Monday, October 1, 2007

Rest in peace Jacques Helleu...

Artistic director of maison Chanel is no longer with us... He left this vain world after a prolonged illness this past Friday, ending a career that spanned 4 decades at Chanel, attending to the revered image of the brand ever since Mlle's death.
His last project has been the new campaign for Coco Mlle with Keira Knightley, inspired by her "natural flaws" as he confided, comparing her to a "Cinderella in the making"; a campaign that I initially panned to later retract myself. He ever took fashion bloggers to the appartment of Coco Chanel in Paris and the factory of the brand a couple of weeks ago!

He made it into the book of records when he masterminded the most expensive commercial in perfume advertising to date: that of Chanel No.5 with Nicole Kidman.

According to him cinematographers are just as important as egeries and he had proved this by his wise choice of the former as well as the latter.
His job had the character of tenure and it was a landmark in the fickle world of perfume.

As a little tribute, may I direct you to the excellent book Jacques Helleu & Chanel. The description goes thus:
Jacques Helleu joined the house of Chanel at eighteen. In 1965 he took over responsibility for promotion and he currently serves as Chanel's artistic director. Jacques Helleu is the eye behind the House of Chanel's enduring image, having explored the meanings of this legendary brand in daring commercials and fabulous print ads for the past forty years. He has given tangible, glamorous shape to the essential mystique of Chanel's perfumes, by bringing together artistic luminaries (from photographer Helmut Newton, to director Baz Luhrman, to actress Catherine Deneuve, and countless others) and masterfully guiding the creative combustion that has resulted.

You can order it from Amazon.

May every artistic director be as successful as he was...

Pics from okadi,imagesdesparfums and fashionspot


  1. He did do wonderful work, very evocative.

  2. Indeed! He cemented what we deem the image of the brand.

  3. I can still remember his and Jean-Paul Goude's advertising for Egoïste. Very powerful imagery and so memorable as you can see......

  4. Indeed Marie Helene.
    It was probably the best commercial I can think of. Very original. Did you know that Karl Lagerfeld had designed a seperate dress for each woman and the inside of each room seen through the windows briefly was different? Very impressive...

  5. Anonymous20:13

    thank you for this. it is good to know just what his role was and enduring influrence in this iconic brand. i love the creativity. thank you.


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