Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Serge Lutens for Christian Dior - 1973

Between the comments here and on Facebook, we had guesses from every decade between the 1920s and 2010 except the 1940s. And Benjamin made an interesting point about the ban on tobacco advertising in 1971 in the US, but this image was published in a French magazine! The decade that got the most guesses was the correct one. This image is from 1973.

In 1973, Serge Lutens designed this look for a series of French advertisements for Christian Dior cosmetics. The ads were entitled, "Les Aventureux de Dior", which translates to "The Adventurous (or Daring) Ones of Dior". The cosmetics, created by Lutens, included smoky eye colors and deep, dark red shades for lips and nails. Angelica Huston, who worked with Lutens in the 1970s, is quoted as saying that it usually took him 4 hours or more to create a look like this on a model's face.

Serge Lutens was born in 1942 in Lille, France. He experimented with makeup and photography as a teen, using his friends as models. In 1962, Lutens moved to Paris and was hired by Vogue magazine to do hair and makeup styling for photo shoots. It was there that he had the opportunity to work with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Christian Dior hired Lutens to create a cosmetics line in 1968.

The Dior cosmetics line has become one of the most successful in the world. It was Serge Lutens' styling and photography for the advertisements that helped propel sales in the 1970s. In 1980, Lutens left Dior to work for Shiseido Cosmetics, and he worked the same magic for that company through memorable advertising images.

For "Les Aventureux", Lutens used 1920s style gamine hairdos with very strong eyes and a bold red bow mouth. I find the images arresting and haunting. This isn't makeup. This is art.

In this video, you can watch Lutens at work creating the makeup look for the photo shoot.