La Vie est Belle with Julia Roberts

La Vie est Belle with Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts has a million-dollar smile. Lancôme is betting on it.

The all-American beauty fronts the newest toilette from the L’Oreal-owned brand and given the smile, the juice, the packaging and the message, it’s a winner. All the well-orchestrated details lie perfectly in sync with the zeitgeist.

The face. Who can resist Roberts? The Oscar-winning actress is not only talented, a humanitarian, gorgeous and apparently even nice—an everywoman’s starlet with no racy Vegas or Cannes field trips that have been unearthed or forced her into damage control and the tabloids.

The juice. The elegant floral crafted by perfumers Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo centres on iris, wrapped in sambac jasmine and Tunisian orange blossom flower absolutes, and patchouli. And then there’s the sweet part, the “smile” metaphor put forth by the noses—“like spun sugar infused with notes of vanilla, tonka bean, praline, blackcurrant and pear.”

The scent touches on the trend to richer, more luxurious scents without going the full-on oriental route—or the too-sweet, built-for-teenagers route. Its fruity warmth also leaves us nostalgic for a certain favourite but discontinued women’s chypre of the 1980s: KL Lagerfeld. (We’re not implying copycatting, just an appreciation of this toilette’s elegance and plushness.)

The package. The bottle eschews big, bold, in-your-face branding so possesses a certain confidence and simplicity. And dare we say timelessness. (Roberts has also declared this particularly refreshing.)

In fact, the La Vie est Belle bottle is a reworking of a classic Lancome design of 1949. The story has it that Lancome founder Armand Petitjean asked his artistic director of the time, George Delhomme, to create a bottle that would symbolize that indefinable je ne sais quoi at the heart of a beautiful woman. The result is Delhomme’s glass flacon entitled “Le sourire de cristal” (translation: the crystal smile), that 63 years later comes—with a few tweaks—into being.

The message. The metaphor of the smile embodies the character of this scent’s marketing campaign as much as the juice itself. That glorious, contagious, seemingly genuine Julia Roberts smile.

It’s a message of optimism in a cynical modern world. A reminder that it’s often the little things—a shared moment with a friend, a beautiful meal and yes, a quality perfume—that make us truly happy.




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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.