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Fashion | A New Face For Chanel No 5

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Dollish Amelie star Audrey Tautou is the new face for Chanel No 5, teaming up again with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet for the fragrance’s latest advertising campaign. It comes ahead of a mid-2009 release of Coco Avant Chanel in which Tautou plays the fragrance’s inventor, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

It’s a sweet and simple story, as you’d expect from Jeunet. A young woman (Tautou) travels to Istanbul on holiday, old-school 1920s style in a sleeper train. As she wistfully gazes out the carriage window of sleeper train, her scent attracts the appetite of a young man, but she retreats back to her room (No 5). Have you ever been out and caught the eye of a stranger, and both taken a second look only to walk off again, leaving each other wondering whether you’ll meet again? And what’s one of the things about the person you might remember? Their perfume.

For a fragrance that is so classic, the short film is perfect – the 1920s Orient Express-like sleeper train, the exotic Istanbul location (the great east-meets-west city that perfume owes so much to) and the colour palate … the only thing missing is a Louis Vuitton luggage trunk.

Jeunet is a great screen storyteller. He has directed beautifully produced feature films such as Delicatessen, La Cite des Enfants Perdus and Alien Resurrection, as well as the two films with Tautou, Amelie and A Very Long Engagement.

Jeunet is one of those directors that has a signature style to his storytelling, one that is visually strong and idiosyncratic. It certainly carries through in this short film for Chanel No 5 — full of bold colour, picture book images and great camera angles. And, of course, he knows exactly how to work with Tautou — someone he was only too glad to have the opportunity to work with again.

Watch the full-length short film:

Chanel No 5 is an iconic fragrance. And to ne the face for the fragrance is just as iconic. So, how does Tautou feel about being the face of the world’s most recognised fragrance? In an interview on the brand’s website, Tautou explains that she sees herself as now being part of the perfume’s history, holding its thread at this point in time. She rebuffs any iconic status.

She also explains a curious coincidence. When Chanel announced Tautou was to be the fragrance’s face for 2009, she was staying in a New York hotel … room number 5. The announcement was made on 5 May.

But, Chanel’s choice of Tautou is no small coincidence. She plays the fashionista Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel in the upcoming feature film Coca Avant Chanel, due for release in June/July 09. The movie focuses on Chanel’s life before making the big time as a fashion designer. Here’s the trailer:

And, it isn’t the first time the face for Chanel No 5 has also been associated with a feature film release. In 2004, Nicole Kidman was the Chanel girl in a Baz Luhrmann-directed, million-dollar short film. It followed Moulin Rouge, directed by Luhrmann and starring Kidman. The Chanel advertisement carried much of the same production design.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, Ridley Scott directed three advertisements for the fragrance. Share the fantasy — the Bladerunner-esque 1979 ad with model and Bond girl Carol Bouquet:

In addition the the latest advertisement/short film/promo/call-it-what-you-will, Chanel No 5 has also launched a set of special featurettes, including interviews with Jeunet and Tautou, footage on the set and an fascinating history of the perfume. It’s all on the Chanel No 5 website.

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Written by Darren Smith

15 May 2009 at 8:18 pm

3 Responses

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  1. […] Original post by keeping it reel […]

  2. […] Original post by Darren Smith […]

  3. […] Fashion | Chanel Before “Coco Avant Chanel” […]


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