Karl Lagerfeld’s new ode to madam Chanel transforms a moment of inspiration to a short musical starring Pharrell.

Some serious star power and a beautiful setting contribute to the popular appeal of the new Lagerfeld short film. Pharrell Williams and super model Cara Delevingne sing and dance with each other as the reincarnations of emperor Franz Joseph I and empress Sisi. Though she is but a housemaid and he’s just a bellboy, their aspirations and dreams spark the inspiration of Coco Chanel, played by Geraldine Chaplin. When Chanel visits the luxurious hotel where they work, the outfit of the bellboy catches her eye.

The film has been made to promote the new Chanel collection Métiers d’art which is to be showed in Salzburg. Lagerfeld uses the opportunity to add some storytelling power to the Chanel brand. Storytelling has been a favorite buzzword for marketeers for some time now, and short films are an ideal tool to give a brand a backstory. After Once Upon a Time… and The Return, this is the third short film produced by Lagerfeld to tell more about the history of Coco Chanel and the sources of her inspiration. Obviously he tries to do more than just tell a historical anecdote, he transforms it into an almost mythical moment. The uniform of the bellboy is connected to the uniform of Franz Joseph I – suggesting the posibility or at least the dream of upwards social mobility. A uniform always has some allure, the promise of a career, moving up through the (military) ranks. The famous Chanel suit that was inspired by the bellboys uniform became the prefered outfit of a new generation of women looking to make a career for themselves.

Lagerfeld asked Pharrell to give the film a soundtrack that matched the Austrian setting, but to give it his own twist. A challenge the producer and singer was eager to accept. A Viennese Waltz provides continuous background music which suddenly changes in a song, a duet between Pharrell and Cara. The name of the song is ‘CC the world’, echoing the name of the empress Sisi and the CC brand.