Cinematic scents

Many famous faces have graced the mini-films of fragrance adverts over the years – for some, their first acting role, for others a moment of evoking the ethos of the house at the very peak of their fame. But did you know several fragrance adverts over the years have also been directed by famous names?

Settle back in your velveteen seats, grab some popcorn and let’s go to the scented cinema…

Sofia Coppola (nominated for Best Director for Lost in Translation in 2003) directed this advert for Miss Dior Cherie, featuring Natalie Portman. Super-stylish, it confirms Coppola’s lifelong appreciation of haute couture, and perhaps evokes her visually stunning film Marie Antoinette in its old-world baroque splendour.

Wes Anderson and son of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola, had previously worked together on films like The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. Here, they made three short adverts (comprising one longer film) for Prada Candy L’Eau fragrance. An homage to the French New Wave, the visual aesthetic is pure Wes Anderson, and were fully gripped by the classic ‘two men in love with one woman’ storyline
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This Chanel short film for Coco Mademoiselle saw Keira Knightly and director Joe Wright teaming up for the fourth time – they’ve also worked together in Atonement, (for which, Wright was nominated in 2008 for Best Director), Pride & Prejudice, and Anna Karenina. Just so beautifully lit, the colours and cleverly composed shots look like poetry on the screen.

Renowned surrealist director David Lynch surprised the fragrance and film worlds alike by directing this advert for Yves Saint Laurent Opium in the early 90s. Spanish model Nastassia Urbano stars, with a striking resemblance to Ingrid Bergman (and her daughter, Isabella Rossellini, who was to star in his 1986 hot movie, Blue Velvet). All the hallmarks of sensuality are there, along with a visual deconstruction/seduction of a body on film.

Comic book writer turned film maker, Frank Miller, uses his iconic deliberately over-stylised look (very reminiscent of Sin City) to great effect in his advert for Gucci Guilty. Starring Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans, inky blackness and searing white light are juxtaposed to create a highly sophisticated homage to film noir.

Fragrance and film feature strongly in The Scented Letter‘s recent Perfume & Culture edition, too, in Lights, Camera, Aldehydes!, award-winning blogger and author Persolaise was inspired by his twin passions for film and fragrance – matching some of his favourite fragrances to the films he chose to watch. And in Perfuming a Part, I lift the velvet curtain on the actors and film directors who use fragrance as a tool to create a mood or get into a role…

The Scented Letter Perfume & Culture edition £15 / £12.50 for VIP Club members.

By Suzy Nightingale

Stave off the January blues with top bloggers tips on the best fragrances for UNDER £30!

Cold, dreary days, a waistline that’s more than likely expanded and a bank balance that’s positively sylphlike in contrast are bound to set in motion the dreaded ‘January blues’. As you trudge back to work, wearily lamenting the wish-list of scents that Santa somehow forgot and yearning for something new to pep up your spirits – fear not, we have the answer. Well, several, in fact!
Apart from our glorious SALEthree for the price of two on all our own Perfume Society Discovery Boxes! – let’s look back to the times we asked top fragrance bloggers Persolaise and Get Lippie, along with our own Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale, to compile a list of their five favourite fragrances for under £30.
Click on their names, above, to be whisked to the bargain fragrant suggestions…
We’re not going to pretend that some of our all-time faves aren’t quite a bit more expensive than the budget we set for these scents, but it’s also important to remember that some truly great fragrances happen to be far more pocket-friendly, too.
We wonder if you can guess what they chose, if any of your favourites are included – or perhaps you have some fragrant bargains of your own to share?
Tell us your favourite guilt-free splurges on scent by Tweeting us, posting a picture and tagging us on Instagram or by emailing us at the office. We’re anxious to know!

There are roses, roses everywhere in our second issue of The Scented Letter, for subscribers

It’s out! And to quote perfume blogger and expert Nick Glbert, it’s ‘fabulous’… As Nick says, ‘The Scented Letter features every important new launch, as well as some wonderful pieces from bloggers, journalists and people involved in perfumery or scent. In the second issue, you can…

All our VIP Subscribers should have received a link to download their second issue of The Scented Letter. (And new subscribers are sent the link to download the e-zine, on signing up – click here to do that.)


In your second edition, subscribers can look forward to the following…

Follow the story of one of perfume’s most precious ingredients, the rose, from field to flacon

  • Discover award-winning blogger and author Persolaise‘s top rose perfume picks
  • Read the fascinating story of how Sabine de Tscharner grew up not being able to smell – and went on to become a perfumer
  • Find ways to scent a wedding – and discover your perfect wedding scent
  • Discover all the season’s latest launches, at-a-glance
  • Enjoy Richard E. Grant‘s scent memories, dreams and reflections: the scents that have meant most to him, in a lifetime…

PS  International visitors to the site can subscribe to The Scented Letter for £15 p.a., using the contact form below – and we’ll then send you a Paypal invoice. (And yes, we’re working on finding a more sophisticated way to do this!)