Twelve years after its first public appearance, the fashion world remembers Yves Saint Laurent’s controversial Opium fragrance advertisement featuring Sophie Dahl, as the iconic image was dubbed the eighth most complained about ad in the last 50 years by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The organization’s 2011 Annual Report detailed that of the 431,100 complaints ASA received throughout the years, the Opium ad accounted for 948—723 complaints shy of the top spot.
Shot by Steven Meisel and under the creative direction of Tom Ford, the fragrance campaign featured Dahl lying on the floor with nothing but a pair of stilettos and jewelry. With one hand covering one of her breasts, the ASA concluded that the image was “sexually suggestive” and “likely to cause serious widespread offence.” However, it should be remembered that the image was only removed from billboards, allowing the image to appear on targeted mediums such as women’s magazines.
Although other labels such as Marc Jacobs and L’Oreal have been getting a lot of censorship from the ASA, YSL has already been sanctioned twice for its Opium fragrance ads. Last year, the luxury label’s Melanie Thierry-fronted commercial for the same product was also banned for suggesting drug use.