The first question, before I launch into a mini rant is: How important/relevant is status as it applies to the overt exhibition of products? I would imagine that’s a rather personal question. Some of us see genuine quality associated with a designer name, and, in some cases, rightly so.
But, really, how much are we willing to pay for a beauty product that we know in our heart-of-hearts is more packaging than product.
This is where my argument begins. Is it worth it to us, no matter what our means, to hand over $90 for a lipstick and another $50 from the same designer for his nail polish?
Maybe it is for some women. Maybe some of us get a certain frisson of pleasure knowing we bought an outrageously priced beauty product that, let’s be honest, inside the pretty presentation, is no more efficacious than its much less costly peers.
I’m talking about Christian Louboutin’s collection of lipsticks and nail polishes. I knew about the polishes, but only recently discovered the lip colors. Of course we all know Monsieur Louboutin from his famous red-soled shoe collection, very clever indeed.
The cost of making a quality brand of lipstick is approximately four dollars. I’m assuming that means that apart from the usual ingredients in the product that the colors are deeply saturated and for designer brands the seasonal collections offer of the moment fashion hues. Prices start to mount the second those columns of wax are inserted into their tubes and then their boxes, but still, let’s get real.
Chanel, Dior and YSL nail polish for example, all ring in at less than $30.
Revlon polish is about five dollars, while O.P.I. and Essie — both favorites of professional manicurists — ring in at under $10. (Prices vary depending upon where they’re sold as is true for the lipsticks.)
Designer lipsticks hover around $35 or slightly less.
The Louboutin lipstick can be worn around the neck as a sort of amulet, but who would do that? Then again, if you just handed over $90 for the objet maybe you want to maximize the “investment” by putting it on full display.
As for the flamboyant nail polish bottle with its startling applicator, knowing that it replicates the heel on the highest ballerina pointe shoes, ‘Ballerina Ultima,’ from his 2007 collection, you’ll at least be in on the sly reference. But, few women tote their nail polish with them, so who will see the bottle and know(?), and I would imagine it would have to be packed in check-in luggage because it could be mistaken for, or perhaps more to the point, actually used as a weapon.
As I mentioned not long ago, a professional manicurist in Chicago and the woman who does my pedicures here both told me, a classic manicure lasts less than a week, four days with luck. To get two to three weeks out of a manicure, the only solution is a semi-permanent gel polish.
They also admitted that gel setter top coats, which neither uses because their employers want women to come back often or pay more for the gel polishes, are excellent.
My DIY manicure with normal polish, topped with Essie gel setter lasts two weeks.