Despite being named Fashion Week, the month-long extravaganza gives rise to just as many beauty trends as it does fashion obsessions. And after the New York-London-Milan-Paris tour in September and October, one thing is certain: this autumn, the power pout will be huge.
The bold lip and power pout together exude an attitude that says, “read my lips,” as well as “respect them.” putting the mouth and its contents at the center of any ensemble.
A power pout provides an executive ‘je ne sais quoi’ that a nude lip cannot, especially when worn with a fitted coat or a shrewd leather outfit.
Take Saint Laurent, who sent nearly all their models down their SS24 runway wearing a dramatic red lippie. As did David Koma, who upped the theatrics by adorning his red lip with studded red rhinestones. Meanwhile, Pat McGrath said the bold red lip “is always iconic” and “the ultimate representation of glamour” when asked about the parade of crimson lipstick at the Schiaparelli catwalk.
Jess Hunt, the co-founder of makeup brand Refy, agrees: “I attended NY, London, and Paris Fashion Week this year and saw a lot of bold lips on the runway. I loved how it looked.”
“I was inspired to wear our newly released Red collection after seeing the bold statement lips showcased at the Kim Shui A/W23 show in NYC,” she adds on the rise of the power pout, and how it’s informing her product range.
Throughout history, a bold lip has been synonymous with power. Whether it was the American suffragettes using red lipstick as a daring signifier, with leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Charlotte Perkin famously proclaiming its male-intimidating qualities. Or nineties cult film The Craft which inspired teens worldwide to sport black lipstick and hex those who have wronged them — proving that a power pout doesn’t just have to be red. And you only needed to try one for yourself to understand the enduring appeal of a statement lip.
Makeup artist Aoife Cullen is an exciting next-gen creative who has been championing surrealist power pouts in her popular “trying weird lip combos” TikTok format. In one video she pairs smoked purple lipstick with a frosty blue eyeshadow glossed on top. In another, she layers various shades of orange to create the perfect “chip shop curry chip lips”.
“I was fed up with all of the attention being on the eyes and felt like a nude lip almost always ruined the effect I was going for with my makeup and stunted my creative flow, so I started to experiment,” explains Cullen. “I like to pick clashing colors, and play with shape and texture using creams, powders, and shimmers. It is so freeing and exciting for me to not worry about matching this and that or being ‘too much’ but just pulling combinations together that I find interesting and seeing what happens,” she says.
With over 180,000 followers on Instagram and 270,000 on TikTok, the Dazed 100 alumni is proving there’s a strong appetite for strong smackers, which was also evident on the runways. From Maison Margiela’s space-ready metallic lips to Burberry’s gothic dark green look. It’s even subliminally being pushed in A.W.A.K.E MODE’s 3D pout embossed jersey, shirting and shoe designs in its SS24 collection.
“In our SS24 collection we have a big pout motif on jerseys, shirts and shoes – lips are such a huge beauty standard topic at the moment, enhanced or not, and we were reflecting on how these ideals of beauty change over time,” says A.W.A.K.E founder Natalia Alaverdian on the prevailing power pout trend. “It’s empowering to know that there is so much choice, or room for different versions of what can be beautiful for women today.”
With loud luxury set to upend the quiet luxury hold, it’s no surprise the power pout has prowled into the style consciousness. Make this a winter of going out-out with muted tones (and vibes) left at home.
The top 3 best products to achieve a power pout