The Art of Perfume Advertising: Jennifer Aniston

I don’t usually say or think much about Jennifer Aniston, because she and her acting career and her romantic travails generally don’t interest me. However, when her début fragrance was released in 2010 and arrived in the United States a year later, she edged her way a bit further into my awareness…

I heard the fragrance was nice enough, but as so often happens, I spent more time looking at the ad than sampling her eponymous scent at Sephora. If  Ms. Aniston was playing a larger part than usual in my conscious mind in 2011, then it was because her ad had touched upon something buried deep in my memory.

I remembered a photograph of Jane Fonda, taken around 1966 when she was in her late twenties. At the time she was breaking out of her image of Hollywood royalty and the “girl next door” by revealing a sexier, more rebellious side. (She would star in Barbarella in 1968.)

Something about the pose, the windblown hair, and the rocky beach landscape seemed to be echoed in Jennifer Aniston’s perfume advertisement.

I first came across this photo in a large, image-stuffed book called The Best of LIFE, which reproduced hundreds of pictures from LIFE magazine. The book credited this photograph to Jean-Pierre Lagarde.

There are only so many ways that a female body can be arranged for a photograph, of course, especially when you’re trying to achieve a sexy-but-not-unpublishable look. Still, I have a feeling that this photo of Fonda has been influential on many fashion/celebrity shoots.

Someone, somewhere seems to have decided that this legs-and-arms-crossed, is-she-really-nude pose seems to suit Jennifer Aniston well, since she has also assumed it for her SmartWater advertisements.

(Full disclosure: here, I’ve naughtily flipped the color photo of Jane Fonda’s Italian beach session  in order to emphasize the similarity.)

This isn’t the Jane Fonda that I knew from my earlier years, the bodysuit-clad, aerobic-workout goddess. Looking at her life, I’m fascinated by the number of times she has “reinvented” herself.

It’s interesting, how two women can model in similar poses (and hairstyles), against similar backdrops, and create such different moods. Where Jane was going for shock and sex appeal, Jennifer is falling back on her low-maintenance, comfortable familiarity—not reinvention at all.

Maybe I’d find Ms. Aniston more intriguing if she did give us something new, once in a while. But, as I said, I’ve never really been a fan. And it’s neither the first nor the last time that the Fonda-on-the-beach photo has been reinterpreted.


Selena Gomez, “Revival,” 2015

To see more posts in this series, see here.


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