Kenzo Gets Spike Jonze to Capture the Playfulness of Its New Perfum
Traditionally, high-style perfume ads tend to feature a supremely polished model or actress effortlessly exuding conventional beauty and grace, along with a general sense of having it all-ness, as if the scent in question functions as an aromatic glue designed to hold lives artfully together with one simple spritz.
Leave it to Kenzo to turn tradition on its head.
This morning, the storied (and funky) house—revamped and reimagined in 2011 by Los Angeles natives and Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon—released the promotional film for its first-ever perfume, KENZOWORLD, and it’s nothing short of awesome. Directed by Spike Jonze (a longtime friend of the artistic directors), the wholly original commercial speaks to the playful irreverence found in both the brand and its newly bottled essence (available next month at Bloomingdale’s): a medley of rose, ylang-ylang, and Ambroxan dreamed up by Paris-based parfumier Francis Kurkdjian and housed in Kenzo’s whimsical and iconic all-seeing eye.
Actress and former dancer Margaret Qualley begins the short film in a stuffy event room, where she struggles to feign interest in an even stuffier speech before heading to the hallways for an impromptu stomp session. To the beat of an upbeat soundtrack—titled, appropriately, “Mutant Brain,” which was created for Kenzo by Jonze’s brother, Sam Spiegel—Qualley contorts her face and body with a decidedly raw, and at times, maniacal impudence that is both immediate and aspirational. Costumed in an envy-worthy green gown designed by Lim and Leon, the actress dances her way out of her conventional surroundings and into an atmosphere of her own making.
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It’s no surprise that Qualley’s seemingly organic moves are so captivating: The dance was choreographed by Ryan Heffington, the movement aficionado behind Sia’s video for “Chandelier,” starring a blanched-wigged Maddie Ziegler. And far from convincing us that a mist of KENZOWORLD will elevate us to supermodel standards, the commercial’s contemporary and playful vibes suggest that this fragrance may simply elicit a puckish sense of fun from our already perfect form. What could be fresher than that?
Jason Schwartzman and Spike Jonze Talk Kenzo: