Ad of the Day: Pharrell Stars in a Musical Fantasy Drawn From Chanel’s History

A short film rich in details, from Karl Lagerfeld

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

This week, a select group of international jet-setters has descended upon Salzburg, Austria, to attend Chanel's pre-fall 2015 Métiers d’Art fashion show, which takes place today at an 18th century palace now called the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron.

For the rest of us, the brand's legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld has created Reincarnation, a short film that stars Pharrell and supermodel Cara Delevingne as a pair of waltzing (and singing) Austrian royals.

Reincarnation is both a Cinderella fantasy and a lesson in the history of Chanel. The film opens at a hotel in Salzburg, where Delevingne plays a mischievous barmaid and Pharrell portrays a bellhop, both of whom also happen to bear striking resemblances to the portraits of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi") adorning the walls of the hotel dining room. (In case you're curious, the two royals actually looked like this and this, respectively.)

Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie), reprising her role as Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel from last year’s Métiers d’Art film, enters as a hotel guest. Chanel-philes will also note appearances by Lagerfeld favorites Anna Mouglalis, Jamie Bochert and Baptiste Giabiconi.

Late that night, after the guests have retired to their rooms, Pharrell and Delevingne reappear, now transformed into the emperor and empress from the paintings. The pair waltzes together while singing  “CC the World,” a song written by Pharrell specifically for the film.

The next morning, the fantasy has ended. Coco Chanel returns to the lobby to depart the hotel, but stops to ask Pharrell the bellhop about his collarless jacket with bold black trimming. "They only made it for me," he says, to which Chanel replies, "Well I am going to make it for me."

In reality, Chanel did visit a hotel in Salzburg in 1936 where the elevator attendants wore similar jackets. Years later, she drew inspiration from those uniforms while designing the jacket of the Chanel suit. Thus, an iconic garment was born.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: December 2, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT