Yves St. Laurent

Eddie Pensier writes:

The fashion and fragrance house of YSL has produced some memorable and controversial advertisements. Here are a few of the best for your ogling pleasure.

The gorgeous nude Sophie Dahl, for Opium:

opiumsophieThe equally gorgeous, nude Samuel de Cubber, for M7:

m7nudeadAnd one of each, clothed but bawdy, for the S/S ’03 Rive Gauche collection:

ysladThe ageless Christy Turlington in leather and stiletto boots for F/W ’09, because, well, Christy Turlington in leather and stiletto boots.


The saturnine Vincent Cassel surrounded by babes for Le Nuit de L’Homme, photographed by Darren Aronofsky:

vincent cassel yslAnd finally Opium again, with Emily Blunt keeping the bottle in a safe and warm place.


About Eddie Pensier

Television junkie, opera buff, connoisseur of unhealthy foods, fashion watcher, art lover and admirer of beautiful people of all sexes.
This entry was posted in Commercial art, Photography, Sex, Women men and fashion. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Yves St. Laurent

  1. Congrats! I think that’s the first cock on this site.


  2. I remember (and very fondly) the first two of these ads. They really made an impact. Is it just me, or was that quite an era for eroticism in advertising?


  3. Callowman says:

    The only fashion ad I really remember is that TV spot with an airplane’s shadow passing over a girl by a pool. No idea what it was for. Oh, and those pretty multiracial Stepford children modeling Benetton sweaters in the 80s. I had a dream once where I was a bum and they were snubbing me hard.

    Now, I only mention this in the second paragraph, where most people won’t notice, but guys: I don’t know if you caught this, but you can see the equally gorgeous, nude M. de Cubber’s thing!


  4. agnostic says:

    While reading Models Close-Up by the photographer David Bailey, I remember being struck by how heterosexual the fashion world used to be in the ’70s and ’80s, and how already by the late ’90s it was turning toward the homosexual, the fetishistic, and the voyeuristic. Photographers, model agents… not sure about the designers themselves, but the team who was responsible for the public image. They made it look sexy and glamorous, not lurid and perverted.

    Like that Sophie Dahl ad. The pose is so caricatured, the lighting so harsh, the setting so devoid of context, and the attitude so exhibitionistic, that it gives off creepy-needy queer vibes. Sophie Dahl is merely pasted in as a body double for a fierce trans-sexual. (No surprise that the art director and photographer are both openly gay.)

    Ditto the photo of Christy Turlington as a stand-in for the photog’s leatherman ideal. She looks way sexier, and shows more individuality, when shot by (straight) Patrick Demarchelier in the ’80s or early ’90s. Everyone who’s worked with him praises him for his empathy and drawing out who the subject naturally is, as opposed to the homosexual tendency toward autistically cutting-and-pasting the women into a flamingly fierce fantasy.


  5. agnostic says:

    Visual evidence.

    Sticking with Yves Saint Laurent perfume ads, here’s one for Paris in 1986:

    An assertive dude, a surrendering babe, dramatic chiaroscuro lighting with the perfume bottle glowing amber in the dark. Much more erotically charged than “ZOMG, NAKED CHICK!”

    An ad for their cologne Kouros in 1981:

    No queer / voyeur / body dysmorphia vibes there. Not a mind-blowing ad, but not attention-whoring either.

    Those came from a timeline gallery of the company’s ad campaigns. It’s disorienting to see how tasteful and heterosexual they used to look:



    • I think you’ve probably got a good point about gayness and straightness, but for me I’m just grateful for “sizzling.” You really don’t find the ads in the posting pretty darned hot? It’s an interesting general question: when have fashion ads for women been designed with hetero men in mind? Have there been periods when that was more and when that was less true? I tend to think that fashion generally leaves straight guys out of the equation almost entirely (except in the general Darwinian sense), and that that’s part of the thrill for the straight guy who does pay a little attention to women’s fashion: he gets to spy on the room where the brilliant gays and crazy-gorgeous women are having fun making women look outrageously glamorous. Suits me fine. If I want erotica that caters more directly to my own clodhoppingly-straight tastes, there’s plenty of that around too.


      • It’s an interesting general question: when have fashion ads for women been designed with hetero men in mind?

        Point: Men do a substantial part of the actual purchasing of women’s clothing, accessories and fragrance. So sexy adverts aimed at hetero males would not, in fact, be a bad idea.


      • agnostic says:

        Not hot but weird. (The last one looks normal, though not very sexy.) Everything is so over-the-top and on-the-nose that it prevents my mind from getting into it. The ultra-extreme vibe then creates a second source of not being able to just get into it — self-commentary or self-reference, like “Isn’t it mind-blowing how extreme we’re making this picture?!”

        It’s too effortful, deliberate, self-aware, and manipulative — qualities that make a woman repugnant, not alluring.

        If the point is to open up an unusual view on sex, or evoke a dreamy atmosphere, there has to be some kind of bridge to reality. Otherwise it’s cut off and floating around in some decadent airy-fairy realm of make-believe. Like what a child would imagine, if they were perverted.

        Take the scene from Blue Velvet where Jeffrey gets rough with Dorothy in bed. It’s more surreal than fantastical / decadent because 95% of everything we’ve seen so far has such verisimilitude, we’re left wondering how real this 5% is. It’s dizzying and heady.

        In those pictures (minus the last), there’s no bridge to reality. It’s so obviously made up by a gay fetishist.


  6. agnostic says:

    Here’s a more relevant example of what I mean about 95% grounding in realism, and just 5% exploring bizarre themes, leaving a heady impression on the viewer. The Helmut Newton-inspired music video for “The Chauffeur” by Duran Duran. When they don’t constantly shine a spotlight in your face, you can actually get into the mood.


  7. Pingback: Sexy Ad Campaign Du Jour | Uncouth Reflections

  8. Pingback: Dior fashion and beauty ads | Uncouth Reflections

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