Monday, September 8, 2008

The new Shalimar by Guerlain commercial with Natalia Vodianova

A few days ago we introduced the new face of Shalimar by parfums Guerlain, Natalia Vodianova, shot by Italian photographer Paolo Roversi. The ad prints that will appear in major fashion and beauty magazines only give a hint of the upcoming advertising campaign, apparently.
Perfume Shrine is proud to be the first to feature the newest commercial of Shalimar, with Natalia Vodianova, today, kindly supplied by one of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous.
Our newest info suggests that Natalia Vodianova will also be fronting Guerlain's makeup and skincare starting January 2009.
The TV and cinema commercial of Shalimar is full of sensual images of a naked Vodianova, wriggling on an unmade bed, the voiceover recalling the famous Marilyn quip about wearing a few drops of Chanel No.5 in bed, but also visually echoing the controversial campaign of Calvin Klein's newest feminine scent Secret Obsession in which an object(the fragrance) becomes a psychological relation to emotional response. It is almost as if the emotion is transfered onto the object befitting Freudian analysis.

The concept seems to be focused on a conversion between lovers following a passionate tryst, with the man asking the mystery ingredient that accounts for what sounds like an unforgetable memory.
"Qu'est-ce que tu portais sur ta peau?" (what were you wearing on your skin?)
"Quelques gouttes de Shalimar!" (A few drops of Shalimar)

Then again, the immortal dialogue* from Godart's Le Mépris with Brigitte Bardot, reprised in Chanel's latest lipstick commercial* for Rouge Allure, is rather unsurpasable...

*{Click the links to watch!}

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews and little known info on Shalimar as well as its flankers, Shalimar Light (Eau Légère) and Eau de Shalimar.

Ad print courtesy of French Madame Figaro 30th August 08.


  1. Anonymous00:15

    I'm sorry, but NO ONE her age would wear this scent. Much too mature. Ridiculous.

    1. Anonymous01:44

      Well that's funny, I'm a year younger than the model and I've been wearing it for 10 years. I must not really exist.

  2. Anonymous00:15

    I'm sorry, but NO ONE her age would wear this scent. Much too mature. Ridiculous.

  3. Anonymous03:39

    Dear Helg,

    Congrats on the scoop: informative as usual.

    My mind tends to shut down when looking at images that are overtly sensual (sorry, too much sex doesn't sell for me) but Supernova looks lovely as usual.

    As you've pointed out the ideas aren't very original: maybe that's the point? (Maybe there will be an English version available.)

    Hug :-) A

  4. Anon,

    you do have a point: certainly the buying audience is not young!

    I know that some young girls (pauvre moi included) sometimes like to appear more sophisticated and mature in their teens going for the heavy-guns, but that was largely a phenomenon of a few years ago. The more times progress, the more the cult of youth is fiercer and people want to appear younger and younger: I've heard girls as young as 14 being scared of getting wrinkles! :O

    Perhaps it's all part of "modernising" the house by emplying someone who is certainly very much au courant.

  5. Dear A,

    thank you for your kind words (and your mail which I will reply to shortly!) :-)

    A reader, Cynthia, put it well in my previous article on Vodianova as the new face: "Shalimar is all about layers and mystery". Therefore nudity somehow deducts from them, loses the intrigue.

    Your point that the "influence" by other similar concepts might be intentional (so as to strike a familiar chord, presumambly) might be very valid!

  6. Oh, she's gorgeous, but I agree it's a very trite way to handle the material. But I don't find there's any specific demographic that should or shouldn't wear this perfume; the person in my life who wears Shalimar best is, believe it or not, my 17-year old brother!

  7. D,

    yeah...rather predictable.
    I think(?) Anon above wasn't implying that a specific demographic shouldn't wear this, but that they wouldn't wear this: they'd probably turn up their noses and proclaim "old lady".
    We perfumphiles are a different breed though.

    As to your brother, boys are different (and wow, what a delight for you)! It would be utterly cool for a young man to wear this, I think. ;-)
    (ie.what's cliche on a woman would be great for a guy and vice versa)

  8. pavlova14:40

    Love your new look!! Very interesting treatment of the fonts.
    And of course, as always, your writing is superb!

