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le s m o k i n g : milla & sasha

10 July 2009

 {edit: Please do take into account that I have used “le smoking” only as an attempt to be clever with words – I do know that “le smoking” is a reference to YSL’s tuxedos for the woman. By “le smoking” I only attempt to reference the smokey eyes and usage of cigarettes for glamorous editorial. }

Milla & Sasha; Ellen von Unwerth; Vogue Italia July 2009

Milla & Sasha; Ellen von Unwerth; Vogue Italia July 2009 2

Milla & Sasha; Ellen von Unwerth; Vogue Italia July 2009 3

Milla & Sasha; Ellen von Unwerth; Vogue Italia July 2009 4

{Milla & Sasha // Vogue Italia July 2009 // ph: Ellen von Unwerth // models: Milla Jovovich & Sasha Pivovarova // image source: t h e f a s h i o n s p o t }

I must confess that I have never been a fan of Milla Jovovich or Sasha Pivovarova, as I have always regarded them as simply average. And yet I find this editorial strangely alluring, ranking as one of my [many] favorites. The mixture of black and white photography with images of highly saturated, rich colors is quite the lovely contrast – a feast for the eyes. And any editorial referencing that old-school Hollywood glamorousness, by way of perfect curls and pin-up girls is indeed fabulous. Especially if shot by Ellen von Unwerth.

Another confession: I am quite the hypocrite. I absolutely despise smoking and cigarettes and the likes, but I cannot help but admit that a bit of le smoking injected into a fashion spread looks all the more vintage-ly glamorous. (And yes, I did just concoct a new adjective simply for my own perusal.) I am in love with the first black and white photograph of Milla; the perfect waves, the dark eyes, pea coat, and cigarette do make it look authentic and oh-so-luxurious. A look I can only wish to channel every day: the classic sophisticate with demure sensuality. Sans the cigarette in my mouth, of course.

And to be able to wear a sheer skirt like Sasha would be a feat in itself. In any other case such a piece would have been either tacky or simply trashy. But somehow, whether it be the angle of the shot, or the lighting, or the supermodel’s position, she looks elegant. Disheveled, yes, but nonetheless feminine and sophisticated. A shoulder of the blouse fallen, eyes vividly purple but slightly smudged, and stockings peeking through evokes, once again, demure sensuality – a characteristic epitomizing the ideal 1940s and 1950s.

By the third photograph it is apparent that this womanly sensuality is the running theme of the shoot, beautifully captured in different ways: first through the ever-classic vintage Hollywood glamour, then through the fantasy of a conservative yet naughty secretary, and then rather explicitly in a black lace lingerie-clad Sasha. This time all conservative ideals were shed – literally – to reveal an uninhibited portrayal of a woman’s sex appeal: the black mesh bra, the lace bodysuit, the satin pumps. Sex on heels, again quite literally, depicted in a black and white shot. 

The fourth is of Milla, ending the procession of a decrease of apparel with a vintage, yet more modern take on women. She is the pin-up, the smokey-eyed woman with the full lips and a head full of voluminous curls, the one dressed in a body-conscious dress, perched rather seductively on the steps. A bit siren-like, if you’d like, and undeniably so.

And oh, I should not mind a bit living entirely like this. Le smoking  h a u t e , with black lace lingerie beneath.


La C.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 July 2009 2:33 pm

    amazing shots and girls! Pure glamour!

  2. 10 July 2009 2:44 pm

    Ellen von Unwerth is a photographic genius. Love these shots. There’s an air of Moulin Rouge boudoir mixed with Edith Wharton high society. Simply gorgeous! 🙂

  3. 10 July 2009 2:47 pm

    Wow–these photos are amazing. very inspiring as well. It makes me wish (like I didn’t already) that I lived back in time to the 1940s when the Hollywood Glamour stage was present. I must agree about the sheer skirt. On anyone sans a model in a fashion-spread, it would look terribly, terribly wrong. But here–it works. Fantastic post, La C. Reading your writing always makes a boring day feel so fabulous.

    • 10 July 2009 2:48 pm

      Cafe Fashionista: I do wish I lived during the 1920s or 1940s-50s – everything was so glamorous! And darling, you are too sweet – I’m only glad to have made your day fabulous! (:

      Con Brio: Those words describe it perfectly!

      bisous, my loves!

  4. 10 July 2009 3:24 pm

    I die for these photoshoot. So perfection!


  5. 10 July 2009 3:40 pm

    it is indeed a fantastic editorial

  6. 10 July 2009 3:51 pm

    smoking is bad but theses photos are to die for!

