From Lisa Armstrong in the Times, today
Elbaz isn't sure: “But they say in a recession that the one thing that doesn't go down is red lipstick.” Not that baldly commercial imperatives sway him. He used red because there have been many mornings, since the sunny, colourful collection that he designed more than a year ago (the one in all the magazines now, coveted by every woman conversant with modern clothes), when he woke up, switched on the news about Gaza or another failing bank and thought, Who Needs Fashion? “But, you know, it's almost like that moment when someone is told they have a disease. Either you say, OK, let me die now, or you say, I'm going to buy a beautiful dress, I'm going to go forward and I'm going to go back to lipstick. And do you know what? A good shoe or a good dress does something to you. It's not just about fashion victims. It really does do something for all women.”
Eccentric as this might seem to those not embalmed in fashion fluid, he is on to something. In The Thoughtful Dresser, Linda Grant's new book about clothes, she recounts the almost life-saving effects on female inmates of a consignment of red lipstick mysteriously delivered the to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp shortly after the British Red Cross arrived in 1945.