From Perfume to Pitt: The inside story of Chanel No. 5

Inside Chanel, Chanel, No. 5, Brad Pitt, documentary, digital archive

Most “fashion films” have the innate capacity of boring me to sleep within 30 seconds. But Chanel’s new mini-documentary on No. 5 is a wonderful surprise. This is no puff piece with pompous narratives, models who can’t act and vanity filmmaking. Instead, what you get are a series of rare, historical images that have been carefully curated, spliced together and animated in an incredibly engaging manner that makes you linger on until the very end. Now, I am looking forward to the rest of the Inside Chanel film series!

Unfortunately, what I am not all that excited about is seeing Brad Pitt romance a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Most people think I am crazy – Chanel, No. 5, Brad Pitt… what else could a woman want? But somehow the whole thing leaves me cold. I like my perfume ads seductive, sultry, feminine, haunting and pretty. I want to live in the hope (however illusory) that they will make me feel beautiful and sexy and confident and intriguing and exotic and mysterious – from the inside out. I usually don’t want to wear a perfume just because a man tells me so. I want to wear it because the woman inside me likes it! Audrey Tatou, Vanessa Paradis, even Marilyn Monroe… all them made for gorgeous altar egos. Brad Pitt, not so much.

Anyway, a bit of the details: Mr. Brangelina will feature in a short fragrance film directed by Joe Wright, whose impressive oeuvre includes Anna Karenina and Pride & Prejudice. He will be shown reciting poetry to an unknown subject who will turn out to be (spoiler alert!) – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Because, as we all know, a perfume like this one needs to be seduced out of its bottle and onto your skin. It must be coddled and cooed, given promises and compliments… in short, it needs an ode in the dulcet tones of Brad Pitt to emerge from its cocoon. As a teaser, Chanel has just dropped an 8-second video with the tantalising message: “As we count the days until October 15, let’s hear the first words from the first No. 5 man.” Yes, Brad Pitt SPEAKS! Oh Chanel, what a tease!

Inside Chanel, Chanel, No. 5, Brad Pitt, documentary, digital archive

Then there is this black-and-white image (above) that appeared in WWDfeaturing Brad with Joe Wright, looking suitably wistful. It’s rumoured that the stills have been photographed by Mario Sorrenti though I would think Mr. Lagerfeld himself would have wanted to field the camera for this one. Oh! And in case you are wondering about how much does it cost to bag Brad – according to WWD, Chanel spent approximately $5 million for his services and over $8 million on US advertising alone. Ooh la la!

Take a look at the snippet and tell me whether Mr. Pitt can entice you to buy a bottle of No. 5?

UPDATE: Yesterday night, I had THREE men (including MR. TBG) tell me about how Chanel No. 5 now also had a “men’s version”. I kept wondering what breaking news I was missing out on, till realisation hit that they had seen snatches of the Brad Pitt campaign and deduced this meant Chanel No. 5 had gone “homme”! Pretty sure that is not what the brand wanted but maybe they should do a test run on the unintentional message that’s going out!


  1. I definitely want my boyfriend or future husband to love the way I smell, but I’m with you on choosing a scent because it is right for me in how it mixes with my natural bodily chemicals and how it makes me feel, not because a handsome man has advertised it.

    1. My point, exactly! My husband simply can’t stand the smell of Chanel Allure Sensuelle for some reason, so I don’t wear it when he is around. But on the other hand, I would never stick to just what he likes either. A perfume has to work for me first, before it reaches out to anybody else.

  2. i absolutly agree whilst i love mr. pitt, i like to invoke a feeling with my fragrance, i wear something i want to exude, having brad in the advert is like skipping a step in the process. i know as well as any woman a spray of fragrance does not magically make hotties appear, it makes you feel sexy, independent and confidant enough to go out and nab one for yourself. this advert shows that chanel has also skipped a step, feminism.

  3. Oh! when we spoke about Brad Pitt as the new face I had assumed that Chanel is coming up with a Homme version too. I mean ofcourse this is minus having seen any adverts but that was somehow the instant thought in my mind

    1. Even after seeing clips of the ad, that’s what I thought! Someone at Chanel clearly needs to look at the message being sent out!

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