In Search of the Perfect Red – Alizarin

In Search of the Perfect Red – Alizarin

Go red or go home is the siren call to all who strive for glamour like Diana Vreeland – the Empress of Fashion – feel under-dressed without a slash of red to add that essential flash of boldness to our visage.

Alizarine times in Mayfair


The quest for the Holy Grail of the perfect red is ancient…

And The Ancients were no less relentless in their quest for the perfect red which they considered the open sesame to a world of opulence in textiles. They discovered the holy grail in a plant called Alizarin – the very word itself full of exotic promise.

Daniel Lismore and Tyne O'Connell at the Opera

Daniel Lismore and Tyne O’Connell at the ENO for the opening night of The Winter’s Tale Opera

I often find myself madly murmuring Alizarine in my sleep or hobbling about Mayfair and St James’s.

The plant was used by the ancients over 6000 years ago as a dye to demonstrate their wealth and power but Alizarine was also used for makeup and perfume as well as a dye for carpets textiles and fashion.

Tyne Alizarin Mayfair

Bountiful Stocks of alizarin were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and Alizarine was the bread and butter of the East India Company who struggled to meet the endless demand of Mayfair Eccentrics and their legions of followers.

Tyne O'Connell and Pandemonium

Tyne O’Connell and Pandemonium

Alizarine & its unique link to The Perfect Red for textiles furnishings fashion lipstick rouge and even perfume made it the trademark of the grand and the glamorous Penhaligon’s feature Alizarine in their trade routes a range which conjures the exotic magic of the 17th & 18th Centuries. It is the colour and scent of salons and eccentrics. Don’t leave home without it!

Alizarin – Formula: C14H8O4  – Alizarin is the main ingredient for the manufacture of the madder lake pigments known to painters as Rose madder and Alizarin crimson. Throughout history alizarin – derived from plants of the madder genus – it has been used as a fabric dye.