Photograph Courtesy of La Bouche Rouge
Paris-based brand La Bouche Rouge prides itself on being “beautifully sustainable”—a concept that has been very much at the root of its ethos since it launched just a few years ago. To that end, the Maison and its founders Nicolas Gerlier and Ezra Petronio have put tireless thought and attention into the creation of their products—beyond lipstick shades— seeing to it that they successfully designed a plastic-free lipstick case and donate 100 liters of safe water to Eau Vive International for each lipstick that they sell. This past month, we sat down with Gerlier to learn more about the brand’s beginnings, its future, and the exclusive partnership with our Fashion Director Linda Fargo. Read the full interview below and shop La Bouche Rouge in store on the Beauty Level.
Bergdorf Goodman: Can you tell us the back story behind the brand’s conception?
Nicolas Gerlier: I have been working in the beauty industry for more than ten years, and I see it gradually evolving, transforming, and fluctuating. At L’Oréal Luxe, I led projects such as Acqua For Life for Armani. I am convinced that my generation cannot continue to think, produce and consume like previous generations. I have been inspired by the work of designers and people trying to change things in every industry.
La Bouche Rouge Co-founder and Creative Director, Ezra Petronio was very inspiring to me to develop this brand. Two years ago, on the 9th of September 2016, my encounter with him was decisive. He is responsible for all the creative direction of La Bouche Rouge. He is the house’s eye and hand. Our lipstick is called the Rouge 9.16, as a symbol of our collaboration and a sign of the great pleasure we have to work together between Paris and New York. This is a beautiful creative story that is always the result of common work.
BG: At its core, how would the describe the brand’s ethos?
NG: Our ethos is to be beautifully sustainable. Sustainable beauty should be the perfect balance between beauty, product performance, and sustainability. We believe in creating the desire to consume differently and we are convinced that this is achievable through designing beautiful objects. We should not compromise between sexiness and sustainability. Sustainability should be considered as whole process from the way we produce, the design, the distribution, the life of the product. It is an ongoing process. La Bouche Rouge is the first luxury sustainable makeup brand that took the commitment to avoid plastic at the maximum.
We also believe that luxury should endorse positive economy projects. For each lipstick sold we give 100 liters of safe water to Eau Vive International and support a project in Togo. Since its creation, the Maison’s approach has been based on a strong desire to create a new virtuous economy, of which giving and redistribution are fundamental pillars.
BG: Why did you decide to use vegan and fine leather refillable lipstick cases?
NG: We first launched our lipstick in a precious and refillable leather case. We really wanted our object to be plastic free and a tribute to French craftsmanship. We want to reintroduce the artisanal tradition into everyday objects working with French tanneries and create the desire to consume differently through sustainable design and highlighting excellence and know-how. A precious object is an object for life.
We wanted to offer a vegan alternative to our customer but needed one year to find the perfect material that was both sustainable and very qualitative. We found it thanks to the help of Stella McCartney, a good friend of the brand and launched it last May.
All of our lipstick formulas are vegan whether you buy it with the leather case or the vegan case.
BG: Can you elaborate on the collaboration with BG Fashion Director Linda Fargo?
NG: We are very proud to create an exclusive shade for Linda Fargo, as she represents American elegance, and she lives in a red lip!
We succeeded in creating her perfect shade—a deep red with a touch of blue to enhance her complexion and hair color.
The color is named PASSHION. The Linda Fargo Set comes with red leather cases as it is her favorite.
BG: What is your first Bergdorf Goodman memory?
NG: As a student I came to New York to visit museums and Berdorf Goodman was a dreamy store to me.
I remember visiting it almost as if it were a museum, fascinated by how chic everything looked.