The return of iconic lips

WHEN Tom Ford brings out a line of clothes, perfume, makeup – or even a film, as he did earlier this year – we all instantly know it’s going to be the season’s must-have (or must do). So with the launch of his Private Blend range of lipsticks, it has become blazingly obvious that any woman worth her platform clogs should be carrying one – or one just like it.

What Ford has done is tap into a raging vogue for old-school swivel lipsticks, a la 1950s housewife and 1980s power-dressing, shoulder pad-wearing, perm-getting babe. They also used to be what little girls like me played with after fishing them out of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ handbags – with the result being outlandish-looking, uncomfortably dry lips, and – of course – that artificial cosmetic aroma.

So why the renaissance? “A few years ago we were looking for innovation at every twist and turn,” says Annalise Quest, beauty director at Harrods. “But since the recession we’ve been craving nostalgic styles; iconic products like swivel lipsticks that feel trusted. Across the board we’re seeing a trend for young women buying into a resurgence of the 1980s – you see it in fashion, too. But nothing is more iconic than that lipstick that you open, turn and apply.” Quest says such lippies are the biggest area of growth across all colour lip lines – with the swivel-tastic likes of Guerlain’s Rouge G and Ford’s Private Blend “flying off the shelves”.

There’s far more to this style of lipstick than nostalgia. “It’s about having something beautiful and significant in your handbag. A few years ago women would have gone into the bathroom to touch up, but now we are more than happy to bring beautiful, statement pieces out of our handbags and touch up on the Tube, a bar, or a restaurant.” Indeed – there’s a lipstick at Harrods with Armani Rouge inside and black and clear Swarovski crystals outside, plus a chain for hanging round the neck. It costs £1,000.

It’s statements all round, as Quest says the dense pigment that is only really possible in the swivel lipsticks is part of a trend that sees the rise of bright lips, while eyes are becoming more neutral. “This style has let the lips become a statement again,” she says.

The other important element of this type of lipstick is the click it makes when you close and open it – Dolce and Gabbana have made their recent line with a click that reminds them of their mothers. “The fashion comes from wanting something weighted and clicked,” says Quest. With this all-important swivel-click in mind, Burberry is launching a lipstick in July that comes with a magnet that makes the top click automatically. Quest sounds thrilled talking about it.

And crucially, that stinging, drying sensation I felt trying on lipstick in the 1980s has vanished as the new formulas have become far more conditioning, while still providing that original creaminess. What’s not to love? Actually, I’m reaching into my handbag as we speak….

£20 at Harrods and Selfridges

£1,000 at Harrods

£25 at Debenhams

£35 at Harrods, Harvey Nichols