Watch Chanel’s Strange Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Short Film
Well, that was bizarre.
Fashion films often come across as fever dreams steeped in luxury and beauty—a series of gauzy close-ups of beautiful things and the people who wear them for a living. The new Chanel film, directed by Karl Lagerfeld and starring Cara Delevingne and Pharrell, operates within these same conventions but has much larger ambitions. A sinister vibe hangs over the film as a whole, from the charming but slightly uncomfortable framing story where Delevingne and Pharrell work as an impish waitress and a quiet elevator operator underneath full-length oil portraits of themselves dressed in regal attire. After Pharrell holds the door for Coco Chanel—whose suits were famously inspired by elevator operators' uniforms—she checks his outfit and then he passes out in a chair. The core of it all is a funny little neo-classical tune sung by Delevingne and Pharrell in his dream, an addled little ditty that's sweet and a little deranged. Eventually, the tune breaks down to more modern trappings and they dance (P.s. Is that shmoney dancing at 6:07?). Predictably, the clothes and the vocals are lush and pleasingly over-the-top, so this fantastical imagining of Chanel's origin story is definitely worth the watch.