Byline: Jennifer Weil

PARIS — YSL Beaute is on image-building overdrive these days.
Over the past few weeks, the Gucci-owned beauty division has announced advertising revamps for a number of its key scents, including Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, Oscar de la Renta’s signature scent for women, and most recently, Van Cleef & Arpels’s First.
“It is the onset of a new era for Van Cleef — both the jewelry and fragrance houses,” said James Ragesdale, director of fragrances for the company.
In speaking of a new era, Ragesdale was referring in part to recent ownership changes at the house. Van Cleef was among the beauty licenses snapped up by Gucci when it acquired the former Sanofi Beaute brands earlier this year.
Ragesdale explained that the jewelry house had just redone the image of its ads, so “we decided to benefit from that change and inject some freshness and youth [into the look],” he said.
Paris-based Agence Alice created the color ad, which shows a First fragrance bottle dangling from the stalk of a lily and the name of the company.
“Lily is not in the olfactive makeup of First,” Ragesdale explained, saying that the flower was chosen instead for what it represents — “elegance and strength. Clearly there is also a reference to the whole idea of a pendant.”
He added that the image is expected to lure a younger audience than the previous black-and-white one, which came out in 1997 and features 10 women.
The single-page ad will break in November in French monthlies, including Vogue, Madame Figaro, Elle and Gala. The one for the jewelry will also be in these titles, but rarely at the same time. The scent visual will hit the U.K. at yearend.