The Influence Celebrity Plays On Fashion Cultural Studies Essay

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This thesis is about celebrity culture and its relationship with the branding world in relation to fashion. I find it intriguing how we as a society can be so fascinated and influenced by fame and glamour. I want to look at why so many people worship and idolize celebrities and find out why their influence plays such a major part in the lives of the public, and in particular the lives of the young women of today. With this in mind I then wish to delve into the celebrity's relationship with branding and examine if and why a collaboration between the two is incredibly beneficial for both parties and understand how when the two become one entity their power increases greatly.

In order to fully understand the effect celebrity has on branding, I first need to define what a celebrity is and find out how they can influence the views of a society. In Chapter One I observe the culture of the celebrity and investigate why their fashion preferences are as influential as they are. I look at individual celebrities and the effect they have on their audiences and find out why the young women of our day are so consumed by these superstars. I examine the extreme limits people are willing to go to just to resemble their beloved idols and see how the day to day happenings of these celebrities can affect the minds and choices of the public. From imitating celebrities to mourning their loss, we as a society are captivated by them and I want to find out why.

Chapter Two is a discussion of the mutual relationship between the celebrity and the brand. What is a brand? Why are celebrities constantly married with brands to promote them and are these collaborations successful? If so why are they successful? Can the celebrity be considered a brand on their own merits? These are the questions I investigate in order to grasp a better understanding of celebrity endorsements. I look at high status brands such as Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton to see how companies with great success for a long period of time have relied on high status figures to help boost the knowledge and the identity of their company.

Chapter Three studies the influence of celebrity branding even further. Using world renowned fashion label, Chanel, I look deep into their company history, right up to the present day and see how important their relationship with certain celebrities has affected the identity of their brand, both in a positive and a negative way. I show how careful a brand has to be when choosing a celebrity to front their product as it does not always end in the desired way. It is a risk that they need to be willing to make. I make it my duty to prove once and for all if a celebrity's association with a brand really does make a difference.

Chapter 1

The influence celebrity plays on the fashion of young women

They appear to have it all; talent, beauty, power, money, an adoring fan base and a team of stylists and assistants who devote themselves to making them look amazing for any given event. They are everywhere; in magazines, press stories, TV documentaries, interviews, newsletters, movies and ad campaigns to name but a few. They are of course today's celebrities and the influence of their fashion preferences extend far beyond the renowned Red Carpet and this is the concept I intend to explore.

Firstly, to define the term celebrity, the question needs to be asked, what is the difference between a person being well known or famous, to a person being a celebrity? It is true to say we can identify the exact second a public figure becomes a celebrity through the way we, the audience, look at this individual. It occurs at the point in which media interest in their activities is transferred from reporting on their public role (such as their particular success in acting or music) to wanting to know the details of their private lives. There are celebrities such as Paris Hilton (famous socialite) who is primarily famous for being the rich grand-daughter of Barron Hilton and Edie Sedgwick (ill. 1), a model who was associated with such 1960s personalities as Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, is believed to be the subject of two of Dylan's songs. Both of these celebrities have had media attention way out of proportion to their professional achievements. This suggests that we, as a culture, find the lives of these so called celebrities intoxicating. Indeed we are obsessed with who they were last seen with, where they buy their clothes and Illustration 1; Edie Sedgwick and artist Andy Warhol

even what they eat for breakfast. We are fed day by day with the best and worst

dressed personalities dictated to us by the media and we eat it up and ask for more.

With this in mind it would not be absurd to compare our relationship with these personalities to religion. Professor of Sociology and Culture at Britain's Nottingham Trent University and author of celebrity, Chris Rojek describes the likeness to religion as "pretty obvious". He points out that when they were at the pinnacle of their popularity in Britain, The Beatles kept aside the first few rows of their concerts for the handicapped. "The idea was that after the show, The Beatles would come down and touch these people and heal them." You may think this is taking it to the extreme but things like this are

more common than many wish to believe. Perhaps then fame is the new religion, and celebrities our new gods. Maybe John Lennon was onto something when he said that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. After all, throughout history and across cultures, the one constant that remains is that people have always worshipped idols (ill. 2).