  9. No offense intended, anon. Only that surprise is a greater part of mystery and intrigue, and for something like Shalimar, it would have been nice to have seen Guerlain try something more inventive than pretty-naked-thing or sultry-glamorous-thing, either way.

    They need really someone overlooking the creative direction of the brand, I think, someone with real taste who can lend coherence, depth, and that element of surprise that I expect from Guerlain.

    Sigh. At least Chanel still tries hard.

  10. Hmm, somehow I like this better than the paper campaign, but I still find it highly out of place with the fragrance. And Natalia overall still looks very much like little girl to me. But with the recent ad-copies for Elixir Carnels, what else do we expect?

  11. Pavlova,

    how nice of you to say so! You made my day, thank you so much :-)
    (I am sure Kristy the designer is smiling also!)

  12. Dain,

    indeed some coherence should be present, how true: you can't have soft-core ad copy on the one hand and Napoleonic bees with crests on the other, it's just not matching, you know?

    The Chanel commercials are works of art! (from JP Goude to Luc Besson to Ridley Scott). I have dedicated a serious part of Perfume Shrine to advertising and to Chanel advertising specifically (search tag "advertising" or "commercial")

  13. Jen,

    the commercial is more playful, more "in motion" than the print ad, but I have to agree that Natalia is very Lolitesque to really embody something as calculating seductive or as romantically sensual as Shalimar. Perhaps with a different concept it might have been more imaginative. And yes, that Elixirs Charnels ad copy...phew, let's hope they don't start advertising everything in that manner!

  14. With all due respect perfumeshrine, anon 's comment is ridiculous and immature! I was a teen in the '80s and in Paris half of the girls in High School were wearing Shalimar. This was not 200 years ago OK! Why would something extremely common twenty years ago be "ridiculous" today? Give me a break, this is 2008 not 3500! We still have AIDS and we 're still unable to establish a quantum theory of gravity!

  15. Emmanuella,

    relax: I wasn't agreeing with the morality of the Anon comment, but with the reality of it: young women right NOW are not very likely to pick Shalimar as their scent of choice;it's so different from everything their peers wear...
    Then again maybe the word "ridiculous" is rather loaded, true!Maybe the Anon reader meant it in relation to the concept of the commercial being directed at the very young women who are identifying with Vodianova? Don't know, only Anon knows what he/she just thinking out loud.

    As a teen I also wore mega-busters (Opium for instance and stealing drops of Mitsouko and Poisonfrom mum). But then, everyone wore loud and mature fragrances, no matter their age: it was le dernier cri if you know what I mean ;-)

  16. Adding into the age discussion, I'm 25, Natalia happens to be born the same year I was. I happen to wear some very womanly scents because I am a woman (Must de Cartier, Madame X, etc). I also knew a young woman who was in high school two years ago who wore Shalimar. While I know I am the exception in most cases with the fragrances I wear and the young woman was also, the fact is Shalimar can still be appreciated by the young. I still hold by Natalia looking way too young to me but then again she looks like she is 12 to me, where as Shalimar has an older more exotic sensuality to me. The advertising is supposed to in my opinion evoke the quality of the fragrance, Natalia does not. But if I smelled the fragrance on Natalia in real life because it was her fragrance of choice, I wouldn't think "that doesn't fit her." I would imagine my reaction would be "Good for her." The beauty of fragrance is it allows us to show our many sides that otherwise might not be seen just based on our appearance, rather it evokes our psyche's personality.

  17. perfumeshrine, this was directed to anon 's comment and his/her rather conformist mentality of the trend sucking idiots. I doubt anon was making a feminist statement on young models in the media (we all know how poorly progressive and rebellious people from the perfume community are). The impact of age discrimination on older women is alreadly so unbearable but obviously young women experience age discrimination too. Why would Shalimar be too mature for an expecting 17 yr old? And why is it one of the 10 best perfumes in the world? Thanks goodness Luca Turin is a biophysicist and not some sexist trendsetter who discriminates on age grounds!

