Chanel S/S 2011 – “A Summer In The South”

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I suspect that any serious collector of advertising campaigns would have a headache of a time doing so – chasing magazines for different images, often seeing the same two or three images over the course of the campaign season, with many images never seeing the light of day…

If only more companies would follow Chanel and collect each season’s advertising images into an attractive hard-cover book –  even if it is only available to boutiques, or sent to lucky VIPs (of which I am NOT one – I got my copy from eBay just like any other fan).

What a difference seeing all of the images together makes! While the single images looked unremarkable in a magazine, when collected together they create a wonderful atmosphere.

It would be easy to mistake the forest/garden setting for an autumn/winter campaign – however to do so would be to misunderstand Karl’s intentions. In fact, this cool, verdant setting is ideal for spring and summer – in not-so olden times, when air-conditioning was not readily available, travelling to the mountains and the forest served as the perfect antidote to too much sun exposure.

Another thing that could also be easily overlooked is how intimate the campaign is. Here, Karl has cast his favourite models: Inès de la Fressange, Stella Tennant, Baptiste and Freja. Having worked with Karl in many other campaigns we can see both the models’ and Karl’s fondness for each other, as well as how relaxed each person is modelling Karl’s vision (as well as Karl’s cheeky sense of humour – Stella hosing down a butt-naked Freja standing in a tub? How very un-high fashion.)

Karl’s photography could be described as workman-like: competent, reliable and at ease with the tools (and people) at his disposal. For a brand as established as Chanel, competence and reliability is precisely what is called for. I’m not often a fan of his photography, but this time it works for me.

Overall, I found the cool forest setting inspired and was ultimately won over by Karl’s choice of models – seeing Stella back in a Chanel ad gives me hope that Freja will also stick around for a long time 🙂

Here’s a link to the catalogue in PDF format:

    • jasmine
    • October 26th, 2011

    Firstly, thanks for scanning the whole book for us. It really does make a difference when you see the whole entire campaign in it’s entirety.
    Despite the fact that yes, Karl’s photography can definitely be boring, I agree with your point that there is a certain familiarity amongst Karl and his subjects, which actually makes the photographs endearing. Karl seems to make sure he is comfortable in his surroundings on these shoots, which usually take place at one of his multiple homes and seems to make a point to surround himself with people he not only likes on a professional level but on a personal one as well. And of course bringing back his faves Stella, Ines (who I don’t think has been in a Chanel campaign for 20 years before this one), the ever present Baptiste and Freja, who I’m also sure we’ll be seeing in future Chanel campaigns again. 😀

    • noiseswemake
    • October 26th, 2011

    Yes, even though Freja isn’t in next season’s Chanel campaign, her familiarity with Karl is why I’m not worried that she will disappear from Chanel completely. Here’s hoping, anyway 🙂

    EDITED TO ADD: In the next couple of weeks I will be posting a review of the recent Chanel photobooth campaign. I have already scanned it and made it into a PDF, which you can download it here:

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