If you’re going to celebrate National Lipstick Day, you may as well take inspiration from movie stars.
This is not an article about makeup—it’s an article about the visual frisson films elicit from depicting lipsticked lips.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
When lipstick touches lips in the movies, something magical happens. Looking at or experiencing the alchemical juxtaposition of a shade of red, pink, coral, or brown (usually) and the color of skin is emotionally affecting (and more than merely arousing). It’s a drama in its own right.
Film especially, and digital video only marginally less so, can emphasize that collusion (or collision) more explicitly than reality. The secret ingredient in lipstick isn’t wax or oil. It’s imagination.
Self-evidently, a degree of fetishization takes place when a director or a makeup artist requires an actor to apply lipstick for the rest of the world to contemplate in some way. If the eyes are the window of the soul, then the lips are its embrasure—the portal for the tongue and for words that can caress or sting—and the cushion for other people’s lips.
Is it any wonder that lips have loomed large in the cinema? They are not equal in importance with eyes, for looking is the cinema’s domain, but they are infinitely more important than genitals, which are very low down in the cinematic pecking order.
It has become acceptable for practically any adult to wear lipstick in movies, but for the purposes of celebrating National Lipstick Day, July 29, I’ve chosen not to celebrate Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell (and accidentally Kyle MacLachlan) in Blue Velvet; or Heath Ledger’s The Joker in The Dark Knight.
Instead, you can see here the likes of femme avenger Lena Olin (pictured at top in 1993’s Romeo Is Bleeding); the patrician silent star Dolores Costello (Drew Barrymore’s grandmother), whose grave I visited in the 1990s; Louise Brooks’s not-quite-penitent widow Lulu in Pandora’s Box; “It Girl” Clara Bow (below left), who was born in Brooklyn 112 years ago today, and she who is aptly named Scarlett in Under the Skin (2013).
That’s because I’ve needed to be honest with myself and choose the lipstick-wearers in film who have spoken most eloquently to me. To that end, I canonize as their patron saint Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) from 1947’s Black Narcissus.
Unable to suppress her lust for the brooding English agent (David Farrar), appointed to help her Anglican sisterhood settle in the Himalayas, Ruth defiantly asserts her femininity. She does it before Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), the repressed Sister Superior, by painting her lips crimson. The gothic melodrama appeared during Britain’s post-war Age of Austerity, when it was necessary for Ruth to be regarded as crazy. She is, it’s true, but these days she seems much more of a feminist heroine than Clodagh, who took vows because she’s too scared to love again.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s masterpiece, which opened in New York 70 years ago this August 13, screens at the Museum of Modern Art at 1pm on August 10 as part of Modern Matinees: The Impeccable Deborah Kerr.
Here, we salute (“anoint” is a better word) all of cinema’s lipstick heroines—for the arched bows of their beautiful mouths.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.