Illustration 2; Fans at a Beatles concert

People have a strong fascination with celebrity and it does not end with simple chit-chat about the next celebrity divorce or scandal. It goes much deeper than that. In 2004 MTV brought out a new series entitled 'I Want a Famous Face'. The show featured young adults who undertook plastic surgery with the ambition of looking more like a famous person of their choosing. This programme showed how far some people can be persuaded by the celebrity lifestyle, and it was not only women taking part. Take Mike and Matt for example; these twins were not satisfied with how they looked so they organized surgery to transform themselves to look like their favorite actor Brad Pitt (ill.3). Mike and Matt both get rhinoplasty, chin implants, and porcelain veneers and Mike decided to get cheek implants also. After the surgery Mike is quoted saying 'I knew that if I imitated Brad Pitt's appearance that I knew I would be happy with mine. And the thing is…I am happy with the results. Thanks Brad!!!!'

Illustration 3; Mike and Matt from MTV's 'I Want a Famous Face'

While it is true that most people don't take their interest quite so far, getting the new celeb inspired haircut, borrowing wardrobe tips, and copying the habits of celebrities is a regular occurrence in this day and age. They are the trendsetters of today. According to Francisco Gil-White, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, it makes sense for us to copy high-status individuals from an evolutionary perspective. Throughout the centuries, people with a higher standing have a tendency to reproduce more, so duplicating their methods was a way of improving our own fitness. He continues to state that he believes imitation is one of the smartest and most significant things us humans do.

It would be impossible to disregard this theory as year by year an ever increasing amount of pre-award programming is being shown on our screens, countless reprints of gown and dress photos in the dailies and glossies, along with a new arsenal of celebrity-oriented magazines, back it up. We are shown how the personalities dress and we as consumers are engrossed by this and devour such coverage day in and day out. Why all the fuss? What is it about what they wear that makes it so much more appealing to us than the actual awards? And more to the point, why do we care so much? It is not difficult to see why people can be so easily persuaded by these well known figures. They live a dream life; they seem to have everything anyone could ever possibly want and then some. Why do the simple things such as watching them attempt to dance on ice or showing us their houses on an episode of Cribs interest us so much?

Flowers for Diana. Mourners leave tons of flowers at gates of Kensington Palace at time of Diana's death and funeral

In 'Understanding Celebrity', a book written by Graeme Turner, we learn about the role the celebrity plays in the society we live in. Graeme describes the connection between the two as a para-social relationship. This term is used to refer to the relations of intimacy constructed through the mass media rather than direct experience and face to face meetings. It derives from representations of the person rather than actual physical contact. The most obvious examples of para-social relationships dealt with in the modern media are the popular reactions to the deaths of high profile celebrities - Elvis Presley, John Lennon and most noticeably, Princess Diana whose funeral (ill. 4) gathered a massive crowd of one million mourners. These have been occasions where large numbers of people from all around the world respond to what they think of as 'real' emotional attachments with figures they know only through their time spent in the media eye. This relationship gives the audience a sense of belonging, recognition and meaning in a sometimes otherwise tedious and monotonous life. It is an escape for them to read about Illustration 4; Flowers left by the mourning public for Princess Diana after her death

the latest stories and following the latest trends helps them feel as if they fit in to a more

attractive society. They are fixated weekly on shows such as 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Sex and the City'.

The influences these popular shows alone have had have been astounding. For example, take 'Sex and the City'; a show primarily about the lives of four middle-aged women who live and love in the city of New York. Ever since this show has been in the public eye it has had an impact on the lives of the women who watched it. It clearly represented a lifestyle to which audiences aspire and fashion was a prime focus in it. Picture this: it was 'a Saturday afternoon in Top Shop at Oxford Circus,' writes Deborah Jermyn 'the biggest women's fashion store in the busiest shopping district in London. A thirty something professional woman, usually (relatively) rational, braves the madness in order to hunt down a tweed flat cap, having seen Sarah Jessica Parker (ill. 5) sporting one to great effect in Sex and the City. (She finds one and takes it home, and her boyfriend hates it. She wears it anyway.)' This alone proves the effect this programme has had on women. Fashion was the fifth character in the award winning series that not only grabbed the attention of us, the consumers, but to the fashion media also.

