Guerlain announced yesterday that Angelina Jolie will be the global “icon” of their new fragrance for women, Mon Guerlain. It’s her first beauty campaign in almost a decade – a deal with Shiseido for ads that ran only in Asia. The partnership with Guerlain started when she was directing First They Killed My Father in Cambodia last year, well before she and Brad Pitt separated. Apparently Angelina felt a connection with the brand because she associates it with her mother, who used to use Guerlain powder. Other than that, not too many more details. The fragrance will be released in March and Guerlain has confirmed that she asked for her entire fee to be donated to charity.

Here’s the first image released:

Meant as a teaser, obviously. So let’s talk about the timing. Mon Guerlain is expected in March, assume mid-March since they didn’t specify exactly when that month. That’s clear of the Oscars so they’re staying out of the way of award season. And it’s right at the change of seasons, when we all can’t wait to say f-ck off to winter. Symbolically then, a new beginning? In so many ways.

Can we expect then an Angelina Jolie re-emergence in March? If, that is, she promotes it? As we’ve seen over the last 15 years, no one is better at promotion and self-promotion than the Jolie. So, what’s the angle? The obvious angle is that she’s single again. And selling a fragrance is all about desirability.

"We create perfumes for the women we admire," Jacques Guerlain said. The brand's master perfumer, Thierry Wasser, drew inspiration from Jolie to create a scent that evokes "the choices, emotions, and dreams that embody modern femininity." 

So they’re shaping her desirability around her work, her image as a humanitarian and philanthropist, mother, and of course a great beauty. Her desirability here is presented as aspirational, certainly, but let’s not forget that with fragrance, specifically, desire is also about good old fashioned attraction.

This is a strategic way to remind us of the sensuality of Angelina Jolie. This is not the attribute she’s leaned into the last few years. But now that Brange is broken, she’s revisiting this side of her brand, subtly. There will be no overt posturing. It will be elegant and sophisticated. But the message is unmistakable: the sex symbol is on her way back.