Paolo Roversi & Natalia Vodianova Bring Shalimar Back

Julia Frakes

While in Paris for Fashion Week I fell completely head over heels for the ubiquitous Guerlain Shalimar fragrance campaign seemingly splashed across every phone booth, bus, and JCDecaux rotating advertising system throughout the city. Guerlain tapped legendary lensman Paolo Roversi to shoot perhaps his most iconic subject of his career (save for Guinevere van Seenus) Natalia Vodianova –- mother of three, founder of the Naked Heart Foundation, Grace Coddington's favorite mannequin and current F/W 2008-2009 face of David Yurman, Diane von Furstenberg, Versace, and Chanel makeup. Nonetheless it was not until I landed stateside that I beheld what the French have been besotted with since mid-September: the breathtaking Roversi-produced television spot featuring Natalia merely clad in crisp white sheets and a few drops of the precious rose, iris and jasmine elixer. With Serge Gainsbourg's "Initials BB" and the words "...quelques gouttes de Shalimar... sur ma peu..." echoing above the refined-cum-sultry black-and-white imagery, the 45-second ad exemplifies pure beauty and successfully boosts Shalimar (an admittedly Grandmotherly bouquet) back into relevance. In 1925 Guerlain introduced Shalimar -– the first oriental fragrance of modern perfumery –- which has found its niche amongst the fourth generation of nostalgic consumers.


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