“Julia Child was not a classical beauty,” Isabella Rossellini says from her converted barn in Bellport, New York, days after filming wrapped for the second season of HBO’s Julia. (Rossellini plays the culinary legend’s coauthor.) “She was very tall and kind of awkward and had a funny voice—but had an enormous sense of wit and this passion for the kitchen.” Rossellini is talking about the French phrase la vie est belle, which she likens to the Latin carpe diem: a call to relish life. If the TV chef embodied that philosophy with gusto, so does another Julia: the Pretty Woman who has fronted Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle perfume (optimistic, with notes of iris, vanilla, and jasmine) since its debut in 2012.
A decade later, the French beauty house is uniting six of its ambassadors—Julia Roberts and Rossellini, along with Penélope Cruz, Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried, and Zendaya—for a campaign that waxes essential. “Make life beautiful” goes the new tagline, which begs the follow-up: In what way? Like a trusted astrologer, Vanity Fair consulted the stars.
Roberts, appearing next in the adaptation of the apocalyptic novel Leave the World Behind, defines living well outside the self. It’s a “sense of all those around me being in a good place feeling centered and seen,” says the mother of three. Cruz cites an evening years ago at Roberts’s home, when they discussed motherhood. “I remember a great conversation with Julia when she already had her children and I didn’t yet have mine, and telling her how much I wanted that kind of life for me,” she says. “The more gratitude you are able to experience every day, I think the happier you will be. It seems we all know that, but sometimes we forget to practice.”
So the verb in “Make life beautiful” is key: Living well is, in part, an endeavor. Zendaya has made gratitude a nightly practice. “Sometimes I write it down and sometimes I say it out loud. But simply saying ‘I’m thankful for these things’ really helps put life in perspective.”
Collins remembers 2012 as the year of her first major film, Mirror Mirror, with Roberts. “Back then I was focused more on keeping myself busy. I always wanted to be on the go and say yes to everything I could,” she says, describing a current devotion to morning dog walks on the beach. Seyfried, who tends a menagerie, can relate. “Isabella and I talked about our farms and how eerily similar our lives are right now,” she says. “We have the same passion for what we’ve created.”
Five new fragrances reveal a cinematic bent, as if primed for hypothetical film adaptations.