The Many Highs Of Opium… (Perfume, That Is)

Born in a decade of revolution and boundary-pushing (and disco!), YSL's Opium, the seventies' most controversial fragrance, is set to strike again.

Having caused its fair share of controversy over the years (THAT Sophie Dahl picture, anyone?), perfume’s bad girl, Opium, is back with the British Fashion Awards’ Model Of The Year 2013, Edie Campbell, as the front woman. Looking back at some of the most shocking campaigns of the past, we can’t help but wonder what YSL has in store for Edie…

Here are 6 of the best (read: most controversial) Opium campaigns from days gone by:

1. Who better to launch the provocative fragrance than then ‘It’ model Jerry Hall? Gripping onto the chair with one arm, and her hair with the other, Jerry looks like she’s very much enjoying the sensual fragrance while, erm, ‘resting’ in full seventies luxe. And, just look at that ring bling!

2. Brunette locks and a brown lip all on a canvas of shimmering bronze; it doesn’t get more late eighties than this, right? As beautiful as Nastasia Urbano looks in her Opium-induced daze, we do not recommend falling asleep with that much make up on… cleanse ladies!

3. Forget about Rihanna’s ‘risque’ perfume ad, this is one of the most complained-about ads in the last 50 years. Sophie Dahl strips Opium of its glitter-filled glamour (quite literally) and gets straight to the point with the iconic fragrance’s notorious sex appeal. Raunchy!

4. Much like Opium, Kate Moss is a controversial character by nature and one of the most iconic models in history, making this is the perfect partnership. If we spritz Opium, we’ll look like this in our fave black undies, right? Right?

5. Like everything in the 21st Century (except our bank balances), Opium has gone supersize, and here it looks like model Karen Elson has mistaken a bottle of Opium for whiskey (easily done really). It’s very reminiscent of Jerry’s jewellery-induced glam of the seventies, don’t you think?

6. A much more demure approach than the pictures of perfumes past, Emily Blunt looks stunning as ever in this 2011 campaign. Holding the new-look bottle close to her chest (we keep ours on the dressing table, personally) while surrounded with oriental-inspired cushions, she doesn’t let us forget that this fragrance is red hot.

Which only begs the question, what on earth will raven haired rocker Edie do to shock us? She’ll be seen this summer in the Black Opium ad campaign directed by Daniel Wolfe, so watch this space.

Reading now

Popular beauty stories