Since first signing on as the face of Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle fragrance in 2007, Keira Knightley has become firmly ensconced within Karl Lagerfeld's pantheon of waifish muses, a group that also counts Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss and Vanessa Paradis among its members. (Clearly, Lagerfeld has a type.) In addition to the ubiquitous print ads, Knightley has starred in numerous short films for the fragrance over the years, including this new one, called "She's Not There."
Directed by Joe Wright, a longtime Knightley (and Chanel) collaborator who directed the actress in Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and Anna Karenina, the minute-long spot puts a slightly mod, 007-ish spin on the usual boy-meets-girl perfume ad narrative.
Set to the Zombies' 1965 song "She's Not There," it tells the story of a dashingly besuited young man (played by Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky) who catches the eye of a mysterious coquette (Knightley, natch) at a very stylish party. The woman, who has the distinction of being the only person wearing white among a sea of Little Black Dresses, as well as the inexplicable gift of teleportation, plays a game of cat and mouse with her would-be suitor, dropping a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle as her glass slipper before magically disappearing in a burst of sparkles. (Aren't fragrance ads fun?)
At some indeterminate point in the future, the man, while walking over a bridge at sunset, sees a boat speeding down the Seine. And wouldn't you know it, the driver is the object of his affection, dressed in an oh-so-Coco black-and-white ensemble. They make smoldering eye contact, and—fin.
While the story raises quite a few questions (why on earth would Knightley's character bother owning a boat when she can teleport?), "She's Not There" certainly succeeds within the absurd boundaries of fragrance films. (Wright, it's worth nothing, also directed Brad Pitt's much-parodied Chanel No. 5 ads.)
It's visually stunning. It has a catchy soundtrack. And it briefly convinces you that buying a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle might give you a fraction of a molecule of Knightley's chicness. (Spoiler alert: It won't.)
Client: Chanel/Coco Mademoiselle
Director: Joe Wright