Before Marc, YSL Got Naked To Sell Cologne


Marc Jacobs definitely knows how to ignite conversation. Consider his series of Juergen Teller-lensed semi-nudes — in all of their strategically placed glory. But perhaps even more genius (at least least in our opinion) than his bottle placement is his ability to contextualize his statements — fashion or otherwise — within a larger narrative.

So chalk it up to Marc’s genius timing at work but on the heels of his big Bang ad comes the news that a nude of Yves Saint Laurent will go up for auction in Paris this June. As Vogue has it, the stir creating portrait, is part of a sale of more than 60 photographs taken by Jeanloup Sieff and was used for the 1971 advertising campaign for the first YSL eau de toilette for men, Pour Homme.

Speaking in Dutch magazine in 1997, Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent’s business partner, explained: “It was just provocation on the part of Yves Saint Laurent.” The controversial image was the first time in fashion history that a perfume maker struck a pose for his own advertising campaign and, more importantly, the image became deeply resonant with the gay population. Now, he’s been made all the more relevant by his heir apparent.

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