Chanel’s Galmorous Commercials

February 4, 2012


It’s common knowledge only French have the chic to elevate mere fashion to epitomic art, enhancing the pith of a plain fabric to its full potential of divine clothing which oozes sophistication through simplicity, and who could represent this natural flair better than Chanel?

For almost a century, the house founded by Coco in 1910 aggrandized the heritage of haute couture, making it a public delight and a genuine style-idol worldwide,  thing projected not just in Karl Largerfeld’s shows but also in the commercials for No. 5 or Mademoiselle I consider the most elegant of all. Mainly because they promote a perfume and particularly because of the French touch, the No. 5 advertisements have a certain atmosphere of a posh intensity, always luxurious and as sensuous as the fragrance they evoke. Short, indeed, yet amazingly substantial.

No. 5

Since 1921, when it was given as Christmas gift to best costumers, the elite of society,  No. 5 remained firm on its position: Earth’s most famous scent, archetype of fineness embottled in an expensive crystal recipient reassembling a whiskey decanter. Slogans developed to describe its power sound like “every woman alive loves Chanel No. 5” or “Chanel becomes the woman you are” and contain subliminal messages of striking quality, followed by pictures which call upon the aesthetic proclivity of the customer.



In the next picture, with model Suzy Parker as the Chanel femme (because the women presenting it tend to be of Bond girl’s type), it’s explained that the perfume’s chemical composition was developed especially to blend with one’s “own delicate essence”. It “becomes you because it becomes you”, a play of words with double meaning underlines it.


In 1950, Marylin Monroe took the liberty of promoting No. 5 voluntarily, increasing its celebrity over the Ocean. When asked by a curious interviewer what she wore to bed (wonder what answer he expected…) , the controverted actress and sex-symbol retorted provocatively: “five drops of Chanel No. 5!”

Marylin and Chanel

Afterwords, the signature fragrance’s appearance in pretentious magazines like  Elle significantly amplified, more and more public figures considering a sign of wealth, of welcomed refinement, to put on No. 5. It soon became synonym with voguish.


Now that we passed the introduction we get to the fun part: contemporary TV adverts, modish and of undoubted quality.


Parisian belle  Catherine Deneuve introduces No. 5 as “one of the pleasures of being a woman”, mostly speaking about it in her French accent whose charm she augments through luring gestures. Brief and clear, that’s how we can summarize it.

Catherine Deneuve by Chanel

Chanel and Vanessa Paradis

Vanessa Paradis, here posing like in Ingres’ “the Source”, was the 1992 image of Chanel and the spot, depicting her as a caged bird in Mademoiselle Gabrielle’s Ritz suite, was quite gripping and ingenious. The chromatic selection was basically simple, concentrating on a lustrous black, very Coco otherwise and evidently smart.

Vanessa Paradis by Chanel

Nicole Kidman by Chanel

But truly inventive was the 2004 Chanel “film”, starring Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro on the celestial music of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune“: a concentrated love story between a superstar and one ordinary man who saves her from paparazzi in a tornado of pink feathers, takes her to his peaceful penthouse and is forced to let her go when she’s demanded back. Profound, accelerated, beautiful, colors contrastingly rising from the fluid darkness which deepens the sentiments and contours a classy ambiance. The final scene, with Kidman walking on the red carpet in a black dress, compresses the spirit of Chanel: select, sinuous melancholy.

Nicole Kidman by Chanel

Audrey Tatou by Chanel

After playing Gabrielle in “Coco avant Chanel” movie, Audrey Tatou was elected to be the new representative for No. 5, filming a commercial  directed like a tale of love at first sight, an instant seduction in the Orient Express, charged with feeling galore and flaming as no other before. The spectrum of tints brightened, adding a lush sensation, but the timeless purity of the clothes’ lines remained unaltered.

Audrey Tatou by Chanel

Chanel No. 5

The last Chanel ad has Estella Warren as Little Red Riding Hood entering a golden safe with a stash of  No. 5 bottles from which she takes one, anointing herself with the perfume and thus being able to control the wolf threatening to eat her. Concise, original, flirtatious; a slight modification in the manner of filming.

Estella Warren by Chanel

Coco Mademoiselle

For the younger fans of No.5, Chanel introduced a modern version of the famous fragrance, “Coco Mademoiselle”, whose spokesmodels are Kate Moss and Keira Knighltey.

Kate Moss by Chanel

A year ago, the Coco Mademoiselle commercial with Knightley was broadcast on TV, in two variants.

Keira by Chanel

One shows Keira as a femme fatale, playful and alluring, misleading the photographer in charge with her pictorial only to abandon him when was fully seduced.  The theme color is cream, the shade of affluence, and her apparition on assorted motorbike screams novelty, being extremely fresh with a tiny bit of vintage.

Keira Knightley By Chanel

Keira, by Chanel

The second is rather fancy, in the typical Parisian landscape, with Keira undressing a masculine shirt (allusion to Gabrielle’s habit of borrowing some of her lover’s clothes) and throwing a flapper hat to dress in a red gown scented with Chanel, while Joss Stone sings “L.O.V.E.”  in the background.  Here we see once more the high-class of Chanel company: a mixture of old and new, an undying high-class.

Keira Knightley by Chanel

Watching these most glamorous commercials, can you refrain to wonder what will be next?


2 Responses to “Chanel’s Galmorous Commercials”

  1. Solipsism Dreams Says:

    nicole kidman’s chanel commercial was my favourite!

    Loretta xx

  2. […] Today I was browsing through some charming old magazines which have mysteriously piled up near my desk the past few years when I found this incredibly ingenious and obviously purely French pictorial of Yves Saint Laurent Rives Gauche (meaning “for men” branch of the exquisite fashion house) from 1998, proposing an artsy way to broadcast the then newest (and implicitly hottest) winter collection, something exclusively the Parisian designers could come up with (if we remember the Chanel parfume commercial with sensuous Vanessa Paradis posing as one of Ingres’ girls). […]

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