Pitt mystifies, splits fashion world as first male face of Chanel No. 5
By Piya Sinha-Roy, Reuters
October 17, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
LOS ANGELES--Brad Pitt made his debut as the first male face of Chanel's iconic No. 5 fragrance on Monday, in an ad campaign that had fans and fashionistas split on the actor's latest role.
Pitt, 48, is seen with long hair and dressed casually, looking wistfully into the camera in an enigmatic black-and-white video directed by “Atonement” filmmaker Joe Wright.
“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,” the “Moneyball” actor says.
The video is part of a US$10 million advertising campaign for which Pitt was paid US$7 million, according to Women's Wear Daily.
Time magazine's Erik Hayden called the ad “nonsensical,” saying Pitt's “vaguely existential monologue ... sounds like it could plausibly have been discarded narration from the trailer for Terrence Malick's (film) 'Tree of Life.'”
Us Weekly's Zach Johnson called the video “sensual,” while Vanity Fair's Amy Fine Collins said the choice to cast Pitt as spokesperson showed the French fashion house “subtly circling back to its gender-twisting origins.”
Pitt is the first male spokesperson for women's fragrance Chanel No. 5, the first perfume launched by legendary French designer Coco Chanel in 1921. In a statement from Chanel, the actor called the fragrance “revolutionary.”
“No. 5 has always been the most iconic women's fragrance,” Pitt said. “That's what I see being the appeal of this campaign; it goes beyond the abstract of emotion or beauty to evoke what is timeless: a woman's spirit.”
Chanel No. 5 has been represented by actresses Audrey Tatou, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Deneuve in the past. It has also been linked with screen icon Marilyn Monroe after she famously said the fragrance was all she wore to bed.
On Twitter and YouTube, some fans noted the somewhat ironic coincidence of the campaign's release tying in with the 13th anniversary of “Fight Club,” in which Pitt played a consumerism-hating salesman.
While the video for Chanel No.5 had generated more than 3,000 “likes” on YouTube within the first 24 hours, it also has 850 “dislikes,” with some commenters saying they believe the ad did not represent the fragrance.
Harper's Bazaar editor-at-large Derek Blasberg said on Twitter: “I've watched Brad Pitt's Chanel No.5 commercial, oh, about 17 times today. I still don't know how I feel about it.”
Another Twitter user, Aime Rogers, said, “WHAT were they thinking?? So strange.”
YouTube user BabyHippo26, said “So pretentious!!! Why does he look so sad and serious ... I have been a long-time consumer of Chanel No.5 and Chanel products. This commercial has turned me off so much, I won't be buying No.5 again!”
Other fans, however, were mesmerized by the Hollywood star.
User Medusafern posted on YouTube: “it's his VOICE, that VOICE, Jesus, it's like one sweet drop of liquid angel I shall savor on my weary lips.”
Twitter user Liz Lyons simply said, “I love love love Brad Pitt for Chanel no.5.”