Chanel’s photo booth campaign for Fall 2011 is taking shape. Freja Beha Erichsen stars solo in a dramatic departure for Chanel, lensed by Karl Lagerfeld but styled by Carine Roitfeld.
I held my breath and my tongue when I saw the catsuit photo, preferring to look at the images more holistically than others who were fast on the trigger. Reality is also that young Asian women — a core Chanel brand shopper — are crazy about both photo booths and cats. French women always have more of an indie spirit.
Let’s not get out the shotgun just yet.
My young friend Feanne — just graduated from university in Manila — took these very provocative photo of herself and her cat, which I used in a 2008 essay Everyday Erotic: Young Women Embrace Nudity in Pictures As Beautiful Not Pornographic. At the time Feanne was the top blogger on Ffffound.com. She amplified the New Eroticism discussion with her own response.
Looking at these images as a group, I believe that Roitfeld’s influence on Chanel is a good one.
Women Have Feelings
It’s no secret that I loathed the Spring 2011 campaign. The lack of any personality, intimacy or even human connection between Freja and Baptiste reminds me of last weekend’s Monte Carlo wedding between Prince Albert and Charlene Whittstock.
The alleged three-time attempt ‘runaway bride’ was not one of the happier brides we’ve seen — while Prince Albert is pure stoicism and lack of emotion.
Appearances mean everything, and who cares that earlier in the week Albert was forced to deal with yet another paternity test (smart men DO wear condoms) and the mother of child #3 is ready to tell all any day.
An agreement was reached at the last minute, writes the French press, and the show went on in Monaco. Note that the authorities had confiscated Whittstock’s passport, just in case. Reports are that the deal is struck around term limits — the five years that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have been together.
The Spring 2011 Chanel campaign comes from this world of duty, obligation, intellectualism and lineage. This is the brand identity that Lagerfeld on his own has created for Chanel, even though Coco Chanel was focused on liberating women.
Roitfeld tries to free Chanel’s Charlenes — the women of every age who buy the product.
She can’t go very sexy because that’s not the Chanel brand DNA. Chanel is like Ralph Lauren. Everything is about appearances and having a magical, aristocratic life.
With this first campaign, my girl Carine Roitfeld gives Chanel a shot of adrenalin that is fed from the bottom up, not top down as Lagerfeld himself prefers to do it. Both the cats and photo booth concept come from the young women and not Lagerfeld. They are FUN! They are WHIMSICAL! They are not DOUR!
I say let’s give Carine Roitfeld some room here. This new look is far more interesting and with personality for Chanel. It’s attuned to the young women — and older ones, too — who are tomorrow’s Chanel customer. I love the small hints of female sexuality that Roitfeld injects into the brand.
It’s to Lagerfeld’s credit that he’s given Carine a bit of freedom in the campaign, although I believe Roitfeld is headed high in her new life, with or without him. She may be the only person on the planet that Lagerfeld would trust to give Chanel a facelift and position it for the future. Anne