This then brings me to Celebrity branding. If seeing Sarah Jessica Parker wearing that hat in an episode of 'Sex and the City' made that particular woman go out and find one just like it, then you can only dream the effect a celebrity would have with putting their name on a product. Celebrity branding is becoming increasingly more popular, capitalizing on their celebrity to become walking, breathing, multimillion-dollar industries.

Illustration 5; Sarah Jessica Parker appearing on the front cover of a fashion issue of Harpers Bazaar

All these different ideas; celebrity as the next big religion, the para-social relationship, celebrity branding, even looking at the term celebrity itself help with my quest to find out what it is that makes these people so influential and make me want to look further at why the young women of in our day are so consumed by these superstars. In this chapter I have just began to understand what it is about celebrities that influence the people of today and their fashion choices. In the next chapter I plan to obtain a deeper grasp on the para-social relationship and look at some individual cases that help prove my point. I want to zone in on the audience of young women (ageing 15-30) and find out what exactly it is that influences them most, from the latest pop stars, movie stars and TV shows. I plan to have it more fashion focused and get much closer to answering my question.

Chapter 2

"I am not an artist, I am a brand"

What is a brand? A brand is not merely a trademark or a reputation. A brand represents a promise to the customer. It is a complex symbol that represents a variety of ideas and characteristics. As such, it is a bond connecting both the brand and the consumer. It is crucial that the brand keeps its promise of good service and quality to the consumer in order for them to be fulfilled; if not, the consumer will simply rely on another business for any further assistance. It is the sum of all information about a product, a service or a firm that is communicated by its name. The name is also one aspect of the brand that should never change. All other elements can change over time (adidas' famed logo has evolved from the early line to keep it modern{ill. 6 & 7}), but the brand name itself should be left untouched as its use in language offers a universal reference point. This is not to say that brands achieve true visual distinctiveness through their names alone. The distinctive visual of a brand may perhaps be an amalgamation of any of the following: name, letters, numbers, a symbol, a shape, a slogan, a colour, a particular typeface. Everyone knows instantly that a little green crocodile symbolizes a Lacoste (ill. 8) design and that a black prancing stallion on a yellow shield represents the luxurious Ferrari group. Brands like these, and many thousands of others, rely on these individual visual qualities to set them apart from the competition. Maintaining a good consistent image to the consumers is imperative to the signature of the said brand.

Illustrations 6 and 7 (above); these show Adidas' change in logo throughout the years

Illustration 8 (below); famous logo for Lacoste

There is an abundance of variety in the market in recent times. The consumer has an excessive amount of choice which forces companies to offer high quality, excellent value and wide availability. It also puts pressure on them to discover more effective ways of differentiating themselves and securing competitive advantage. In1997 Fortune magazine declared "In the 21st century, branding ultimately will be the only unique differentiator between companies. Brand equity is now a key asset." In essence, every company will need to be as innovative and original as they possibly can be to facilitate the consumers need. These brands must strive to do everything they possibly can to implant their product in to the psyche of the consumer. The intent is to gain the trust of the people that buy into their company and keep this trust. A former CEO of one of the most popular brands in the world, Coca Cola, once said "For 113 years our success has been based on the trust that consumers have in that quality. The trust is sacred to us". It is imperative to live up to the expectations of the consumer so that they associate a pleasant image with the brands identity. This is essential in order for a brand to become successful.

The promotion of branded products started as the modern celebrity culture came of age. In fact, the branding of goods has a great deal in common with the branding of celebrities; power is derived from a high recognition factor. Both are very powerful entities on their own and when they come together they grasp the audience's attention with double the influence. Branding erases the separation between economic and the cultural realms, between marketing and communication. In the new economy, as it is called today, the brand is king, whether person or product. Celebrity moves in from either end, and we - the audience, the fans, the celebrity watchers - become consumers of re-imaged, re-imagined, and re-constructed culture. April Glassborow, senior buyer for international designer collection at Harvey Nichols, recalls 'when Victoria Beckham was photographed in a green satin Chloe dress by the Sunday Times style section, it created a demand. It's not a theory. When a celebrity wears something, it has a direct impact on sales'.