  7. 10 July 2009 4:24 pm

    hot hothot!

    the only le smoking i like is the italian type of tuxedos and suits on women.

    the editorial is so glam. love it!

  8. Alize Morand permalink
    10 July 2009 4:42 pm

    Amazing editorial!! I was desperately looking for Le Smoking in these pictures, for Le Smoking (de Saint Laurent, originally) means the tuxedo in French.. 😉 Then I thought of the smoky eye, and finally I realised there was a cigarette.. 😉 it just seems so normal and glam and an obvious association with fashion, for us addicted French – that said, I have NEVER even smoked one cigarette haha! I love Sasha sooo much! She’s my second favourite Cat’s face hehe! 🙂

    BISOUS ma belle! xx

    • 10 July 2009 4:59 pm

      Alize: Haha yes, I was attempting (key word: attempting) to be clever (; Yes indeed, the smokey eyes and cigarette was the reason for the title! Hurrah for never once smoking a cigarette! (: I applaud all who have resisted such a thing!

  9. 10 July 2009 4:57 pm

    The picture on the stairs is just so hot.

  10. 10 July 2009 5:14 pm

    Très belle sélection de photos et très fine analyse. Amusant que j’ai parlé de “smoking” moi aussi aujourd’hui, à propos du Blog Lovely Award décerné par The Anthology (smoking in french = tuxedo in english, comme le rappelle Alize). Bonne idée, la fausse piste…

    • 10 July 2009 5:29 pm

      la flore et la faune: Merci beaucoup! J’ai utilisé “le smoking” que comme une tentative d’être habile avec les mots – je sais que “le smoking” est une référence à YSL de “tuxedos” pour la femme. Par “le smoking” je ne tente de référence yeux la fumée (smokey eyes) et des cigarettes pour l’utilisation de glamour éditorial. bisous!

  11. 10 July 2009 5:21 pm

    Beautiful pictures, i am completely in love with the first photo of milla, she’s mesmerising. x

  12. 10 July 2009 5:22 pm

    I adore Franca Sozzani and Vogue Italia editorials… this is a very good one.
    Lucy =)

  13. 10 July 2009 5:36 pm

    Such sensual photos! I don’t smoke either I do think those pictures with the cigarretts are very glamorous! xxoxoxoxo

  14. 10 July 2009 5:37 pm

    I loved this whole written article, the last line especially!

    I never really liked Milla Jovavich either but these are exceptional.

  15. 10 July 2009 6:20 pm

    Divine photos, darling! I have never seen Milla looking better!


  16. 10 July 2009 6:20 pm

    Totally gorgeous photos. I love them both…Milla has always radiated cool to me. I also love the YSLs you have as your pic.

  17. 10 July 2009 6:44 pm

    they are smoking hot.

  18. 10 July 2009 6:53 pm


    Bonne nuit !
    Dormez bien 😉


  19. 10 July 2009 6:58 pm

    Those shots do have a great amount of appeal.

  20. 10 July 2009 8:05 pm

    Gorgeous photos! But I must admit the cigarette(s) in editorials/pics usually spoil it for me, I think that first pic would be so much nicer without it, for example… *blush*

    • 10 July 2009 9:11 pm

      Brigadeiro: (: I usually find cigarette-incorporated editorials to be less appealing than if they were cigarette-less, but in this singular case I did (hypocritically) find them a lovely addition!

  21. 10 July 2009 10:49 pm

    Love this editorial…the combination of color and black and white is quite genius. The second photo has to be my favorite — she looks so elegant!

  22. 11 July 2009 12:22 am

    what a great editorial! check out my blog

  23. 11 July 2009 12:26 am

    Love this post. These editorials are definitely sensual/sexual? (Oh gosh, can you tell how mildly awkward I am?!) I adore the first one times a trillion.

    PS I’m adding you to my blog roll! I love this blog!

    • 11 July 2009 12:27 am

      Stylista23: Will do!

      S.Elisabeth: Definitely sensual and sexual! Haha – not at all (; And thank you, darling!


  24. 11 July 2009 2:08 am

    Favorite is the third. It’s so- almost spontaneous.

  25. 11 July 2009 3:11 am

    love all the pictures! 🙂

  26. Didi permalink
    11 July 2009 3:35 am

    Such gorgeous pictures! Really lyrical!

  27. 11 July 2009 4:50 am

    Hey missy!

