When YSL Beaute first launched OPIUM in 1977 he had a very particular kind of woman in mind: elegant, stylish and with a piercing intelligence and languorous beauty, she moved in sophisticated social circles, and left her mark on all whose lives she passed through. Cut to the present day…

Shocking and familiar, timeless and contemporary; a new interpretation of a classic, much-loved fragrance.

Who is the Black Opium woman?

She knows who she is and what she wants. Dramatic, restless, she’s a complex intermix of darkness and light; feminine sensuality; playful but serious at the same time. Impulsive, always on the move, she seeks out adventures. Free from social constraints that pin others down, she is singular in her approach to life. She lives her life with passion, making destiny her playground.

A contradictory notion

Black Opium is simultaneously as classic as the silk on a “le Smoking” collar, and as new as the city lights in a night sky, shining like diamonds. Black is the color that is not a color, a contradictory notion imbuing its wearer with a don’t-mess-with-me attitude. The name OPIUM is synonymous with a sense of mystique, promising to take its wearer on a journey.

The Secret Inside

Aristocratic, cool yet hard, too, the shape echoes the square iconic Opium bottle with the round, feminine centre. Finished in a matt, black glitter with a diamond-dust finish it sparkles gently. The bottle is encased in an opulent black box, the famous “Cassandre” symbol magnified in black glitter, the Black Opium logo in delicate pink gold.

The Forbidden Nectar

Four stars of the fragrance world – Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne, Honorine Blanc and Olivier Cresp-each bring their different strengths to Black Opium creating an original, enticing, multi-faceted fragrance, a scent as intoxicating as the spirit of today’s Yves Saint Laurent woman; fierce, dynamic, energetic, and instantly engaging.

The coffee bean note jolts the senses. Next, it becomes softer and more feminine with the white flowers of jasmine sambac and Absolu of fleur d’ oranger. Finally, the sweetness and sensuality of vanilla and the woody notes of cedar and patchouli, giving Black Opium depth and mysterious elegance.

This new generation oriental gourmand perfume is a radical move away from the structure of the classic perfume, and instead is inspired by the artistic movement of the “chiaroscuro”, where the emphasis is on the contrast and tension between light and dark.

Audacious? Perhaps. Addictive, electrifying? Definitely.

The Adventure

Shangai, 2014: a city famous for its links to the opium trade in years gone by, now a modern, vibrant hub of cosmopolitan urban life.

A woman is waking up in the middle of the night. The thrown-back sheets on the other side of the bed, reveal the absence of a man, someone she spent the night with. Gone too is something precious, something she searches for frantically on the bedside table. She is edgy, anxious to get going, impatient to catch the train she needs to get back what’s now missing from her life. He’s there, in his bedroom. He’s happy to see her, pulls her close to him. They almost embrace and she steals back the bottle he holds, the bottle she wants.


Courtesy of YSL Beaute

Edie Campbell

October 2014 (Archive)