This story first appeared in the December 3, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Some actresses would balk at appearing worldwide in ads wearing not a speck of makeup with undone hair. Liv Tyler, who is doing just that for Givenchy’s latest fragrance, Very Irrésistible Givenchy L’Intense, relishes the opportunity.
“There’s something quite raw about it,” said Tyler of the ads for the scent, which will hit counters worldwide in March. “I feel unafraid of exposing myself and the woman I am today — complicated and interesting and intense.”
Tyler began appearing in Givenchy fragrance advertising in 2003. While ads of that period played up her youthful energy (one featured the actress jumping on a bed), this campaign is intended to show that the girl has grown into a woman. Shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, two new black-and-white ad images feature Tyler in black rocker-chic attire — including leather pants and studded black bracelets — from the fall 2010 Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci ready-to-wear collection.
“I came in the morning, and I was a little grumpy because I had jet lag and I hadn’t slept so well. My hair was wet and I had no makeup on,” Tyler reminisced. “We put the outfit on to do a fitting, and J.B. asked me to stand in the light and take just one shot so we could see the lighting and the look. That ended up being one of the two images they used for the campaign. We did full hair and makeup, but we kept coming back to that image. It was so powerful.”
“The evolution of the marketing and products follows the evolution of Liv Tyler,” said Thierry Maman, managing director of Givenchy Parfums. “When she was a post-teenager — around ‘Lord of the Rings’ — there was the Very Irrésistible Givenchy eau de toilette, which was fresh, very easy, very cool. Then came the eau de parfum. Now that she is a beautiful woman, her personality has blossomed, and we have L’Intense. It’s the brand responding to the icon, and the icon responding to the brand.” Maman noted that all three juices share the same rose accord, with the differences coming in the percentages of oils and types of additional ingredients used.
Tyler noted that she’s always had a trust level with the house, which has grown in the seven years she’s worked there. Soon after being hired, Tyler became pregnant with her son, Milo, born Dec. 14, 2004. “That must have thrown them a real monkey wrench,” she said with a laugh. “They hired me, the actress ready to promote their fragrance — and then suddenly, ‘Oops! I got myself pregnant.’ I came waddling in.”
Very Irrésistible Givenchy L’Intense, which will be launched globally in March, will be available in the U.S. in 50-ml. and 75-ml. sizes, for $80.50 and $93, respectively. A 30-ml. size will be sold outside of the U.S. The U.S. distribution will include Macy’s, Dillard’s, Sephora and sephora.com.
The musky floral chypre scent, by International Flavors & Fragrances, opens with purple plum, followed by Turkish rose, white musks and patchouli. The bottle, in gradated shades of plum, features a silver abstract rose motif, and the juice itself is tinted pink.
The aim is to establish Very Irrésistible in the top 15, said Maman. “It is the number-one franchise in the Givenchy [fragrance] portfolio.” It currently ranks between 12th and 15th globally, he said, while declining to disclose sales targets. But industry sources estimated that the Very Irrésistible franchise could do between 60 million euros, or $78.3 million, and 80 million euros, or $104.5 million, at wholesale globally in the next year, with L’Intense expected to do about 20 million euros, or $26 million, of that figure.
Tyler credits Tisci for much of the transformation at Givenchy and has been spending time getting to know him. The two spent Halloween together in New York. “I found this cape that Alexander McQueen had given to me that I never wore — it was this incredible black feathered piece,” she recalled. “Riccardo and another friend of ours went dressed as scary clowns, which was really amazing. I was a little jealous that I hadn’t gone earlier and been Riccardo-ized.”
On the acting side of her life, Tyler made a couple of “very small” independent films — “Super” and “The Ledge” — last year and is now rediscovering the joys of hanging out with her son, as well as other diversions. “I’m trying to enjoy my life a little bit more,” she said. “I’ve been working since I was 13, with a full career. It might be the first time in my life when I’m going to say, ‘I’m not going to answer those e-mails now. I’m not even going to read that script. I’m going to go have a beer with a girlfriend or make my son dinner and read him stories and giggle. I’m going to go to Jekyll and Hyde with him because he loves it.’ I’m going to live.”