When Giorgio Armani started out, he immediately knew the influence of using celebrities would have for his brand image. He once convinced Lancia (a well- known car company) to paint a fleet of cars in the same shade as his new range of suits, and then enlisted the curvaceous actress Anita Ekberg to break a bottle of champagne over one of them for the cameras. This was only the beginning of his affiliation with the celebrity world; it became a very important part of his marketing strategy. One of his most noted celebrity marketing tactics was when he suited Richard Gere for the 1980 movie American Gigolo (ill. 9). This was arguably the first time a set of clothes had played such a prominent role in a film, almost becoming an extension of the main character. This movie got him the public attention he craved and Armani grew to be one of the most recognized fashion brands of all time.

Illustration 9; Richard Gere in American Gigolo

Since then he has kept his relationship with Hollywood close and Armani has supplied the wardrobe for more than 300 movies including dressing Christian Bale in the new Batman franchise and Clive Owen in the well-received Duplicity. He does not stop with movies, he dresses them for any high profile events, most notably the Oscars and he always ensures that his front row during fashion week is bursting with the world's most beautiful and well known celebrities (ill. 10). This is incredible publicity for him, and he claims that 'Our customers appreciate the association with stardom' Armani's communication chief, Robert Triefus is reported to have stated that 'Certainly, Armani can be considered as having pioneered the link between fashion and Hollywood. His dressing of American Gigolo was a milestone that led to an enduring relationship. It's part of the brand value - our customers appreciate the association with stardom.'

Illustration 10; Cate Blanchette with Giorgio Armani at his Spring/Summer 09 fashion show

Indeed Armani is not the only one availing of this celebrity/brand bond. All the top designers such as Valentino, Prada, Versace, Oscar De La Renta, Stella Mc Cartney and Dior among countless others utilize this at Louis Vuitton. The brand's artistic director, Marc Jacobs, has moved has moved on from using supermodels to pop stars and actresses in its advertising. Louis Vuitton itself, is the ultimate status brand. It manages to combine mass production with a highly aspirational image. It's successful. But why? What advantages does it have over other status brands? Well, firstly, it has been around for over 150 years so it has had the time to build a successful profile. Louis Vuitton began the company creating luggage and travel accessories, which at this time was only affordable to the wealthiest members of society. This would suggest that his brand has an image of instant luxury. It should be noted that over the years travel has become more accessible, and is now, an everyday occurrence that anyone can avail of. Vuitton therefore, began to broaden the business to maintain the lavish façade of the brand. Today, it is the world's largest luxury label, with 13 production workshops, an international logistics center, over 300 exclusive shops in 50 countries and approximately 10,000 employees. Its brand value far exceeds that of Gucci and is over twice that of Prada. This is a massive scale company. Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, (overall company), is the richest man in the fashion industry. Under the direction of Marc Jacobs, its ranges now include clothing, shoes, watches and jewelry. It could be said that this expansion to the brand, unlike other company's attempts, strengthened it. Products bearing the famous LV logo are now desired everywhere, from the boulevards of Paris and the streets of London and New York, to markets such as India and China, where Louis Vuitton is a recognized pioneer.

It is important to note part of this desire is due to celebrity endorsement. Audrey Hepburn was often snapped carrying Louis Vuitton luggage during the height of her fame. And in more recent times, Jennifer Lopez is perhaps the brand's most famous endorser, baring all for a global print media and billboard campaign that began in 2003.

According to Michael Levine, author of 'A Branded World' (2003), Jennifer Lopez is 'the greatest brander in the entertainment industry'. She has triumphed being a pop star, movie star, dancer and she is the chief of a multichanneled brand, which is renowned for its fashion and fragrance line. Lopez's first clothing line was launched in 2003 under the name JLO by Jennifer Lopez. She focused this line around young women, and it included jeans, t-shirts, coats, belts, purses, lingerie, a jewelry line, and an accessory line that included hats, gloves, and scarves. In 2005, she launched a new clothing line called Sweetface, and in late 2007 a new juniors' line called JustSweet. Her fashion lines have featured at many New York Fashion Week events, and gained enormous overnight success. In 2004, her total business operation grossed $300 million. Celebrity branding is becoming increasingly more popular, capitalizing on their celebrity to become walking, breathing, multi-million dollar industries. Her best campaign would have to be when she became the face of Louis Vuitton, for their Winter 2003 collection. By associating herself with the world's most popular luxury brand, she enhanced the aspirational qualities of her own brand identity. The reason Jennifer Lopez has been so successful in marketing products, is because she started out from the bottom. She grew up on the rough streets of the Bronx in the city of New York and made her way up to the top of the celebrity ladder. Her fans have seen her rise and they feel that they can relate to her. They see her as one of

