Revlon celebrates 80 years of gla­mour

Dita Teese swears by it and you’ll be hard pressed to spot Gwen Stefani not wearing it so you’ll be forgiven for thinking that red nail varnish has always been around. In reality, Revlon created the first one back in 1932, when the company launched. With the brand celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, it’s only right, then, that it has decided to take a look back at its history; and what an impressive one it has.

Dissatisfied with the nail colours available during the Great Depression (apparently, pale and transparent styles were all the range back then), Charles and Joseph Revson joined forces with chemist Charles Lachman, (the “l” in Revlon) to create the enamel’s first manifestation. At the time, they sold door-to-door but within six years the business turned into a multi-million dollar company. Fast forward to today and its products are sold everywhere and the classic styles, like the original “Cherries in the Snow,” are doing just as well as they did all those years ago.

To mark the big 8-0, the brand decided to take things forward and show off what it’s learnt over the last 80 years by launching the Colour Stay Long Wear Enamel collection. Comprised of 28 shades, the enamels are the closest you’ll get to a gel manicure and are said to last longer than any shade on the market; a necessary requirement, if you ask me, considering the line marks the first time the brand has released a nail polish formula since its founding year.

The timing couldn’t be better: nail lacquers are having quite the moment right now. Brands ranging from Rodarte to PPQ and Meadham Kirchoff experimented with nail art during fashion week this season. Where lipsticks used to be the go-to luxury item for women during the recession, nail varnishes have quickly become the recession-proof item of choice.

And the celebrations don’t end there. As of 29 November, London’s Film Museum will play host to “The Colour Of Glamour: 80 Years of Revlon,” an exhibition dedicated to charting the brand’s key moments over the years.

The exhibition will run from 29 November to 2 December on 45 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BN.