Johanna Blakley

Media | Entertainment | Fashion

Black Swan / White Swan

One gift my mother gave me for Christmas this year was a rolled up page from a magazine: it was an Yves Saint Laurent ad for their men’s cologne, L’Homme, featuring one of our favorite hotties, Olivier Martinez. (You remember him, right? The guy that Diane Lane cheated with in Unfaithful? Oooooh yes.) Anyway, a few days later I flipped the page over to find a simmering Vincent Cassel promoting the other Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, La Nuit de L’Homme.

I had just seen the film Black Swan, in which Cassel plays a machismo ballet director who helps drive his frigid star (Natalie Portman) insane by demanding that she portray both the virginal “White Swan” and the naughty “Black Swan” in his production of Swan Lake. Needless to say, the virgin/whore dichotomy is pretty relentlessly pursued throughout the film; a sultry Milan Kunis embodies the sexy swan that our starving heroine can’t seem to summon up for Cassel. Although it’s hard to tell what’s really happening in the film (our heroine is prone to hallucination), I got the impression that Kunis might be the only happy ballerina in Manhattan. She actually enjoys dancing, she parties heartily, and we never catch a glimpse of her throwing up her lunch. God knows we’ve seen tragic virgins before, but happy whores are a rare breed. It didn’t occur to me until I saw these two ads that the new twist we see on the virgin/whore dichotomy in Black Swan is simply the way it would play out if you applied it to men. A male virgin is always tragic (or at least comic). A male whore is the guy every other guy envies. 

I have no idea whether YSL has some sort of merchandising tie-in with the film (I noticed in the final credits that Rodarte made all the Swan Lake costumes, which I thought were delicious), but there’s no way they could have used one of the stars of the film without realizing the parallel they’re suggesting. I just wonder if anyone mentioned this to poor Olivier. Does he realize he’s occupying the crazy tragic virgin slot in this tawdry little advertising drama? He was so hot, right? Until now . . .

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