Illustration 11 (left) and illustration 12 (above); Jennifer Lopez

Illustration 13 (below); a shot from Lopez's Louis Vuitton campaign

them, or as she so flawlessly put it in her hit song 'I'm just Jenny from the block'. She proves to them that age old fairy tale of the American Dream, the story of self-confidence and aspiration for the future can come true - and in doing so, the line between her real life and her superstar persona was distorted. Her fans always know a lot about her, but they are always eager to learn more. As a role model for young women she is an astoundingly influential brand, as people who buy J-Lo jeans or wear her perfume are also buying into the Jennifer Lopez story itself. The likelihood is that they themselves may never get the chance to live their superstar dreams, but by buying her products they can feel like they share a small piece of her success even as they stimulate it. This is one of the main reasons why celebrity branding is so successful. It makes the everyday run of the mill person fit into this fantasy world, even if it is for the shortest of time.

Chapter 3

Chanel and its important relationship with celebrity

Illustration 14; Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel

On the 19th of August in the year of 1883 a young woman by the name of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (later to be better known as Coco Chanel) was born into the world. Chanel grew to become one of the most recognized and celebrated fashion designers of all time. The fashion powerhouse of Chanel was introduced in 1909, when the first shop was opened in Paris by Chanel herself. She initiated and popularized new designs and revolutionized the fashion world by going back to basics - which highlighted elegance, class, and originality. From humble beginnings on the ground floor of the Balsan home, the shop soon moved to the Rue Cambon in Paris. In 1957 the fashion world applauded her as the 'most influential designer of the twentieth century'. She died on January the 10th, 1971 but to this day her legacy lives on. Chanel, now under the helms of Karl Largerfeld, is as popular as it has ever been. It never strays away from the saying that fashion comes and goes but style lasts forever or as Coco better put it herself "Fashion passes. Style remains." If Coco Chanel wanted anything it was for her style to live on "Let my legend make its way in life. I wish it a long one" and her dream has come true. Her designs have made a lasting impression on the fashion industry. She invented the famous little black dress, the black-toed flat shoe, tweed, the quilted bag with its golden chain handles and the Chanel suit with braid edges to name but a few. With Headquarters based in Paris, her legacy continues in over 200 Chanel boutiques worldwide. The locations are found in upscale shopping districts, upscale department stores and malls, and inside major airports.

As Coco Chanel famously stated "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." It is a memorable quote from an extremely memorable figure in fashion. Individuality and identity are what successful brands strive for. They need to be recognized and they more importantly need to stand out in the crowd for the consumers to favor them over their rivals. Chanel always had this in mind and knew that using celebrities to play themselves in advertising is a very effective technique and one that would help to create a brand identity for her and ultimately sell her designs. She recognized that people associate with these celebrities and when related to the product it conjures up even more images of luxury for them. She recognized that the chosen celebrity would relate to them in a more personal way as they feel they know more about the celebrity.

