Written by: Catherine Wolinski
When you hear the name Chanel, certainly qualities come to mind. Glamour. Style. Class. It is a reaction the brand strives for, and has achieved over the last half century. Known for its elegant clothing line, fragrances, and luxury timepieces, Chanel has maintained its image of poise and panache by utilizing a continuing, incredibly successful ad campaign—the spokesmodel.
The fashionable trend began in the 1950s with Marilyn Monroe, the woman who brought the Chanel name to fame. Modeling for Chanel No.5 early in her booming career, Monroe is pictured splashing herself with the perfume—and the advertisement splashed the world. Skip forward a few decades, and the more recent faces of the brand included Ines de la Fressange, a French model and designer, Catherine Deneuve, a French actress, and VanessaParadis, a French singer. At the turn of the century, Chanel looked to Hollywood, hiring the famed Australian actress Nicole Kidman as the new No.5 spokesmodel in the early 2000s. Today, magazines are graced with the two more foreign yet familiar faces of actresses Keira Knightley, spokesmodel for Coco Mademoiselle hailing from England, and Audrey Tautou, French actress and the newest No.5 gal.
Claimed by Forbes magazine to be the highest paid actress in Hollywood in 2008, as well as the sexiest woman in the world by For Him Magazine in 2006, Knightley certainly fits the qualifications of a powerful yet feminine sex symbol to keep in line with Chanel’s previous spokeswomen. Likewise, Tautou, who has starred in cult classics like Amelie as well as Hollywood blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code, is an appropriate emblem for the famed Chanel No.5. Taking her representation of the brand a step further, Tautou even depicted Gabriel “Coco” Chanel herself in the 2009 film Coco Avant Chanel, or “Coco Before Chanel,” the biographical film of Chanel, the woman’s, life.