Friday, May 14, 2010

Rouge Coco Chanel

Jamie Cat Callan wrote me,
"I wonder what your thoughts are on red lipstick? Do French girls wear it?"

This is a troublesome question. Certainment you see an awful lot of red lipsticks in Paris department stores Bon Marche, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette.
But do you see any French girls wearing red lipstick/rouge a levres? I don't.
Red shoes? Oui, bien sur!
Le parfume rouge?
Il existe!
La manteau rouge/red coats?
On every street corner
Le meme chose with little red smart cars.

Red stockings in the red Metro? Why not?

 If you're going to a bistro you will see rouge (the red meat)
Will a French girl sit at a table rouge? Pas de problem.

And write with a red pencil in a red cahier/notebook from adorable Marie-Papier on rue Vavin? Pourquoi pas?
A 4:30 gouter/snack of macarons framboise or fraise 🍓 may pass her lips.
Or any Parisien patisserie even a gateaux de rouge.
Pierre Herme Ispahan, watercolor
Red is one of my favorite paintbox accent.

But on a French girl's lips? Have you seen it? I have not.
Jamie responded, "I can't seem to give it up - perhaps I'll have to go to Lipstick Rehab!"


  1. you know you're right! now that i come to think of it, I havent seen any french ladies wear red lipstick either.
    And its considered such a classic, go figure.

  2. I love the red in that first image--it's not fire-engine red, but subtle and pretty. I think certain people can really carry off red lipstick,...and if they can, they should go for it.

    Beautiful aquarelle, M'lle!

  3. Gosh, the French know how to make pretty desserts, don't they?

  4. My fave is the Tarte aux Fruits Rouges!

    The mags keep telling us that red lipstick is making the big comeback, but that's the only place I really see it. I do love it though, with minimal eyemake-up.

  5. miam miam...I love tarte au fruit rouges least to look at
    I must taste some next trip!

  6. Red lipstick may just be part of our IDEA of the French. Part of the myth that makes those fashionable women so untouchable...even if they never wear it!

  7. Not only do they not wear red lipstick, they don’t wear red nail polish, either.

    I will never forget shopping in the Monoprix on rue de Seine (I think) for Bourjois (the second Chanel brand). I was picking out various red polishes when a French woman approached me and said
    “French women never wear red nail polish except possibly for a fete and then only one night. It comes off the very next day and is replaced with pale color—c’est plus naturale, n’est-ce pas?”

    I have never worn red nail polish since.

  8. No nailpolish - check
    No lipstick - check
    No earrings - check
    messy hair - check
    big scarf - check
    big bag - check
    I'm covered!

  9. My life will not be complete until I get one of those macarons!

  10. Anonymous11:29 AM

    On my first visit to Paris, I went to Pere Lachaise and that is where I saw red lipstick in the form of lipstick kiss prints all over the gravestone of Oscar Wilde. A lady from England asked me, "Why would women love Oscar Wilde so?" I told her that it probably wasn't women but gay men Rouge-ing up, kissing the tomb and then wiping it off.
    So, French women don't wear red lipstick but French drag queens and lover's of wit do!!!

  11. Yes, I 've seen plenty of red in France...esp. when I lived there & now here...but not as an every day slick of red as so many people think/have written. Also it depends on age. Red lipstick can be aging & so when the young girls wear it with a ponytail or messy bun, etc. & no other makeup it can be charming. when older it can look too-too. whatever, I keep some on hand, just in case (& mix it with clear/or pink & brush it on.) Like who cares what I do...but that's what goes on.

    Someone hasn't seen "any" French women wearing red? Well, they do. Just not as much as the cliche would have it......

    bonjour to all...

  12. They kiss so much, it gets smudged off!
    You won't find them on the streets in red lips.

  13. Oh, Carol--
    This is fantastic!
    I think I will keep wearing the red!
    Looking forward to seeing you in NYC!

  14. Bonjour !
    I'm French (that explains my bad English) and I really appreciate your "regard" on Paris and the Parisians ;-) And, yes, we (=I) don't wear red lipstick on day...sometimes on night...or after 50 years old !

  15. You're so right. I first noticed the light touch make-up wise on the news anchors. They look so stylish and put together without all that dramatic make up.
    Gorgeous post! I'm going to have to change into a red shirt now! All that color is so pretty!

  16. Justine2:24 PM

    J'adore Vanessa Paradise!!!!

  17. That opening shot is to die for :)
    (The Metro shot is great, too)

  18. My Grandmother wore red lipstick and red nail polish. I have memories of it plastered on my face when ever we visited her. lol
    Love that little red smart car.

  19. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Wonderful post! I saw the same Rouge Coco ad at the bus stop on 2nd and 68th and just had to have the color. It's so beautiful. Especially on fair skin.

    Red looks amazing with VERY minimal eye makeup if you have the time to properly apply it and it's the right shade. If not it can just look so garish. Definitely not something for every day (guys really do hate the crap we put on our faces!), but for a special night out it can make all the difference in the world.

  20. Anne-Marie5:22 AM

    RED lips are for the RED carpet
    Bonjour Cannes

  21. Belinda5:30 AM

    MERCI for the CHANEL and the Paris street fashions!!!

  22. Beautiful, comme d'abitude!!

    Thanks for your post


  23. Anonymous11:02 AM

    I knew a girl from St. Tropez who wore red lipstick. She was supercool, hair was slightly messy, and lipstick was slightly smudged... it all worked for her overall "look"

  24. Anny Mouse - a girl from St. Tropez, like a Girl from Ipanema can get away with whatever she pleases.
    It goes with the territory.
    c'est la vie

  25. What a magical post. I've just been transported back to Paris and you've made me feel v happy.

    My darling daughter lives in France not far from Paris so I too spend time there every visit and like you, I feel I could become a parisienne too!!

  26. Could this be a French Woman Conspiracy??? They over-hype the red lipstick, duping millions of American women into wearing something totally gauche???

  27. You know it is strange, I have seen more red lipstick this season than ever. And there is a poster for Juliette Binoche's new play where is wearing the brightest red lipstick I have ever seen.

  28. Angela Angela Angela!
    Hey the Red Carpet
    Of course they slather their lips with red paint.
    They have to POP!
    I'm talking street wear here.
    I DID buy a CHANEL LIPSTICK while in Paris...

    You HAVE too, right?

  29. Maybe no red lipstick, but I love all the compilation of red you note, via photos, throughout Paris. Very true. A classic colour that stands out beautifully.

  30. I'm with Sophia. No red lipstick or red nails. Except for toes, that is! When the sun comes out, so does the Chanel Fire nail polish on exposed tootsies!

    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris

  31. What about Rachida Dati's red lipstick, Carol??

    Christine Hueber

  32. Annie V.9:10 PM

    Red lipstick in France is only worn by women of a certain age!!!!

    Annie v.

  33. i love the look of those macaroons, they look amazing

  34. Anonymous4:38 PM

    I have a couple of sacred Hermes Rouge lipsticks - one matte full coverage and the other a transparent red veil - both are worn and neither look gauche. You can't wear full make up and red lips, your skin must be clean and radiant. Too many English and American wannabes try to look French but give the game away by not speaking the language or getting the look completely wrong, as if they have some idealised image of what the French are like. If you aren't French we can tell by clothes, weight, and multitude of other tells... just be you, you are a tourist after all!

    1. Anonymous1:11 PM

      I bet you look just like Jennifer Annison!!


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