Illustration 15; Audrey Hepburn

Chanel was also aware that the type of celebrity that would promote the brand needed to be chosen carefully. Whomever she worked with would need to give the company a positive image and share and exude the values and timeless elegance of the Chanel brand. Coco Chanel devoted a substantial amount of her time collaborating with an assortment of Hollywood studios in order to get herself and her brand recognized. During the 1950's and 1960's, Chanel clothed many high status celebrities including Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. This was the time that Chanel took flight and finally began to be accepted as fashionable. America, in particular, welcomed the fresh, new designs of this ever-growing company. When a popular personality wore a garment from the Chanel closet it was a walking advertisement for the brand. This intimate bond with celebrities boosted the profile of the company and without it, the business would not be the accomplished brand it is today. For example the use of dressing Audrey Hepburn did absolute wonders for the brand. When people think of Audrey Hepburn, even to this day, they think of a little black dress and a beautiful white pearl necklace. Hepburn's incredible sense of style still lives on in women all over the globe. The simplicity, the men's inspired clothing, and the femininity has left an imprint in the world of fashion and to this day is still an extremely important staple in the designs of Chanel. It aided in conveying the classic timeless look that Chanel is so well renowned for. This celebrity bond created all those many years ago never ceased even when Karl Largerfeld took over the company in 1983.

In more recent times Chanel has used famous figures such as Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss, Vanessa Paradis and Keira Knightley who all capture the essence of Chanel and exude the elegance and class that the brand is famed for. The latest addition to the Chanel club however has been received with mixed reviews from fashion critics and customers alike. Karl Largerfeld handpicked pop star Lily Allen to promote the new Coco Cocoon handbag collection, which hit the stores on October 3rd 2009. Allen is of course a very well known figure to the public for the past few years. Daughter to celebrated British actor and musician Keith Allen, she has had a successful music career but is acknowledged more often however for her shocking behavior. In the past we have seen pictures of her topless in St.Tropez, punching and kicking paparazzi, walking the streets in her pajamas, being thrown out of an award show due to her drunken behavior and seen her with rebellious bright pink hair. Chanel and Allen seem like such an unlikely pair; she is not the usual, polished role model that the company usually works with but perhaps that is the point. Perhaps Largerfeld wants to shake things up a bit and inject a bit more fun

Illustration 16 and 17 (above); Lily Allen and her famously bad behavior

Illustration 18 (below); Lily Allen in the latest Chanel campaign

and youth into the brand. Largerfeld had this to say of his new muse "I love Lily Allen. She looks a lot like Gabrielle Chanel and she is a self-made woman. She is cool, young and extremely witty. Photographing her for this advertising campaign was fantastic fun. She is extremely inspiring and is completely taken with the bags - with her typical English reserve!" Many people believe making Lily Allen the face of the internationally acclaimed label is enough to make Coco herself turn in her grave but maybe Lagerfeld is only doing what he feels is need to keep the brand alive. Gabrielle Chanel was notorious for keeping with the times but never losing her unique vision and classic style. Perhaps Lagerfeld believes the only way to get ahead and survive in this difficult climate is to shock the public to get a bit more attention and coverage for his label. It has without doubt got people talking and debating about it which in itself has advertised the brand. I have no suspicion that Lagerfeld was oblivious to the curiosity people would ultimately have about his out of the ordinary choice. I am positive he was fully aware of the outrage it would cause and more importantly the media frenzy it would create. As Oscar Wilde famously put it "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about".

Celebrity endorsements, however, do not always go as well as initially planned. In 2004 Kate Moss signed on to work on a new campaign with Chanel. It was a promising campaign, pairing up a hugely successful, famous and loved supermodel with a fashion. Surely it was to be a match made in heaven. Kate was the perfect choice for the label and

Illustration (19); Kate Moss during her time as the face of Chanel

Illustration 20; a newspaper front page during the time of Kate Moss' drug scandal

the campaign was a truly strong one, at least until Kate's personal life took a turn for the worse. On September the 15th of 2005 the British Daily Mirror ran a major front page story on the beloved model. They showed photos of Moss that looked as though she was consuming several lines of the class A drug cocaine at her boyfriend of the time, Pete Doherty's, recording session in London. These photos were major news the very second they hit the stands and the story caught on like wild fire. From that moment Moss' many endorsement deals with companies began to drop her like flies. Just days after the scandal was released to the public eye Chanel revealed that they would not be renewing her contract that month as previously planned after just under a year of working together. Companies like Chanel do not want their main representation to be that of a drug taker. No one wants that kind of bad press on their hands with the fear that the public would boycott the brand. They certainly do not want to be seen to condone this kind of behavior. Chanel really did not have much of a choice but to cease work with Kate Moss even though she did an outstanding job with the modeling that she did for them. In the end it is not down to the modeling alone, role modeling had a major part to play. It was all down to her personal life. The images people would generate after the scandal would be a world apart from the images of elegance and sophistication that it oozed of previously. Kate Moss has only been a blip in the middle of a whole line of exceptional campaigns Chanel has run with celebrities.

