Karl Lagerfeld’s Short Film ‘Reincarnation’ For CHANEL Starring Pharrell & Cara…OH MY!

Yvette Le Grew

Lifestyle Writer

Dec 02, 2014

The private screening was held at the restaurant St Peter Stiftskeller in Salzburg, in the courtyard of a beautiful benedictine monastery, one of the oldest in Europe. And the film? Perfection – of course.


About The Film ‘Reincarnation’: 

“This whole set is so incredible,” enthuses Cara Delevingne who is standing in a hotel lobby flanked by Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s famous imperial portraits, antler furniture and other ‘gemütlich-style’ hunting lodge trappings. “It’s like you’re in Austria,” she continues.

Of course, the same could be said for Cara Delevingne who co-stars with Pharrell Williams and Geraldine Chaplin in ‘Reincarnation,’ Karl Lagerfeld’s video-clip for CHANEL. Resembling Winterhalter’s Sissi, the Austrian Empress, Cara Delevingne has been totally transformed by a long white corseted dress and a mass of dark hair extensions decorated with white camellias, CHANEL’s signature flower, as opposed to diamonds.

According to Karl Lagerfeld, “there was no second choice” for the casting of his film that traces “the roots of where the Chanel jacket came from, inspired by the lift-boy in a hotel near Salzburg in the early 1950s” as well as including a dream sequence of Winterhalter portraits coming alive. And watching the waltz of Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams – the artist alternates between Emperor Franz Josef and the lift-boy – certainly illustrates his point. Karl Lagerfeld is reminded of “a modern royal couple” and ‘The Leopard,’ Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece set in the 19th Century.


Pharrell Williams, on the other hand, views the experience as “a regal day.” “I get to work with Cara whom I feel is multi-faceted in her interests and super intelligent,” he says. “I get to work with one of my idols, in terms of fashion and great taste and tone, Karl Lagerfeld! And then I find out that I’m working with this really talented actress who’s the daughter of Charlie Chaplin.”

Once again, Geraldine Chaplin plays the role of Gabrielle Chanel. The consummate professional can be viewed in the makeup room’s tallest mirror practicing her mannerisms and gestures. “It was hard getting Mademoiselle back,” Geraldine Chaplin later admits. That said, she describes ‘Reincarnation’s’ atmosphere as feeling “like a small independent film.” “That’s so unique and that comes from Karl,” she insists.


When the “modern royal couple” eventually sing their duet version of ‘CC The World’ – a brand new song composed and written by Pharrell Williams for CHANEL – the entire set gathers in a crowd to watch. Karl Lagerfeld’s instructions had been brief. “I want to hear Austrian music. But with your twist at the end,” Pharrell Williams recalls. Nevertheless, the designer is “pleased beyond words” with the result. “Pharrell is a genius,” he declares. Meanwhile, Cara Delevingne is equally chuffed to sing. “It was just the coolest thing to ever be asked to do,” she says.

We would have to agree!



By Yvette Le Grew

Lifestyle Writer

Yvette Le Grew is the former Online Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, former Head of Digital Content at Westfield & freelance fashion, travel, health & lifestyle writer for titles across the UK, Asia and Australia. Yvette now contributes 'at large' for thecarousel.com.


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