Actor Austin Butler is the global ambassador of Yves Saint Laurent Beauty’s new men’s scent, MYSLF. “I felt honored when Yves Saint Laurent Beauty asked me to become the ambassador for its new fragrance, MYSLF,” Butler told WWD. “In 1964, Yves Saint Laurent released his first fragrance. I feel privileged to be a part of the heritage he set in motion all those years ago.” In a statement, Butler also said: “Over the last few years, I’ve spoken with people who knew M. Saint Laurent. He broke through labels. He was a rebel, and I love that about him.”
Butler, a swiftly rising star, has worked with directors including Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann and Jim Jarmusch. The acclaimed “Elvis” actor will be appearing next in Jeff Nichols’ “Bikeriders” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two.” MYSLF will start its launch Tuesday on YSL Beauty’s platform in the U.S. prior to rolling out elsewhere beginning on Thursday. This comes six years after the brand introduced Y for men, which was created with Millennials in mind and a focus on the theme of self-accomplishment. Prior to that were La Nuit de L’Homme, from 2009, and L’Homme, dating back to 2006.
“We wanted to bring an offer to Gen Z,” explained Stephan Bezy, international general manager of Yves Saint Laurent Beauty at licensee L’Oréal. This will be a first for the brand. He added: “That generation has been exposed to a lot of tensions.” Those include the exposure of toxic masculinity during the #MeToo movement, which led to the questioning of old-time masculinity, the frontiers of which have become much more blurred and inclusive of gender fluidity, for example.
“It has raised the question: ‘What does it meant to be a man today?’” continued Bezy, saying for Gen Z it’s not so much about the “having” as about the “being,” the “who am I?” “They realize that to be a man is to have the freedom to be yourself. It’s a generation that has decided to break down the frontiers, tear down clichés and those barriers, to express and be themselves.”
YSL held 4,000-plus interviews over more than three years around the globe to understand this. “The territory they want to explore is the self,” underlined Bezy. That echoes designer Yves Saint Laurent’s famous quote: “I’ve understood that the most important encounter in life was the encounter with myself.” The notion of self-ownership became the springboard for the new scent’s name, MYSLF, which also reflects Gen Z’s penchant for wordplay. Bezy said within the moniker, young men swiftly see “YSL” and some even “MY YSL.” There’s also the “m” for masculine and “f” for feminine.
Designer Suzanne Dalton helped create the fragrance flacon, which is an upright rectangle in black lacquer that becomes more transparent toward the bottom. YSL’s logo was engraved into the mold.“From scratch, we wanted to develop this project with ASAP philosophy,” said Bezy, using the acronym for “as sustainable as possible.” The refillable bottle is made of recycled glass that’s FSC Mix certified, as is its outer packaging. Both are recyclable.The floral woody fragrance was created by Givaudan perfumers Daniela Andrier, Christophe Raynaud and Antoine Maisondieu.
At the top there’s a fresh accord, including notes of bergamot heart from Calabria, Italy; vert de bergamot, and clary sage. The heart has an accord of orange blossom hand-picked in Tunisia, while the base is comprised of a wood accord with Ambrofix, a wholly natural biotech material, and an Indonesian patchouli heart note. The idea was to express olfactorily the fluidity and multifaceted quality of today’s masculinity. Bezy highlighted Butler’s versatility, too, and said there was a desire to “have a feminine gaze on this project.”
So YSL signed on director Julia Ducournau, the second woman ever to win the Palme d’Or, in 2019, for best movie at the Cannes Film Festival. This marks her first advertisement.
“She’s a very strong, talented, smart and interesting personality,” said Bezy.Still images were shot by Gray Sorrenti. Bezy described the advertising as having a masculine image, without it being a caricature.
“It’s very modern, Gen Z and sensitive,” he said.
In France, the 60-ml. eau de parfum will be priced at around 82 euros, and the 100-ml. edp at 112 euros. Bezy would not discuss numbers, but industry sources estimate the new scent will generate more than 100 million euros in wholesale revenues during its first 12 months on counter.MYSLF should bring YSL Beauty from strength to strength. In 2022, it became the third-ranking prestige fragrance brand and number seven prestige beauty brand worldwide, up from numbers four and 12, respectively, in 2021.Bezy credited growth to all three of the brand’s product categories — fragrance, makeup and skin care.
The perfume industry has experienced a boom since the coronavirus pandemic began.“There is this new way of using fragrance,” said Bezy, explaining it is less for social purposes than for one’s own self. “We are surfing on that beautiful fragrance market trend, but we are beating the market, gaining market share.”
Meanwhile, YSL’s Libre women’s fragrance became the fifth-ranking feminine perfume globally and top-three in Europe in 2022, a little more than three years after its launch. Year-to-date ended June, the scent placed second in Europe, behind Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle.
“Libre continues its incredible journey,” confirmed Bezy, adding the brand has very high expectations for it as it performs across all geographic regions.Libre, with a fragrance built on a masculine olfactive structure, is worn by men as well as women. A new extension for the brand is coming out in September.From the YSL Beauty men’s scent portfolio, Y ranks sixth worldwide today.YSL Beauty has three fragrances in the top 10 globally, also including Black Opium, which ranks ninth. The brand counts five in the first 20 globally.
Makeup-wise, YSL Beauty became the bestselling brand in China in full-year 2022, and year-to-date there, it has become the first-ranked in selective distribution. The brand also has the topselling lipstick in China, with Rouge Pur Couture The Slim and Velvet Radical.YSL Beauty has the first and second bestselling cushion foundations in China, as well — Cushion Encre de Peau, launched in 2016, and Glow Pact Cushion, introduced in 2022. They’re number one and number three, respectively, in Asia.
Meanwhile, Candy Glaze Lip Gloss Stick is selling strongly in the U.S. Lash Clash mascara ranks number third in Europe and second in France, where Volume Effet Faux Cils is first.
In skin care, YSL Beauty’s Pure Shots is among the top-10 antiaging serums in North Asia.
Overall, YSL Beauty is growing faster than the beauty market.“We are gaining share on all markets and growing strongly on all categories,” said Bezy. “We had a very strong start of the year, so we are very confident for 2023.”