Monday, March 28, 2011

Guerlain Rouge Automatique lipstick: a Nostalgic Dip into Perfume Names Archives

It's fascinating to see what a historic perfume house like Guerlain can do with archived names. In this case, they're creating a covetable triumvirate: the brand, the perfume names, the new lipstick: with Guerlain Rouge Automatique the house revives many of its fragrance names into lipstick formulae encased into a small jewel for the purse; a lipstick into a retro retractable case that will officially launch in April. The necessity of using old names is of course inescapable: On the one hand, the desire (and the need) to maintain a link with heritage and tradition. In the case of some old perfumes, a necessity in order to keep competitors from using names in the long history of the house. On the other hand the ease of using already copyrighted names, thus bypassing a time and energy consuming task. It's interesting to see that some of the names concern recently discontinued fragrances, so the desire to keep the name running is -hopefully- optimistic.

The story of Rouge Automatique reads like an historian's wet dream:

While searching through the immense Guerlain archives, Olivier Échaudemaison (Guerlain Artistic Director for cosmetics) found a small Art Deco wonder created in 1936 that captured his attention: the original “Rouge Automatique.” Though the legendary lipstick’s craftsmanship and hand finishes were commonplace at the time, the lipstick packaging was a revolution in itself with its single hand push to reveal luxurious color. Olivier now reinterprets Rouge Automatique for the 21st century – re-innovating the piece as the first lipstick without a cap and with an application technique requiring only a single hand.
With “Ne m’oubliez pas” (Forget me not) in 1870, Aimé Guerlain was the first to create the wax lipstick in a gold plated tube – inspired by a cylinder used to mold candles. The new Rouge Automatique builds on this heritage with a lipstick encased in a sleek, structural, gold chamber. Simple, clever and coveted. An elegant accessory steeped in history. And featuring an innovative new formula with a fine, sensual texture that glides over lips to melt on the mouth like second skin…

The collection comprises shades (and names of classical and more modern fragrances) for everyone. [Wherever there is a highlighted link below, I have linked a review of the accompanying perfume]:

Unforgettable Beiges

Passionate Reds

Flamboyant Oranges

Loving Pinks

  • 160 Bal de Mai
  • 161 Cherry Blossom
  • 162 Bloom of Rose
  • 163 Rose Bengale
  • 164 Chamade
  • 165 Champs-Elysées
  • 166 Shalimar
  • 167 Guet-Apens
  • 168 L’Heure Bleue
Guerlain Rouge Automatique will be available in April 2011 at $35 at select locations of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and at Bergdorf Goodman.

Thanks to Donna/POL for bringing this to my attention. List of numbers & names via temptalia. Inside the Rouge Automatique box pic taken by Evachen212 on twitter. Pic of original 1936 ad via maddyloves


  1. Fiordiligi20:09

    Guerlain and lipstick? What's not to love? I am eagerly awaiting those pinks! Thank you my dearest E.

  2. I quite agree with you dear D! They have lovely cosmetics as a rule (their eye palettes are so pretty) and the lipsticks sound promising.
    It's funny to see that the colour-coding probably follows a thinking behind "more subdued" vs. more exuberant in respective fragrance names: otherwise why is Jicky a beige and Guet Apens a pink? I also assume that by pink they encompass all shades of mauves, purples (very fitting to GA) and roses, while the Beiges will probably feature a couple of bronzes and cocoas too.

  3. Ohhh here's hoping Chamade is a lovely shade!

  4. I hope so too, Victoria! With such a romantic name.
    Nice seeing you here, thanks for commenting! :-)


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