The prolific and celebrated actress Jessica Chastain first wore YSL’s spicy Opium perfume at age 12 when an admired aunt gave her a half-used bottle of the heady seductive scent.
"It made me feel glamorous; it made me feel grown-up," she recalls in an interview with Women's Wear Daily.
So it’s fitting that she’s become the face of Yves Saint Laurent’s new women’s fragrance, Manifesto – another heady floriental scent like Opium, for which she appears in an ad shot by Nicolas Winding Refn.
In the Refn-directed commercial, she plays an artist. And in the print ad, her hands are dripping with bold purple paint, as if she's wearing a pair of elegant gloves.
"Every person looks at a painting and has their own emotional reaction to it, their own interpretation," said Chastain. “It’s the same with perfume. You smell something, you have your own emotional reaction. There are many layers to a painting, many ideas — and the same with a perfume."
Manifesto’s layers are that of a woody floriental, with notes of jasmine, white corollas, lily of the valley, blackcurrant, vanilla, tonka bean, cedar and sandalwood.
Of the choice of Chastain, Stephan Bezy, international general manager of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté at L’Oréal, tells WWD: ”She has the luminosity, charm, grace and power, the audacity as well, (to) embody the fragrance. She’s really an Yves Saint Laurent woman.”
The actress -- who graces the subscriber cover of Vanity Fair's September Style Issue -- has become a major red carpet fashion icon in just two years. She collaborates with THR Power Stylist Elizabeth Stewart, who is known for dressing classy A-listers such as Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Freida Pinto, Julia Roberts Viola Davis and Amanda Seyfried.
("I like working with Elizabeth because she sees everyone as individuals and doesn’t try to force me into something I’m not,” Chastain said of Stewart.)
Chastain is already a big fan of YSL fashion and looks forward to wearing more of the house's designs by their new designer Hedi Slimane now that she's a brand ambassador for their scent. One of her favorite dresses was a vintage YSL dress she wore to the Toronto Film Festival.
"It’s one of my favorites because it was so chic, she told WWD. Now I have an in at YSL to wear the clothes."