Illustration 21; Nicole Kidman as the face of Chanel

The company teamed up with Nicole Kidman (ill. ) (she was the next spoksesmodel after Kate Moss, seen to be her replacement) for a 180 second film advertisement. This mini movie was the most expensive commercial ever made in the history of the world with the estimated cost of production at an astounding 18 million pounds. It was directed by Baz Luherman, the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliette and took months to complete. In this, Chanel wanted to do something new to grab the attention of the viewer and push the boundaries of advertising. They pulled out all the stops and it proved to have paid off when the sales figures soared up by 30% after the advert was initially released

Out of all the famous faces the company has merged with throughout the years I think the brands recent work with Audrey Tatou (ill. ) really excels. She is a perfect fit and she truly embodies the aesthetic of Chanel. Audrey was the obvious choice as she played the part of Coco Chanel in the new movie entitled "Coco Avant Chanel" (ill. ). Audrey bares a striking resemblance to Ms. Chanel herself in both mind and body. Choosing her for the new campaign has been really successful for Chanel as it is almost as if they got double the coverage with her being in the movie too (which was not made in conjunction with the brand itself). Also Tatou's honesty in her acting truly speaks to the consumers and relates to them very personally. She is well known for never accepting a role unless she really believes in it, she herself has to love what she sells "I needed to have a connection with the product" and this in itself has won over many people as they trust her judgment. Also this campaign is very true to the times. The chief operating officer and president for Chanel Incorporated, John Galantic, said of the advert "The spirit of this film is right for the times in which we are living. We believe this film is good timing not only for us but also for the market and the retailers. No.5 conveys authenticity and that reassures the

customer; we're adding newness without adding sku's, and we have consistently seen a bump - not only in our own fragrance sales but the overall market's - with campaigns like this one". It is clear that the celebrity relationships with the company in reality actually do make a difference.

A century has now passed from the unveiling of the first Chanel shop opened by Coco Chanel herself. Throughout these many years, Chanel has taken risks with advertising and it has most definitely worked for them. Although there have been times where the companies decisions have been questionable in relation to their spokes-models, the overall result is one of great success. Their affiliation with celebrity has certainly paid off. There are not many brands out there at the moment that have been around as long as this one, or that have always kept their image up to date with every moment in time. Chanel, to this day is one of the most recognized labels throughout the world and also one of the best selling. It goes to show that the right face will, indeed, sell a million bottles.


The persuasiveness of the celebrity cannot be ignored in the society we live in today. The famous no longer live in the little box that is Hollywood, only to be seen when promoting a new movie they star in or TV show they have played a part in. No, these days they are everywhere. We as a public are surrounded by them, from the little things they do every day to their wider beliefs and theories. It would be impossible not to be in some way influenced by them. We are existing in a day and age in which the public are obsessed with celebrities, so much so that the current Governor of the state of California is legendary body builder and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. When asked about his decision to run for the position Schwarzenegger stated "It was the most difficult decision in my life - except the one in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax". Realistically, if Schwarzenegger was not as famous as he is now, would he have been voted in to such an important role? I very much doubt it.

In 2008 during President Obama's campaign to victory he was endorsed by countless amounts of celebrities, ranging from A-list Hollywood actors to some of the richest men and women on the planet. These high status figures voiced their opinions and did all that they possibly could to sway the opinions of the public. Barack Obama held a concert in Los Angeles during the run up to the presidential elections which included Jessica Biel, Taye Diggs, Jermaine Dupri, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Kiedis, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Scherzinger; and to name but a few. Why would he host this concert, which cost a lot of time and money to organize, if he thought that it would not make a difference?

I leave you with this final thought; before rapper Jerrell Jones (now known as J-Kwon) made it to the big time, he got a tattoo of a bar code stamped on his forearm. When Jones was asked what the significance of this was in an interview he answered "I got the bar code because I knew that someday I'd be a product" and then continued "I knew they were going to sell me".