The Perfect Red Lip

Unlike the vast majority of fashion enthusiasts, I wouldn’t call myself a Chanel obsessor. Though I covet old photos of Coco with a string of pearls and a cigarette, I refuse to idolize a Nazi spy, and Karl Lagerfeld is about as pretentious and boring as the bouclé suits the line is famous for. Many young fashionistas love Chanel because they don’t know what else to love. Ladies, make yourselves aware of the other three, infinitely superior C’s: Céline, Chloé, and Cristóbal (Balenciaga, of course). Yes, Chanel is beautiful, timeless, and classic. Yes, it has been around for a long time. Yes, it was one of the first bold-faced names in fashion. But to me, these days, it’s little more than a symbol of a stodgier, simpler time.

However, there is just one thing about Chanel that I love, season after season. It isn’t the gowns, the shoes, or the extravagant shows. In fact, it has much less to do with Lagerfeld and much more to do with Peter Philips, the global creative director for Chanel Makeup. All I can say is this: I want everything he creates and releases. Since he assumed the title in 2008, he’s formulated what has to be my favorite lipstick ever, Chanel Coco Rouge. I wore my tube of Mademoiselle down to a nub. Earlier this year, when I was growing complacent with the Chanel lipstick offerings, Philips debuted Rouge Coco Shine, Coco Rouge’s sheerer, softer younger sister. I’m not usually one to embrace shine, but this formula had (and still has) me slick and glossy on the regular. Still, the collections left me wanting something more… natural. Less obvious. More matte!

Peter, can you hear my prayers? All signs point to yes, because last week I opened a fateful email. It said, and I quote:

“Introducing Rouge Allure Velvet, luminous matte lip colour. For lovers of matte lipstick, the next generation is here. This breakthrough formulation delivers intensely rich colour and a soft, sumptuous velvet-matte finish in eight alluring shades.”

Unlike Coco Rouge, which was announced long before it debuted and had me grinding my teeth with anticipation for the release date, this message detailing Velvet features the two most beautiful, gratifying words in the English language: Shop Now.

I don’t have one — yet — but I checked out all the colors and they are oh so very glorious. How will I ever pick just one? [$32, Chanel]

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