at least 15 to 20 dollars cheaper in Canada. But I do enjoy red now from time to time. So great to have you as part of my community. Thanks for commenting! Diana

  2. Patti Smith on October 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    I so relate to your experience at Chanel, Diana – it reminds me of my visit to Guerlain back in the 80’s.
    On the hunt for a lipstick my sister had asked me to get, I entered a very small and posh boutique with, as you say, gorgeous, model-like assistants and no visible cash register. My order (and money) were placed on a wooden pedestal, the top of which descended into the basement. Moments later, my purchase rose, beautifully packaged, and the assistant sprayed me from head to toe in their signature scent, Shalimar (it was my birthday). Definitely a 10 out of 10 experience! Oh, and, as for red lipstick … I wear it often and always get compliments when I do … and I’m 63!

    • Diana on October 29, 2018 at 9:10 am

      I do remember those days too Patti! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Tamara on October 28, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I feel the same way about red, I love it on so many women, but can’t seem to pull off the shade. When there are so many shades, makes me now feel like I can find one that suits me and my small, dry, tiny lines that are called my lips.

  4. Nair Lacruz on October 28, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    What an amazing experience, and love the red lipstick .

  5. Michelle Woolley on October 29, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Diana – I’m not sure which I like more – your descriptive story or the red lips! In any case, beautifully spoken and the color looks smashing. I myself opt often for a deep brick shade of red which I feel my age can ‘handle’ (I’m 52!). The French cannot do anything wrong (well, almost nothing) but I’m a fan of Armani. When I finally take my daughter to Paris (she speaks fluent French), for sure we’ll visit Chanel. She’ll fit right in!

    • Diana on October 29, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Thank you so much Michelle. I love getting these comments. And yes, you should take your daughter to Paris!!! Keep me posted. Diana

  6. Luci on October 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I like it!

    • Diana Bishop on October 29, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you Luci!

  7. Jill sims on October 31, 2018 at 8:42 am

    I am going to ask my GRANDAUGHTER Jasmine Bard who is dancing in Moulin Rouge to send me dome . I am sure they will have a few half used tubes of red lipstick laying around. I f not I of to Price line to buy one. Oo la lan

    • Diana Bishop on October 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Jill,

      Your granddaughter dances in the Moulin? Would she be open to an interview for my blog sometime? I would love to meet her. Diana

  8. Cheron Long-Landes on November 8, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    A great story, Diana! Unfortunately, that is something the French do very well, act superior. I’m glad you stood your ground and got what you wanted in the end. The colour is lovely on you. I think red lipstick gives one a boost, no-matter what age you are!

    • Diana Bishop on November 10, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Thank you Cheron!

      • Diana Bishop on November 12, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Tamara — what a testimonial. Thank you barely covers how thrilled I am to hear from a reader like you. To think that someone actually gets their tea on Sunday mornings and sits down to read my blog — well it doesn’t get any better than that. I will strive to keep you entertained. Happy Sundays!

  9. Adeola on September 26, 2019 at 6:48 am

    It looks super amazing on you! Gave up on red a long time ago, I’m scared to try it 🙈.!

    • Diana Bishop on September 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      You would look great in red lipstick. I find I can where when I an in Paris, not so much when
      I am home. Just a little too out there in Canada!

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