Karl Lagerfeld and Kristen Stewart at a Chanel show in 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Karl Lagerfeld makes films, not commercials.
The designer will direct Kristen Stewart, who has appeared in previous campaigns for the brand and can sometimes be coaxed to sit in the front row of a fashion show, in a short film—not a commercial—for Chanel.
Filming took place in Paris over two days at Taken and Lucy movie director Luc Besson’s studio. According to WWD, the plot will be a “fictional, behind-the-scenes look at a yet-to-be-made biopic about founder Gabrielle Chanel.”
Stewart will portray an actress impersonating Gabrielle Chanel at a young age, while Geraldine Chaplin, who has played the character in previous vignettes for the French fashion house, will serve in the same role just middle-aged. Lagerfeld himself will be pictured as well.
Kristen Stewart in Chanel’s 2015 eyewear campaign.
“She played it really, really mean,” Lagerfeld said of Stewart’s work. “You only see her in tests and she’s complaining about everything. She’s mean with the director; mean with the producer.” The piece will debut in Rome at the next Métiers d’Arts show, and will also feature Harper’s Bazaar editor Laura Brown as—far stretch here—an American journalist. “They make so many movies about Chanel, why can’t I make one?” Lagerfeld asked.
Cara Delevingne and Pharell in Reincarnation.
The length of the video has yet to be revealed, but judging on Lagerfeld’s former forays into moving image ventures, it will be less than ten minutes. There’s been “Reincarnation” with Cara Delevingne and Pharrell, The musician even composed and wrote the lyrics to “CC The World,” the original soundtrack. Gisele stared in “The One That I Want” with Michiel Huisman and Lo-Fang, directed by Baz Luhrmann. The model catches an impossibly large wave on a double C surfboard before tracking her man down to a burlesque club after he leaves her. Keira Knightly also wore Coco Mademoiselle perfume while riding a motorcycle in onesie for an extended ad.
Gisele carrying a Chanel surfboard.
But Chanel isn’t the only fashion company that calls its high production YouTube videos films. Dior’s Secret Garden series, the latest one starring Rihanna sprinting through Versailles, gets the all-important designation as a film, even though its run time is only one minute on the dot, short enough to air on TV. Vera Wang collaborated with director Gordon Von Steiner to tell the story of her Spring 2016 collection (1:40). With some edits, it could’ve air during prime time. Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez called on Chloë Sevigny, Liya Kebede, and a pregnant Liv Tyler for a short film called “Legs Are Not Doors” (1:52). Rag & Bone tasked street dancer Lil’ Buck and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov to come together, despite their difference styles, in a “visual poetry” of their Fall 2015 Menswear collection.
Lagerfeld’s film will (not) be in theaters December 1.