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October 18, 2002 10:14am
YSL Goes Full-Frontal with Men's Fragrance Ad
Source: Reuters

(PARIS, FRANCE) -- American designer Tom Ford has set a new milestone for sex in advertising with the print commercial for the new Yves Saint Laurent men's fragrance, which features a reclining full-frontal nude male model.

The black-and-white publicity shot for the M7 fragrance, which stars former martial arts champion Samuel de Cubber, will be published from Oct. 24 in a handful of fashion magazines, including the French edition of Vogue.

So-called porn chic has swept the advertising industry in recent years, but no company had previously dared to go all the way in showing a full-frontal nude.

"Perfume is worn on the skin, so why hide the body?" Ford, YSL's artistic director, said in a statement. "The M7 campaign is really pure, it's a very academic nude."

Advance peeks of the X-rated shot are already causing a stir in local media and could lead to a repeat of the protests triggered by the Yves Saint Laurent campaign for the relaunch of its women's perfume Opium two years ago.

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority ordered YSL to remove the billboard commercials, featuring model Sophie Dahl reclining in the nude, because they were "sexually suggestive."

Ford said the M7 campaign was a homage to a now infamous picture of Saint Laurent posing naked -- though with his legs modestly crossed -- for the photographer Jeanloup Sieff in 1971.

"I wanted to subtly remind people that the house of Yves Saint Laurent has always been a front-runner in presenting provocative images," he said.

Ford, who took over the design of YSL's ready-to-wear and perfume divisions in 2000, is offering mainstream media a toned-down version showing de Cubber from the waist up.

The model's hairy chest contrasts sharply with the waxed pectorals of the Australian modeling sensation Travis Fimmel, who stars in the campaign for Calvin Klein's new scent Crave.

"I wanted to show a man who represents a natural and relaxed image of male beauty," explained Ford.

YSL is owned by the Italian design house Gucci, an affiliate of Pinault Printemps Redoute.

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