Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve did their part, too.
The 1943 uniform regulations for the newly-formed U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserves required that not only were women required to wear red lipstick and nail polish, it must match the “Marine scarlet” chevrons and cap cord of their forest green* uniforms. Seeking an easier way for their Women Reserves to achieve uniformity with their lipstick and nail polish, the Marine Corps asked Elizabeth Arden, who introduced a lipstick shade called “Victory Red” in 1941 and had the exclusive on products used in on-base salons, to create a new shade of red cosmetics.
|Elizabeth Arden ad for Victory Red, 1941.|
|Reservists at Camp Le Jeune, NC, 1943 (Photo: unknown, via Olive-drab.com.)|
|U.S. M.C. Women's Reserve recruiting poster, 1943.|
The red Elizabeth Arden created, “Montezuma Red,” named after the first line in the Marine Corps Hymn, was released to U.S. consumers in in 1944 in the form of lipstick, nail polish, and rouge.
Elizabeth Arden may have had the official commission, but red lipstick sales in the U.S. and Great Britain were going through the roof all around. In the U.S., female factory workers were encouraged to wear red lipstick with their "Rosie the Riveter" garb and applied matching red polish to their factory-practical short nails. Other cosmetics companies were on the war bandwagon too, coming up with patriotic ads depicting women in uniform (or women waiting for their men who were in uniform), and designing compacts and lipstick tubes with patriotic themes.
|Unknown worker at North American Aviation, Inc. in CA during WWll.|
(Photo: Alfred T. Palmer, Farm Security Admin., Office of War Information Collection
via RosieSays.com .)
All combined, these forces collided to make red lipstick a permanent part of World War ll-era pop culture. Later, in gratitude for their military service as well as their role in modern cosmetics history, Elizabeth Arden, Inc. honored Claire Cummings and other U.S. Marine Corps Womens’ Reserve members at a World War ll anniversary event, gifting them with commemorative tubes of “Montezuma Red” lipstick.
|Wartime ad for Tangee lipstick.|
|World War ll poster recruiting women factory workers.|
|World War ll poster recruiting women for the workforce.|
|World War ll poster. Note her red lipstick.|
|Unknown World war ll -era cosmetics ad.|
|Magazine cover, 1943.|
|1939 Cyclax lipstick ad, London.|
|Tussy lipstick ad, American, early 1940's.|
|Unknown model WW2.|
*Nurses, who were required to wear natural shades of pink nail polish, were the exception to World War 2-era red nail polish rule for U.S. military women.
***Elizabeth Arden "Montezuma Red" ad copy (punctuation and capitalization theirs): Elizabeth Arden's newest lipstick color--Montezuma Red...inspired by the brave, true red of the hat cord, scarf, and chevrons of the Women in the Marines. A vivid red to wear with black, white, gray, beige, navy and tweeds. A tribute to some of the bravest men and women in the world. Complete Montezuma Red makeup: Montezuma Red lipstick $1.50 (refills .75) Montezuma Red Cream Rouge 1.25 and 1.75 Montezuma Red Nail Polish .75 All Day Foundation, Dark Rachel, 1.00 Illusion Powder, Special Mat Fonce 1.75 and 3.00 Cameo Powder, Rose Beige, 1.75 and 3.00 Eye Shade, Malachite 1.25 Eyelash Pomade, Dark, 1.00 and 2.00
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