UPDATE: Hearst, the publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, tells Adweek that this film was produced as editorial content, not branded content. Original story below.
Brands like Kate Spade New York have brought a welcome warmth to the coldness of high-fashion advertising lately with charmingly quirky (and product-filled) comedic films. Now, Harper’s Bazaar has published a new short film featuring a Chanel bag—a film that explores the apparently complicated role that an expensive handbag can play in a female friendship.
Station Film’s Irish-born, Brooklyn-based director Lena Beug made the 2:30 film, which starts out squarely in mid-crisis, as we see our heroine (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) grieving over the loss of “Gabrielle.” What ensues is a perhaps predictable but still entertaining tale of friendship and betrayal.
These kinds of films succeed best when they’re both aspirational and relatable—as in this one, where women can afford buying each other $3,600 handbags yet still fight over them. (By the same token, the idea that a Chanel Gabrielle bag could be more valuable than a friendship could be considered both hyperbole and yet possibly true.)
What’s undeniable is the charm of storytelling liberated from the hard sell, and from the stilted affectations of high-fashion TV spots.
“This is storytelling outside the confines of the 30-second spot, and really it’s just supposed to entertain,” said Beug. “The brief was minimal, and I loved having the freedom to shape the story and the narrative. Working with Annabelle Dexter-Jones was a total pleasure. She’s such an accomplished actress, the camera loves her and she brought the perfect amount of naughtiness to the role.”
“Lena’s ability to successfully merge high fashion and humor made this project different from anything I have ever edited,” added Cutting Room’s Chris Hellman. “This unique combination is what gives the piece so much sexiness and sass.”
Directed By: Lena Beug
Produced By: Harper’s Bazaar
Executive Producers: Laura Gherardi, Anna Jimenez and Thomas Beckner
In Association With: Station Film
Executive Producers: Stephen Orent, Caroline Gibney, Michelle Towse
Fashion Director: Kerry Pieri
Director of Photography: Joe Desalvo
Edit By: The Cutting Room
Editor: Chris Hellman
Sound Mixer: Walter Bianco
Managing Partner: Susan Willis
Post Producer: Lisa Starace
Starring: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Keilani Asmus and the Chanel Gabrielle Bag ($3,600)