Elizabeth Arden first provided red lipstick for women marching for the vote in 1912. Now the brand has released a red lipstick with 100% of proceeds benefiting UN Women. Here’s why we’re still ‘marching on’, red lips and all
Elizabeth Arden isn’t simply the purveyor of your granny’s favourite Eight Hour Cream. Elizabeth Arden the woman may have been one of the earliest adopters of a red lip , which given the fact that it was taboo at the time makes her a heroine enough in our eyes, but she used said red lip to make an impact that far exceeded the aesthetic. In 1912 she handed out red lipsticks to women marching for the vote on New York’s Fifth Avenue, a symbolic action that carries even more weight when you consider that she was herself a business owner and entrepreneur- a rare position for a woman to be in at the time. If you consider that wearing makeup alone was considered socially unacceptable, founding and running a beauty business, particularly as a woman who didn’t even have the right to vote, was groundbreaking.
She continued supplying women with defiant red lipstick through turbulent times, sending tubes to women serving in the military during World War II and went on to become the first woman ever featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1946. Smashing professional, social and political ceilings seemed to be all in a day’s work for Arden, and today the company are continuing her legacy with the 2018 March On campaign.
At the centre of the story is a limited edition ‘Red Door Red’ lipstick , signed by modern day Arden spokeswoman and women’s rights advocate Reese Witherspoon, with 100% of proceeds donated to UN Women. In all, Elizabeth Arden has pledged to donate at least $1 million to the organisation, which dedicates its work to achieving gender equality and empowering women around the world. On the ground, UN Women supports UN Member States and liaises with governments and civil societies to design law, policy, services and programmes to ensure that gender equality standards and initiatives are effectively implemented, so that women and girls worldwide reap the tangible benefits. As such, the March On red lipstick is symbolic of female solidarity and fearlessness, as it has been throughout time, as well as being as visually punchy as ever.
Reese Witherspoon has quite literally put her name to the project, and sings its praises:
“There is real strength and camaraderie in March On and the feeling that we are in this together. By bringing UN Women, Elizabeth Arden and women everywhere together we can help change women’s lives around the world for the better. I have the unique privilege to not only tell these women’s stories through my production company as well as my relationship with Elizabeth Arden, but I also get to encourage them to share their own stories through March On.”
March On Beautiful Color Lipstick in Red Door Red, £22, buy online