After its reformation by designer Alessandro Michele, Italian luxury brand Gucci has become one of the hottest luxury fashion labels around. The evidence is clear—the brand’s revenues have more than doubled since Michele’s appointment in 2015, reaching a whopping 8.29 billion Euros in 2018.
Gucci’s appeal lies in its off-beat aesthetic—a tongue-in-cheek mashup resting somewhere between nerdy grandma and eccentric billionaire—and its unabashed embrace of contemporary themes such as gender fluidity and genuine imperfection. You can be whoever you want to be, goes the message, even if that person is a genderqueer intellectual with a gap-tooth and a real penchant for pussy-bow shirts. That same message resonates across the entire Gucci universe, including its recently-revamped beauty line.
“Makeup is something poetic and fleeting that you can add to your face, changing or highlighting something about yourself. I find it an almost magical language, strongly linked to the other details I use for the expression of the self, such as jewellery and a hairstyle. Of all these aspects needed to emphasize or underline an aspect of ourselves, makeup is the most immediate and the oldest way, making it the most fascinating.”Alessandro Michele, Creative Director at Gucci
The previous beauty collection, which had a limited distribution, conformed to former Gucci creative director Frida Gianini’s signature polished glamour, but the new line tosses it all out the window. The collection’s first campaign features close-ups of lips pictured smiling and laughing, complete with snaggleteeth and moving tongues—unthinkable for just about any other beauty brand in the world, which usually focuses on how their products can magically transform you into a beautiful goddess, sans all blemishes.
The images, which would certainly prompt you to stop scrolling on Instagram, are a celebration of individual imperfections. Lipstick and gaps in teeth can go together and be cool.
To date, its fragrance collection notwithstanding, the Gucci beauty collection only contains lipsticks, which the brand calls “the ultimate makeup tool.” (We are inclined to agree.) There are three different formulations available—the Rouge à Lèvres Satin has a conventional full-coverage satin finish, the Rouge à Lèvres Voile imparts a sheer wash of colour, and the Baume à Lèvres is a lip balm with a translucent finish. These come in 36, 18, and four shades respectively (although the last shade of the Baume à Lèvres is completely transparent).
The collection’s star colour is 25* Goldie Red, which is available in both satin and sheer finishes. It recalls the bright rouged lips that Michele saw as a child in the 1980s, and was partially inspired by legendary 1931 Hollywood movie Goldie, which stars Jean Harlow. (The irony here is, of course, that Goldie was a black-and-white movie. And yet the quirky move seems quintessentially Michele.) Other shades in the collection are similarly named after movies and actresses from that era, with names such as Love Before Breakfast, Three Wise Girls, and A Royal Scandal.
The lipsticks themselves are all packaged in vintage-type tubes that would look right at home on grandma’s vanity or coming out of a young partying ingenue’s quilted GG Marmont bag. The bullets are also perfumed with soft, powdery violets, which is again a scent dating back a few decades.
That said, the Gucci lipsticks are definitely not your grandmother’s lipsticks—unless your grandmother liked wearing shades of purple and black. And snarling at a camera. And if she does, well, that’s two more things you may now have in common.
The Gucci beauty collection will be available at the Takashimaya Department Store Beauty Hall from 12 September 2019.