Evolving and enduring, A-list faces of beauty continue to appeal to all. Here, BAZAAR explores their captivating power. By Aisha Hassan.
In 1952, Marilyn Monroe salaciously revealed that all she wore to bed was, “Chanel No. 5, of course.” That statement and its implications embodied cultural resonance, and set the tone for the way women wore fragrance—more than an accessory, more like an extension of their allure. Three decades later in the 1980s, Inès de La Fressange became the first model to sign an exclusive contract with Chanel, and became Karl Lagerfeld’s muse. A model, aristocrat, designer, and writer, she was, and continues to be, the quintessence of Parisian chic. In the same way No. 5 became associated with glamour and sensuality, Chanel became linked to de La Fressange’s charm. In Lagerfeld’s own words, “She is something the whole world can identify with, international with a French touch.” Her effortless je ne sais quoi still resonated at age 54 when she walked for Chanel’s Spring/Summer ’11 show. Even editor-at-large of The Business of Fashion Tim Blanks once remarked that “she was Paris on the catwalk.”
There are some faces you don’t forget, and whose staying power and allure to which we all aspire. Throughout their histories, brands have chosen to align themselves with faces—from de la Fressange for Chanel in the ’80s to Charlize Theron for Dior in 2004—that have acted as an impetus, or a goal, for the discerning masses. With million-dollar contracts (Daria Werbowy’s with Lancôme was estimated to be USD1 million a year) and the best photographers money and prestige can buy (Patrick Demarchelier photographed Gisele Bündchen for Chanel No. 5), these coveted A-listers become huge investments. After all, campaigns thread a link between a brand’s identity, our lifestyle ambitions, and the agency we have to achieve them.
The rise of beauty campaigns soon became meteoric, and there are few that are as epochal as Theron for Dior J’adore. The vision of the South African actress, replete in gold and walking towards you as the very manifestation of the fragrance she’s championing, is paradigmatic. Theron is the J’adore bottle itself; her ultra-feminine figure mirrors the amphora-shaped flacon, designed by Hervé Van der Straeten. In
Inès de La Fressange in a turban by Chanel, photographed by Michel Arnaud