Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Lady is a (Chanel) Vamp

Let's take a stroll back twenty years to 1994, shall we? When "My So-Called Life" premiered, Naomi Campbell (who stormed Isaac Mizrahi's runway, naturally) and Robert DeNiro were an item, and Berlin-native Nadja Auermann was the model of the moment. Perhaps more importantly, it's also the year Chanel premiered a deep blend of red and black that came to be known as Vamp, in nail lacquer and lipstick form.

The story behind it: Alternatively called "Rouge Noir" (trust it would not have been the hit it was in the U.S. without the word "Vamp" attached), then-Chanel Creative Director Dominique Moncourtois was motivated to create the color by Karl Lagerfield. He had requested a deep, dark hue that would show up in the black-and-white photos he was producing to advertise their Spring/Summer 1995 collection. Vamp was born out of red polish covered in black marker.

But it went on to become so much more. Uma Thurman, aka Mia Wallace, donned the polish in Pulp Fiction, cigarette (after cigarette) in hand...

Madonna made it her costar, second to bullfighter Emilio Muñoz, in the "Take a Bow" music video, the perfect counterpart to smeared red lipstick, black lace, generous cleavage, and mistress tears...

Goth-chic, bad girl-cool, vintage throwback, eternally edgy: Whatever you want to call it, you have to admit it has a timeless, if not recurringly relevant, quality. You can still buy the revised version of Vamp, a lighter, shimmery version introduced in 2003 that's just not quite the same, here, as well as the lipstick version. These days, colors like this are a dime a dozen, but the first black-red cut is the deepest. Viva la Vamp! On that note, here are a few Vamp-inspired moments for good measure: