Lancôme has a new leading light.
The L’Oréal-owned beauty brand has inked an agreement with Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann — the 23-year-old daughter of Lancôme’s longtime face, actress and model Isabella Rossellini — to be the spokeswoman for its fragrance, skin care and cosmetics products, WWD has learned.
Rossellini Wiedemann will appear in advertising for numerous Lancôme products, the first of which will be skin care at the end of this year in Asia. More ads featuring Rossellini Wiedemann are set to start breaking worldwide in January.
Other terms of her deal with Lancôme were not disclosed.
Rossellini Wiedemann joins a parade of beauties in her new position. Former Lancôme faces besides Rossellini (who held the title longest) include Uma Thurman, Juliette Binoche, Marie Gillain, Cristiana Reali and Ines Sastre.
Isabella Rossellini first signed a modeling contract with Lancôme in 1982 and was the brand’s face for 14 years. She is the daughter of film industry icons Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman.
With such lineage, Rossellini Wiedemann is neither a stranger to the camera nor to Lancôme.
Her own modeling career was kicked off three years ago. She has been in fashion shows for brands such as Alberta Ferretti, Bill Blass and Diane von Furstenberg and in magazines such as Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and German Vogue. Rossellini Wiedemann has been shot by Bruce Weber, among other top photographers, and been in advertising campaigns, for names like Salvatore Ferragamo and Catherine Malandrino.
Concerning what Lancôme means to her, Rossellini Wiedemann said in an exclusive WWD interview, “It is different things as you grow older. The luxury of having five minutes to myself is rare. Lancôme is there for that, either at the beginning or the end of the day.
“It’s all about perspective,” she continued. “I remember being very young, sitting on the floor during photo shoots for Lancôme while my mother was getting her makeup done, or sitting on the bathroom sink when we were at home and she was applying different creams at night. In a way, Lancôme has been present throughout my life. When I smell the products and use them, it brings back so many personal memories. Also, Lancôme represents a variety of things, including quality, glamour, sophistication.
“I’ve always loved taking care of my skin,” said Rossellini Wiedemann. “It is an integral part of my job.”
Asked how it feels to basically step into her mother’s shoes as the face of Lancôme, Rossellini Wiedemann replied, “at first I was both tremendously excited and very nervous. The fact that my mother had such a long relationship with the brand made me feel like I really had to step up to the plate and not only make my family proud, but also everyone at Lancôme. After I met the amazing team there and did the first shoot, though, I felt much more confident and relaxed. Now I’m just excited.”
She added that her mother’s way of looking at the brand has had little impact on her vision. “I remember my mother using and talking about the products, but a lot has changed at Lancôme since she worked for them more than 10 years ago. I’m working with a completely new team of people and representing a new set of products.”
And although Rossellini ended her unusually long run at Lancôme amid a whiff of controversy stoked by charges that she was the victim of ageism, she seemed cheered by her daughter’s news. “Excited doesn’t cover it,” Rossellini Wiedemann said. “When I told her the news, she said, ‘I couldn’t be more happy if you had told me you were getting married or having a child.’ Spoken like the true businesswoman she is!”
Rossellini Wiedemann, whose bloodline includes German ancestry on her father’s side and Italian and Scandinavian on her mother’s, is a New Yorker studying politics, history and economics at the New School University. This summer, as part of her interest in environmentalism, she is working in Africa at a center for elephant preservation.
“Due to her cosmopolitan background, Elettra is a young woman of her time…and always remains in touch with the world around her,” said Odile Roujol, general manager of Lancôme International, in a statement.