Caution: These Ads Have Been Known to Cause Severe Day Dreaming.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a huge perfume enthusiast, a scent-o-phile if you will. I’m as intrigued by the creation and history of fragrance as I am by the end result. Maybe it was the element of fantasy around perfume that initially lured me in. Or maybe it was that perfume making kit I was given when I was 7? Now that’s a brave parent, Thanks Dad! Or maybe it was this ad with Jerry Hall? Who knows.
Fragrance advertising is some of the most evocative in the world and some of my favorite ads of all time have to be for Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic spice bomb Opium.
When Opium first came out in 1977 it caused a major stir. It may have been that it took its name from a powerful narcotic. The bottle itself was modeled after the ancient snuff bottles once carried by Japanese Samurai. Controversial enough for ya?
And the smell? Talk about sensory overload! Well, let’s just say this perfume is no wallflower. If it were a color it would be vermillion. An exotic concoction of heady florals, rich spices and woods meant to evoke the mystery of the Orient. Yves himself recommended it be worn as an “evening perfume” furthering it’s reputation as a powerful agent of seduction, meant to have men everywhere chasing the dragon if you will.
Yves himself found endless inspiration in the far east and spent most of the ’70s on a quest for exotic pleasures and his fragrance Opium had women flocking to stores in hopes of capturing the allure of the forbidden, if even for just one night. Voila! A classic was born.
Opium—in my opinion—is a fragrance masterpiece, a polarizing scent not meant for the faint of heart, but who said everything had to be for everyone? It makes me happy to no end to see that the keepers of Opium flame, continue to invite us to board the Orient Express, to dream of far off lands where mysterious passions are indulged and all inhibitions fade.