See that glossy, golden, glowing No. 5 ? I think I received it in the latest edition of American Vogue, slipped inside the covering plastic bag. But it’s possible the thing simply materialized, covet-provoking, in my mailbox. A worldwide phenomenon, apparently, as Tabitha over at Bourbon and Pearls got one too.
In case you were thinking this might be a modern redo of this museum piece, not quite. At least not overtly. It’s an ad for Chanel No. 5, the legendary perfume from the legendary couture house.
But how it’s not art I don’t know.
- Provokes a sense of awe and wonder? Check.
- Surprises and delights? Check.
- Takes the viewer, if only for an instant, out of their world and time? Well, not to exaggerate, but I did gasp when I opened up the glossy wings and all the suspended logos and labels began, ever so gently, to vibrate.
I made a paltry iPhone video, which hints at the realized experience. (If YouTube has eaten my embedded link, which it seems to be doing, take a look here if you like.)
In a world where online photos are now almost as beautiful as prints, where video can make up for their lack of visual resolution with sound and movement, paper has to up its game. I believe paper, words and images both, will become to the digital what opera and live theater became to the movie, and what the movie then became to television.
Paper has to earn its place with dimensionality. Well all right then.
Very fetching, as my mother would say. But also purely beautiful. I’m happy to see Chanel’s designer, Mr. Lagerfeld, handing out art to all and sundry.