Chanel nails storytelling with epic Baz Luhrmann and Gisele No.5 fragrance campaign
By Rachel Arthur

Big budget fragrance campaigns aren’t of course a new phenomenon, but they do continue to be the strongest examples of the fashion industry pushing …

Oct 15, 2014
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Big budget fragrance campaigns aren’t of course a new phenomenon, but they do continue to be the strongest examples of the fashion industry pushing storytelling.

From Dior to Calvin Klein, there are numerous iconic tales from over the years that are easy to recall, and equally associated with the perfumes they’re promoting. But it’s perhaps Chanel No.5 that’s managed to be the most memorable of them all.

Placing Brad Pitt to one side, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge-inspired spot starring Nicole Kidman is a particularly strong example of narrative. But that was, would you believe, now 10 years ago.

Enter then, Gisele Bündchen as the latest Chanel muse in a new campaign for the brand once again directed and produced by Luhrmann.

The One That I Want, as it’s called, sees the Brazilian supermodel captured on Long Island, New York in an incredibly cinematic series of frames that somewhat reference The Great Gatsby (Luhrmann’s adaptation of which was released in 2013).

This is no 1920s setup however, but a modern take on a woman who has a job, a relationship and a child. Accordingly, it’s about how she balances those responsibilities. Luhrmann said it was actually very reflective of Gisele herself. “This woman has a child, a real job and then she has this relationship. Gisele is the Chanel woman now.”

Set to a slow cover of Grease classic The One That I Want by Lo-Fang, the three-minute film opens with Gisele surfing in front of her Hamptons beach house. Actor Michiel Huisman, who is known for his role as Daario Naharis in HBO series Game of Thrones, solemnly watches on in a scenario that makes the viewer assume there’s been an argument between the two lovers.

He seems to catch her attention before leaving her a note in the house and disappearing off in his chauffeur-driven car (noticeable touches of luxury flow throughout). Gisele continues with her day, from spending time with her child as she gets ready, to heading into the city for a photo shoot, before she finally reads the note her partner left for her. Tears welling up in her eyes, she hurries to meet him and make-up, in the venue where Lo-Fang is performing.

As Luhrmann tells Vanity Fair: “Having it all does not come easily. That’s the film—it isn’t all just pretty smiles and flowers. I wanted there to be, they are having an argument, it’s not going well. I hope you get it from the trailer that there’s a relationship and it’s shaky.”

The emotion box is certainly ticked. It’s a heartfelt tale that makes you believe in the woman behind it. Luhrmann describes it as a trailer for a movie that never got made. Arguably, and as with Kidman back in 2004, it suggests at one that could be, which quite honestly is what every ad should feel like.

Bonus info: if you didn’t spot it, Chanel launched its Instagram account this week in celebration of the launch of its new No.5 film too. Check it out via @chanelofficial with the 1.8 million other followers already signed up.

  • Colleen Thorne

    Can you tell me what the car is in the Chanel no 5 advert …… Thanks


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