The Australian - Wish Magazine - - News -

No. 5 is much more than a fra­grance,” says film di­rec­tor Baz Luhrmann. “No. 5 is in fact the en­tire flag for Chanel. When you think of the story of No. 5, whether it’s Amer­i­can GIs bring­ing it home for their girls after World War II, or whether it’s Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe say­ing she wears noth­ing to bed but a lit­tle No. 5, the iconog­ra­phy con­nected to that per­fume is so much greater than it be­ing just a fra­grance. And that was part of the at­trac­tion for me do­ing it in the first place.”

The “it” for Luhrmann in case you haven’t heard, is di­rect­ing a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial for Chanel No. 5 – his sec­ond for the fa­mous fra­grance. When Luhrmann says the scent is the “en­tire flag” for Chanel he’s not wrong. The fra­grance which was first cre­ated in 1921, is still one of the world’s top sell­ers – a po­si­tion it has con­sis­tently held de­spite end­less new per­fume launches by the in­dus­try each year. It has been said that a bot­tle of Chanel No. 5 is sold some­where in the world ev­ery 30 seconds.

Chanel, a pri­vately owned company, does not re­lease sales fig­ures but ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, per­fume and cos­met­ics are the company’s big­gest business and rep­re­sent about 55 per cent of its to­tal rev­enue.

“Chanel No. 5 re­mains one of the company’s flag­ship prod­ucts and con­tin­ues to cap­ture a lead­ing-share po­si­tion in the over­all fra­grance mar­ket; it’s one of the huge money mak­ers at Chanel,” says a lux­ury goods an­a­lyst at Telsey Ad­vi­sory Group in New York. Ac­cord­ing to Women’s Wear Daily, Chanel’s beauty and fra­grance business gen­er­ated sales of $4.4 bil­lion in 2013, mak­ing it the ninth big­gest beauty company glob­ally. So it is un­der­stand­able then that when it comes to keep­ing Chanel No. 5 on top, no ex­pense is spared. Which is a good thing when it comes to com­mis­sion­ing Baz Luhrmann to di­rect a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial, or mini film as the company prefers to call it (it runs at just over three min­utes), be­cause when it comes to bud­gets and dead­lines Luhrmann, by his own ad­mis­sion, never met one he couldn’t push to its lim­its and beyond.

“I’m prob­a­bly quite well known with some peo­ple – the stu­dios – for be­ing not very good with num­bers and dates,” Luhrmann told a press gath­er­ing for the launch of the new No. 5 film in New York re­cently. “But there is one date that I do know very well and it’s for one sim­ple rea­son – be­cause it’s ex­actly 11 years ago we were ap­proached by Chanel to come into their world and look at mak­ing some­thing that would re-ex­am­ine No. 5. The rea­son I know that date is that my daugh­ter was born 11 years ago. And I re­mem­ber that six weeks after she was born CM [Cather­ine Martin, Luhrmann’s part­ner in life and work] and my baby daugh­ter were dis­patched on a plane to Paris to start re­search­ing the project.”

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that Luhrmann would re­late the birth of his daugh­ter to a com­mis­sion. He has al­ways fused life and work into one.

“Peo­ple of­ten ask me why I blur the line be­tween life and art,” says Luhrmann. “There’s no job for us and my fam­ily, my ex­tended cir­cus fam­ily. There’s no job, there’s just the art.”

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