Photography Rui Faria

Makeup Linda Öhrström

Model Rachel Gill

When times get tough, cosmetics sales tend to take a turn for the better with our lust for the perfect pout hitting the top spot of affordable indulgences.

Why? Because when it comes to style, there’s nothing in the kit that is more instantly transformative, or indeed seductively powerful, than lipstick.

Beauty Director of Volt Magazine, Linda Öhrström, who first got hooked on lipstick after dabbling in Chanel’s classic Rouge Coco range, confirms lipstick’s unique appeal as the ultimate piece of desert island beauty ammo: “You can accentuate eyes with the right shade of lipstick but it doesn’t work the same way in reverse. There just isn’t a piece of eye make-up that brings out the lips”.

2011 is no exception to the recessionary rule, with lips the focus of every beauty editor’s beady eye. But this season’s ferociously luscious new palette of hot coral (in pole position as the colour of the season), tangy oranges, wild pinks and fiery reds are taking things to a whole new level.

Although seasonal colour choices may seem like a lucky dip that appear from nowhere, dig a little deeper and you’ll find a whole other world at play, linked directly to the shifting fortunes of society-at-large, tucked just below the surface.

Colour consultant and trend forecaster Al McCool agrees that lipstick is the magic product and believes that this summer’s catwalk-inspired trend for ultra cheeky colour – worn as intensely by day as it is by night – is all about the high energy of a fantasy rebellion; a new phase of “we’ll do what we like, when we like” escapist fun sweeping cosmetic counters across the country.

“Just like the mid 80’s, this is a boom-time for experimentation,” says McCool. “It’s all about the impact, making an impression – and fast. We’re living in a time where it’s as much about living in – and for – the moment as it is connecting to the looks of the season.  You just have to look at pop stars like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Jessie J who epitomise the excitement and abandon of fast, disposable fashion. These colours are a reflection of that kind of fashion feeling. They’re bold, beautiful and totally daring – like a kind of a costume”.

Whatever the bigger picture, the current riot of colour, playful and mischievous, is the perfect remedy to grown-up woes and offers up the ideal lipstick wardrobe to fuel a red-hot summer.

But what should we expect for A/W 2011? What can possibly follow the pumped up drama of spring/summer? According to McCool, the brights that we’re loving so much right now are very likely to be sticking around. “It’s bright now, but it’s going to get even brighter,” suggests McCool, “It’s what they’ll be partnered up with that will take them into the new season.

Oh, and watch out for violet too – but quite possibly not in the way you may be expecting…

Words by Katie Baron