Chanel No. 5 starring Brad Pitt

by Ozlem Baydar

Chanel chooses Brad Pitt as the new face of its iconic Chanel No.

Chanel chooses Brad Pitt as the new face of its iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume – but can the iconic 7 star shine as the face of the legendary No. 5?

So the Haute Couture house Chanel strikes again. After choosing a string of stunning actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, or Audrey Tautou, Chanel has decided to have a male face for its legendary women’s perfume. No ordinary male though: 48 -year- old Hollywood actor Brad Pitt no less, one of the sexiest and most popular male actors of our time. Is the break in tradition a brave move or a safe albeit novel twist?

In the ad released October 15th , Brad Pitt instead is talking to the Chanel woman – a Chanel woman that of course just might be you (though Angelina might have something to say about it). His words are: “It’s not a journey. Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear, dreams take over, but wherever I go, there you are: my luck; my fate; my fortune. Chanel No.5, inevitable.” A bit poetically serious (like most luxury ads to be fair), but what will remain of it is the face of Brad Pitt and the choice of a male spokesperson.

In case you haven’t seen the ad yet, let’s get things straight. Chanel No.5 is not rebranding and bringing out a new male fragrance. Brad has also not been chosen because he is in some way the face of gay rights and as such represents a section of the population for whom the wearing of a female perfume might be de rigueur. Personally, that is perhaps a brave (and clever) move too far for Chanel, or Brad.

Of course, the fashion house has flirted with controversy before and is not afraid to be bold. Remember the hay-strewn farmyard or more recently imposing white wind turbines on the Chanel catwalk? But they also eschew cat walk cat fights such as those between Raf Simons of Dior and Hedi Slimane of Yves Saint Laurent. Chanel just graciously floats above all of them, Chanel `s creative Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld choosing to stay a cut above. And their soaring sales show why this image of French chic works: Chanel makes around £2 billion a year. But the question remains: clever as this ad is, is this a missed opportunity to go one step further? Could Chanel for example have picked a well-known lesbian as the new face of Chanel, taking the brand’s flagship fragrance into new territory? Brad will get the world talking about Chanel, but the Troy’ star’s face will not be launching any new ships on the horizon.

In parallel to the launch of the pre-Christmas Chanel No. 5 ad, the Saatchi Gallery in London is showcasing an exhibition by photographs of Karl Lagerfeld in collaboration with Madame Vogue, Carine Roitfeld. Personalities such as Lily Allen, Sarah Jessica Parker , Tilda Swinton and Uma Thurman pay tribute to Chanel’s most iconic piece – the little black jacket designed by Coco Chanel – during a show entitled, `The Little Black Jacket` .

`The Little Black Jacket` : Saatchi Gallery, London from Friday 12th October to Sunday 28th October 2012.

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