News & Runway

Rachel Zoe Launches Exude Lipsticks: A TFS Interview

Rachel Zoe for Exude

I met Rachel Zoe once before; it was about a year and a half ago at a post-show dinner (catered by Indochine!), hosted by Diane von Furstenberg at the designer’s Meatpacking District store in New York City. I introduced myself to Zoe and though our conversation was brief, I remember thinking she was incredibly sweet. I asked her where her sequin black clutch was from and much to my surprise she excitedly told me it was one of her own QVC designs. It’s always refreshing to see celebrities actually use what they’ve stamped their name on – especially when it’s a low-price line. Yesterday, I had the chance to meet Zoe once again and have a more extended chat with the stylist at the launch of a new lipstick line, Exude, which she is endorsing.

Exude was developed by cosmetics industry veterans Diane Breidenbach and Laurence Mille and while the lipstick has been touted as “revolutionary," I was skeptical. I’m now biting my words. The collection includes five glosses and nine lip crèmes (they’re calling the collection a lipstick but all of the products have a liquid formulation), each of which are encased in a lipstick-shaped applicator. The applicator releases the lip product from a hole on the tip similar to a Juicy Tube, but unlike with a Juicy Tube, you can retract the applicator and the formulation will go back into the casing so no lip product is ever wasted. This also allows the lip product to always dispense in a classic lipstick shape for ease of application, so you never have to worry about the product wearing down, melting, crumbling, or digging it out when you hit close to the bottom.

I tried both a crème and a gloss at the launch event and both have a refreshing mint-y scent (the gloss more so than the crème). The clear gloss could easily double as a lip balm if your lips aren’t that dry because the formulation is relatively hydrating. I opted to try out the plum crème and it’s a total doppelganger for my go-to, Tom Ford’s Moroccain Rouge, nice because Exude retails for $29 compared to Ford’s $45. I have to say, though, Ford has a one-up on Exude when it comes to packaging. I don’t love the clinical white casing of Exude, but when I asked Zoe about it, she said she loves it because it’s timeless and that unlike what people might expect, her home in L.A. has a lot of white.

What didn’t have a lot of white? Zoe herself who looked gorgeous in black “old Donna Karan,” she exclaimed after I asked if she was wearing one of her own designs, adding that “she was rushing because she just came back from the Hamptons.” As for her jewelry, she was dripping in more stunning Cartier pieces than I could take in and her makeup looked flawless thanks to, she told me, Joey (her makeup artist familiar to those that watch Zoe’s Bravo show). Also on hand were the stylist's sister and husband who were quietly roaming around the Edwardian Room in The Plaza where the event was held.

Despite the fact that I don’t have any children, one of the first things I asked Zoe was where the stroller was from that she used in her ABC Special that aired this week. Turns out it’s a Missoni-designed Chameleon Bugaboo, which just launched exclusively at Neiman Marcus. Next up, I had to ask the obvious – what lip shade she was wearing. She told me she was wearing one of her favorites, Cranberry, and that since noon she has only had to re-apply it once despite “drinking lots of Pellegrino.” When asked how she felt about layering the crèmes with the glosses, she told me she usually only does that when she’s going to be on-camera or when she’s doing a shoot.

Rachel Zoe for ExudeAmong the things that attracted Zoe to Exude are that “it feels great in your hand and also, I’m a germ freak, so I love the applicator.”  She added, “L.A. has to be one of the driest places on the planet, so it was really important that the lipsticks were moisturizing. The minty taste is also great – even guys can wear it!” She then looked at Joey who nodded in agreement.

I was given a shade to take home and after applying it on myself, I can advise that the best way to apply it, in my opinion, is on the center of your bottom lip first because you’re getting a lot of concentrated color coming out of the applicator so you wouldn’t want to start in the corner. The applicator also has ridges, which allows for a smooth, controlled application that feels good on lips.

The lip crème is available in 9 colors: coral, cranberry, rosy brown, nude, brown, bronze, plum, red, and pink. The lip gloss is available in 5 colors: crimson, brown, clear, dusty pink, and scarlet red. Each one retails for $29 and is only available online.

What's next? Zoe told me they went with "universally flattering shades first," but if these are well-received they plan on expanding with more "adventurous shades."

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