Brad Pitt - first male face of Chanel No. 5 - splits fans and fashionistas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 4:55am

Brad Pitt made his debut as the first male face of Chanel's iconic No. 5 fragrance in an ad campaign that had fans and fashionistas split on his latest role.

Pitt, 48, is seen with long hair and dressed casually, looking wistfully into the camera in an enigmatic black-and-white video directed by Atonement filmmaker Joe Wright.

"It's not a journey. Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns, and we turn with it. Plans disappear, dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are, my luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel No. 5, inevitable," the Moneyball actor says.

The video released on Monday is part of a US$10 million advertising campaign for which Pitt was paid US$7 million, according to Women's Wear Daily.

Time magazine's Erik Hayden called the ad "nonsensical", saying Pitt's "vaguely existential monologue … like it could plausibly have been discarded narration from the trailer for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life."

Us Weekly's Zach Johnson called the video "sensual", while Vanity Fair's Amy Fine Collins said the choice to cast Pitt as spokesperson showed the French fashion house "subtly circling back to its gender-twisting origins".

Pitt is the first male spokesperson for women's fragrance Chanel No. 5, the first perfume launched by legendary French designer Coco Chanel in 1921. It is estimated that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 sells somewhere in the world every three seconds.

In a statement from Chanel, the actor called the fragrance "revolutionary".

"No. 5 has always been the most iconic women's fragrance," Pitt said. "That's what I see being the appeal of this campaign; it goes beyond the abstract of emotion or beauty to evoke what is timeless: a woman's spirit."

Chanel No. 5 has been represented by actresses Audrey Tautou, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Deneuve. It has also been linked with screen icon Marilyn Monroe who famously said the fragrance was all she wore to bed.

On Twitter and YouTube, some fans noted the somewhat ironic coincidence of the campaign's release tying in with the 13th anniversary of the release of Fight Club, in which Pitt played a consumerism-hating salesman.