The new Chanel No. 5 commercial has just been released, on the fifth day of the fifth month, a date set according to Coco Chanel's own superstitious numerology. It stars Audrey Tautou, who looks luminous.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet — who, of course, directed Tautou in the film that made her famous in the Anglophone world, Amélie, and then again in A Very Long Engagement - spent three weeks working on the ad last year. It's got Jeunet's trademark confused sense of time — the Orient Express train Tautou rides with male model Travis Davenport looks positively vintage, with wooden dormer windows and sleeper bunks, but when Tautou takes Davenport's picture on the ferry in Istanbul, it's with a D-SLR — and a nice Billie Holiday soundtrack. If the constant references to the product (especially the moment at night on the train, when the bottle is silhouetted against the wall of Tautou's cabin) are a little hacky, well, it's an ad. As pretty as this little video is, I'm still more excited about seeing Tautou in her other newly released Chanel-related work, the biopic Coco Avant Chanel.
The last face of Chanel No. 5 was Nicole Kidman. Her 2004 ad, shot by Baz Luhrman and co-starring Rodrigo Santoro, is like a beautiful, incomprehensible mash-up of the gaudy easy-money age that has now passed. Kidman was reportedly paid $12 million for it. Tautou's deal, on the other hand, is rumored to have cost Chanel around $4.3 million. Which still ain't bad for less than a month's work.