Courtesy of Ralph Lauren Image by: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
"I think it's a good change in Ralph Lauren's image," says Casta, who modelled for the designer's runway shows in the 1990s. "When I did [the advertising campaign], I felt like a character in a movie. Any woman could be this way - why not feel like a femme fatale sometimes?" That's what perfumer Olivier Gillotin had in mind when he created the fragrance, which includes notes of pink peppercorn, vanilla, carnation and chocolate cosmos - a flower he discovered in Mexico two decades ago. "They give it this sensuality," explains Gillotin. "When a woman wears this fragrance, she wants to be cuddled."
And maybe that's another reason why Casta - whose womanly sex appeal is set off by a hint of vulnerability - embodies this scent. "For me, to be notorious is to be mysterious and strong. Sometimes you can be fragile; that is part of being strong too." It's an outlook she has adhered to both personally and professionally since a talent scout discovered her on a Corsican beach in 1993. In the midst of a high-profile career (she starred in campaigns for Chanel and Christian Dior and was a muse to the late Yves Saint Laurent), Casta famously quit modelling at age 23. "I started to have my kids, and I didn't want to be a doll anymore," says the mother of two. Seeking more meaning, she also embarked on an acting career in her native France. "I wanted to give more emotion and have a voice."
Though initially maligned, Casta is finally getting kudos as an actress, thanks to a leading role in Nes en 68 (Born in '68), for which she won an award at a film festival in Cabourg, France, earlier this year. Ironically, her new film career has also helped her make a comeback of sorts in the modelling world. "They are using me more as a personality now than as a model," she says. "I prefer it that way - I can give something more than just being a pretty face." Still, she has no regrets about her previous choices, proving that self-confidence is, perhaps, her most alluring quality of all. "Everything [I've done] has made me who I am as a woman. For me, being sexy isn't about trying to be sexy - it's about being yourself."