Evolv­ing and en­dur­ing, A-list faces of beauty con­tinue to ap­peal to all. Here, BAZAAR ex­plores their cap­ti­vat­ing power. By Aisha Has­san.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Iconic Beauty -

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

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