  18. Thank you, Helg, I will now scrap around your site, marveling as usual, at your encyclopaedic knowledge of all things perfume. Advertising is so important when it comes to perfume, as so much of our reaction is based on the image it projects, sometimes I think moreso than the actual smell. Fortunately, you've collected quite a range of diverse advertisements for us lesser lights to educate ourselves. ; )

    I thought I should let you know, the video is no longer working.

  19. Hi, I didn't get a chance to see the film advert but I think the print one looks like progress!

    Anyway I just wanted to say I love the new look of the blog!

  20. Emanuella,

    let's just hope he/she is reading this whoever it is. :-)
    There is a discrimination against the young as well, which never gets addressed, which I find interesting! I gather they're rather invinsible due to their youth and don't pay too much attention. But valid point.

  21. Oh, Dain, please, you make sound like some know-it-all , LOL. I just search aroun and think a bit.

    Yes, I know, the person who uploaded it on Youtube must have deleted it. Pity, but I guess you managed to get a taste for it (those of you who caught it in time!)

  22. Rose,

    thank you, I like the look too!

    Yes, the ad is better than expected but not groundbreaking by any means.

  23. perfumeshrine, the alienation of the age appropriate mentality when it comes to women is unacceptable and sexist. Shalimar is one of the greatest perfumes in the world (although I 'm a Mitsouko girl and not Shalimar), so who cares if you 're 18 or 75? I regret Guerlain under the giant corporation LVMH chose a young model who looks like a 16 yr old and not a woman. I 'm also concerned about their latest Shalimar reformulation, a friend of mine from France who 's been wearing the parfum for many years (first wore it as a teen-ager by the way) has been very disappointed with the new extrait.

  24. I just bought the new Shalimar. I'm a man (grey in my beard and all that), but love the scent. Works well on my skin. The last Shalimar was a bit more girly, but this one is just mysterious and luxurious.

  25. Anonymous09:55

    why such an old and classic perfume company woulnd't try to give a younger image of shalimar ? Why Guerlain wouldn't try to sell to 25 years old women ? Why would they only sell Shalimar to grandmothers ???!
    I think natalia is a very good try for Shalimar. They will check the sales after the first wave of advertising and see if they were right…

  26. She is so cute :)))

  27. DK,

    late to your comment, but if it suits you, well, enjoy! Sadly I can't enjoy the latest Shalimar versions as much as I did the old. Maybe has to do with it appearing more masculine, less oooomph to my nose.

  28. Anon,

    I think most people are stating the incongruence of the smell and the look. The smell is mature (although I agree this is a cultural perception, perhaps in older cultures things weren't considered thus), the look too young (how old is Vodianova exactly?).
    But yes, it's a great move on their part, definitely. I think it would rekindle the interest in Shalimar for a whole new generation. (If only the scent had survived as unscathed as the mythos.)

  29. Juja,

    she certainly is. That's her appeal!
    (and a nails design website too, you have there!)

  30. i am very late to the party- but may i say, unfortunately perfume is often marketed according to age. i dont personally agree w that- like you,i wore the "older" (or shall i say strong/older) scents - Opium, First and Diva- which my mum wore. however, perfumes are marketed as such- the same way that perfumes are marketed as feminine and masculine which according to my friend Chandler Burr (perfume critic)- is a fallacy- there is no such thing as a masculine or feminine scent. i absolutely adore Shalimar- my mum wore it all the time when i was a young girl, and it reminds me of my childhood. x shayma

  31. Shayma,

    very late is perfectly fine with us! Thanks for joining the discussion!

    Indeed, the fem/masc divide has been commercially implemented in an effort to augment sales, in antiquity and middle-ages people used more or less the same aromatics according to need/type/occasion, rather than their sex. But also "unisex" commercial frags is nothing new: Patou introduced the concept of a shared fragrance with Le Sien; the perfume rather became a bond for lovers than a divide.

    Shalimar is such a timeless classic. It's great that you associate it with your mum, so touching! It makes me sad that recent perfumery regulations have divested it of a certain depth and mellow bronziness it had back then, it somehow ruins the instant "memory click" one would get just smelling the most recent versions.

  32. all we are waiting for now is a book from you. from a fan of your writing/blog, x shayma

  33. Thank you Shayma!
    We're working on it ;-)


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