Victory Red

With the invention of the push-up lipstick after WWI, the ground was laid for a revolution: lipstick was now portable, easily applicable and would later become—against the backdrop of the Great Depression—a small luxury item symbolizing female strength.

Unsurprisingly, bright red lipstick was used by the American Suffragette movement as a statement of rebellion and modern female power (before then, red lipstick was perceived as something worn only by female sex workers).

During WWII, when female labor power was recognized as necessary for the maintenance of the war-economy, views on women and lipstick once again began to shift. Given the fact that Hitler hated lipstick and wanted German women to be “pure” and “natural” and avoid makeup at all costs, the American cosmetics industry responded by producing patriotic lipsticks with names like “Victory Red”, “Montezuma Red” and “Fighting Red,” transforming red lips into a symbol of anti-fascism.

Scroll to top