What is the new Chanel N°5 film trying to tell us?
A fragrance so iconic that it sparks a new iteration every few years, Chanel N°5 has done much to define (or at least, parallel) the rise of the modern woman since its inception over a century ago. From Marilyn Monroe to a height-of-her-career Nicole Kidman, Chanel N°5’s campaign stars have reflected everything from sexuality to elegance. With today’s release of Baz Luhrmann’s second film for the fragrance, Chanel enters a new zone: the earthy, motherly (actually, it’s quite GOOP-y) realm of Gisele Bündchen. Gorgeous, at the top of her game and with a perfect family to match, the 34-year-old top model is a natural fit.
The 3-minute long film begs the question: can today’s woman have it all? In Luhrmann’s signature style, its narrative reveals itself quite circuitously, through sumptuous details and visual references to many of Chanel’s statement pieces (cue Chanel surfboard, Chanel graffiti backpack, Chanel couture sneakers). These statement pieces mirror Bündchen’s other possessions: a child, a career, the ability to ride a killer wave and a lover who feels overshadowed by all of the above. Mid-film, he leaves her with a note “to my heart I must be true,” at which point he’s shown running to the side of a male crooner which begs yet another question—is he gay? Before answering that, the film shows Bündchen casting aside her career in favour of primping by the mirror and rushing to find her now-ambiguous lover, who takes her back into his arms immediately.
As with any Luhrmann spectacular, the prize is always love. And in the case of Chanel N°5, we guess it really doesn’t matter what kind of love that is.