A Shade of Red is a book I’ve been coveting for quite some time. Alyson Fox photographed over 100 women all wearing the same shade of red: Certainly Red by Revlon. They are of all ages, all walks of life, and the book seems to be more about them than the lipstick itself. I look at each photograph, and I wonder to myself, “Who are you? What have you dreamed for your life? Where are you going now?”
Alyson based her book on these two quotes:
“It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived…Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips….That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.”
– Colonel Gonin (commenting on the liberation of the Bergen-Belson concentration camp)
Now, once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of “posing,” I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself in advance into an image.
– Roland Barthes (Camera Lucida, 10)
For surely those of us who wear lipstick wear it for one of these reasons: to be unique, to show confidence (even when it might not be felt), to look glamorous, or to transform ourselves into someone else.
I have searched through, and worn, “hundreds” of red in my life: Guerlain’s Gala, Chanel’s Paris, Chantecaille’s Poppy are a few I like from more luxurious lines; Rimmel’s No. 1, Aveda’s Poppy, and L’Oreal’s British Red from the less expensive. But I can attest to the value of Revlon’s Certainly Red. It has been around since 1951, worn for its lovely blue-red shade, its creamy formula, and its fabulous price. It is my current favorite.