    I agree I’ve never followed closely these two models but there is an undeniable aura that these sets of images illicit in me. Interesting reading your thoughts too. I’m inclined to swallow my pride and confess I hold the same condtradictory notions about smoking and its portrayel in media….it DOES create an image of ‘old-world glamour’ but also makes a negative impact on individual health….bleh won’t get into that 😀

    Beautiful pictures. Thats the end 😉

    xx Eeli

    • 11 July 2009 4:51 am

      Eeli: Hellooo darling! (: I totally agree – which is why I feel like a complete hypocrite for admitting that the incorporation of a cigarette actually looks glamorous. The sad thing, it is this kind of a photo that makes women/girls want to smoke ):


  28. 11 July 2009 5:07 am

    amazing photo, i absolutely love sasha!! she’s like a non-typical model model 🙂

  29. sadelovesblack permalink
    11 July 2009 7:22 am

    I’m glad this editorial helped you like Sasha abit more. I love her works 🙂

  30. 11 July 2009 10:19 am

    ooooh thanks for sharing!! this is GREAT!!!


  31. 11 July 2009 10:27 am


  32. 11 July 2009 12:31 pm

    She’s sucha amazing actress as well! 🙂

  33. Clare Brown permalink
    11 July 2009 12:35 pm

    Beautiful spread! These photos are fabulous and they exude a very enviable life of luxury! Isn’t it funny how the advertising/media world has placed cigarettes in such a way that they are glamorous? I have to applaud advertisers for making, quite possibly, the most un-glamorous thing into something sexy, tempting and glamorous! A very, very witty title, indeed! Thanks for sharing!

    • 11 July 2009 12:35 pm

      Clare Brown: What I would give to live like this everyday (: And it is quite amazing – yet scary – how the cigarette can be portrayed as an icon of glamour.

  34. 11 July 2009 12:37 pm

    I was going to say that they were smoking hot, but savymode already said it, cheeky girl.

  35. thebaglady permalink
    11 July 2009 12:53 pm

    These are stunnninggg shots!

    I love how you made each a procession/timeline of women’s sexiness in history. Quite intellectual, educational, and so lovely to read! I never thought of Sasha as the sexy type but she’s workin’ it!

  36. 11 July 2009 1:06 pm

    That first shot is so unbelievably stunning! I am not a fan of smoking either, but sometimes it just works absolute wonders in a photo shoot. And oh my, the colours and composition in the last shot of Milla on the stairs is gorgeous.

    Oh and you were one of the winners of the Pay-It-Forward tag dear 🙂 So if you could email some time, I’ll try to send a little gift your way! Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend.

    • 11 July 2009 1:07 pm

      dapper kid: The first shot is my favorite (: Without the cigarette the entire aura and feel of the photo would have been completely different! It’s quite amazing how one minute prop could possibly affect the mood.

      Ahh, I am quite excited – thank you monsieur Dapper Kid! (: I never win anything (this week seems to be my luck week, actually!) I’ll send you an e-mail in a bit darling! (:

  37. Laura permalink
    11 July 2009 1:46 pm


  38. 11 July 2009 3:15 pm

    I already loved Sasha… and this is striking. Milla looks more beautiful than ever.
    Plus I smoke and therefore adore that smoking-look…
    Thanks for bringing it to attention ! ( this phrase sounds wrong xD )

    • 11 July 2009 3:16 pm

      rossovelvet: Lol, no worries, I do understand what you mean (; This editorial is indeed incredibly striking!

  39. 11 July 2009 3:45 pm


  40. 11 July 2009 3:54 pm

    Ive always been a huge fan of sasha, maybe just because we have the same name, but I love her

  41. jessica permalink
    12 July 2009 4:39 pm

    Loving this photo shoot. Love the photographs you picked. They are fabulous!

  42. 12 July 2009 7:23 pm

    Pretty photos!

  43. abdcforever permalink
    12 July 2009 7:23 pm

    wow gawgeous!!!

    and i luv how u always analyze things – proves your not just one of those “oh hey honey i luv fashion but i’m doin it for the free clothes” type girl (no offense to any of those superficial types…)

    yeah point is – ur def gonna be big oneday

  44. 12 July 2009 8:10 pm

    stunning! they are both incredible! thank you for your sweet comment!

  45. 14 July 2009 12:20 am

    What an amazing editorial! It is funny how smoking is just so ugly in real life but in a fashion context it’s positively desirable. I actually really enjoy Milla Jovovich as a model, she has such a pure Eastern European severe mistress look.


  1. le s m o k i n g : milla & sasha « la couturier
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