“Reincarnation” is the new short film created and directed by Karl Lagerfeld to accompany the CHANEL Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Métiers d'art collection shown on December 2nd, 2014 in Salzburg. Using cinematic language it beautifully relates the history of Chanel’s famous and much-coveted, cardigan-style jacket trimmed and decorated with black embroidery and gold-coloured buttons. We present a retrospective.
From Karl Lagerfeld’s lucid imagination springs to life an eerie, dreamy, hauntingly beautiful short film titled “Reincarnation” recalling an episode in the life of Gabrielle Chanel, played by Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie Chaplin), in 1954, the year of her return.
It’s a teaser which accompanies the brand's annual Métiers d’Art show, set this year in Salzburg, Austria. The film also resulted in an artistic collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and Pharrell Williams, a friend of the house and of Lagerfeld. It saw the artist compose, write and sing the lyrics to the original soundtrack ‘CC The World,’ along with Cara Delevingne, singing for the first time. The two of them also play the lead roles and are the two faces of the upcoming campaign of the Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Metiers d’art collection.
“It was time to show the origins of the Chanel jacket, inspired by the one worn by the lift attendant in a hotel near Salzburg in the 1950s. “Reincarnation” is the story of a lift attendant’s jacket being reincarnated as a timeless piece of women’s wear,” explained Karl Lagerfeld, adding that it also referred to the reincarnation of the imperial Austrian empire.
Predictably it has thrown both fans and critics into a tizzy even while the brand has achieved its goal with this widely publicized film.
The story of ‘Reincarnation’ traces the origins of the iconic Chanel jacket and transports us to Salzburg, Austria where Gabrielle Chanel is holidaying. Her penchant for fashion being what it is, her observant eye spots the perfectly tailored uniform of her hotel’s young bell-boy, played with aplomb by Pharrell Williams, and her ever-present muse comes to life.
In one memorable scene she asks him regally, ‘By the way, where did you get that jacket?’ To which Pharrell Williams replies proudly, “It was made, just for me.”
Chanel then turns and announces grandly to the audience, “Well. I’ll have one made, just for me!”
In that one sentence, she instantly captures the exclusivity promised by the brand.
Delevingne and Williams play the roles of bell boy and waitress respectively who work at the 20th century hotel where Mademoiselle Chanel comes to stay and who escape into a night time fantasy, dancing magically to a soundtrack of "CC The World.
With a twist of reincarnation as the title suggests, the song “CC the World” is a tribute to the logo of the fashion house but also to the famed and tragic Austrian Empress Elisabeth who went by the name of ‘Sissi’. The interiors of the hotel, tone, mood, colours, music and costumes draw you into a by-gone era of fantastical possibilities, mystery and romance all in a brief span of seven minutes displaying Karl Lagerfeld’s undoubted genius.
Cara Delevingne transitions fluidly from a mischievous waitress to a wealthy regal, dancing the Viennese waltz with Pharell, while lending her velvet like vocals to the song. She exudes an energy and charisma which not only keep you captivated but also entertained. Other members of the cast include Lady Amanda Harlech who also appeared in Largerfeld’s last pre-collection film Private View; and 6-year-old Lagerfeld favorite Hudson Kroenig, who dances and sings as a miniature bellboy.
Chanel’s ‘Reincarnation’ is a must-CC visual delight much like the legendary brand’s collections.