Chanel, Kering, LVMH: how luxury increasingly imposes its cinema

Chanel manages to reunite Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt for a teaser of the fashion show. Prada which produces Ridley Scott and Wes Anderson. Miu Miu with Mati Diop. Saint Laurent with David Cronenberg, Jim Jarmusch and Pedro Almodóvar. François-Henri Pinault takes the helm of CAA as LVMH opens its manufacturing company… Luxury is clearly taking action.

A true friendship united, for example, Catherine Deneuve and Yves Saint Laurent who was therefore happy to dress her Nice day by Luis Buñuel (published in 1967). Like the cult film, the clothes that the French actress wears there have also remained engraved on many retinas. It’s for this kind of thing indirect advertising that the big houses fight to dress the celebrities of the small and big screen, or are even willing to pay for it, even beyond the cameras.

For hyper-publicized events like the Césars and the Oscars, for photo shoots in magazines, and even in their daily lives… Celebrities can serve as a star sandwich for those who can afford it, and luxury knows this all too well. And for this, more than sponsors of films or festivals, as well as lucrative contracts with muses, the big houses are ready to (co)produce films and series. And also to represent the greatest audiovisual talents.

The patronage of Chanel, Miu Miu and Prada…

If Chanel has been dressing ballets since 1924, to the point of today being the first patron of the Paris Opera, it is a much more confidential partnership than what happens today between the rest of luxury and cinema. Since 2005, Prada has offered directors such as Ridley Scott and Wes Anderson the opportunity to produce short films for them.

Since 2011, another house artistically directed by Miuccia Prada has been involved, with Miu Miu, which has commissioned works from Zoe Cassavetes and Agnès Varda, as well as the new guard of cinema. For example, Miranda July directed Someone in 2014, Alice Rohrwacher By Djess in 2015 and Mati Diop In my room in 2020.

Screenshot from 12-03-2024 at 17.07.22
On Miu Miu’s YouTube channel, short films made by female directors have millions of views. /YouTube screenshot.

…To co-production and representation at Kering

For his part, François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, was much more offensive. Since 2015, the luxury group has held the “ Women on the move » should highlight gender inequalities in the fields of arts and culture and change mentalities. For this reason every year it rewards women of the seventh art with great fanfare. Kering also owns the house of Saint Laurent, which announced in April 2023 that it will now produce directors such as Paolo Sorrentino, David Cronenberg, Abel Ferrara, Wong Kar Wai, Jim Jarmusch and Gaspar Noé.

To celebrate the occasion, Pedro Almodóvar also directed the first production of Saint Laurent, presented at the Cannes Film Festival the month following this surprising announcement: Strange way to livewith Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.

LVMH also opens its own production company, 22 Montaigne Entertainment

The Kering CEO also owns the holding Artémis, through which he took power in the talent agency Creative Artists Agency in September 2023. This represents the entire Hollywood elite, such as Salma Hayek (among other things, wife of François-Henri Pinault), Brad Pitt, or even Scarlett Johansson. In short, the French billionaire will not only produce films, but will also represent the people who star in them, which will only lead to museum contracts for the houses he owns (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Brioni, etc.).

Pedro Almodóvar will premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Strange Way of Life, a Saint Laurent production with Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal // Source: Instagram screenshot
Pedro Almodóvar premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Strange Way of Life, a Saint Laurent production starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal // Source: Instagram screenshot

Faced with all this, Bernard Arnault and his LVMH group are obviously no exception. After contributing to the making of a documentary on one of his houses (the sumptuous Dior and me, directed by Frédéric Tcheng and released in 2015), the world luxury leader announced at the end of February 2024 the creation of its own production company: 22 Montaigne Entertainment. Its mission will be to co-develop, co-produce and co-finance content linked to the group’s 75 houses (such as Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Ruinart and Tiffany & Co).

But why is luxury rushing to take control of cinema?

Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz, protagonists of the Chanel autumn-winter 2024-2025 fashion show // Source: Chanel YouTube screenshot
Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz, protagonists of the Chanel autumn-winter 2024-2025 fashion show // Source: Chanel YouTube screenshot

To give you an idea of ​​the (never disclosed) budgets of the luxury giants, Chanel recently filmed a scene from the film A man and a woman (Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1966) with his house muses Penelope Cruz and Prad Pitt. And this, as a teaser for its autumn-winter 2024-2025 fashion show, where the original director, Claude Lelouch, was in the front row. This shows how this sector is full of resources. We can therefore ask ourselves about this growing power over cinema. More than a question of product placement in films and on red carpets, luxury is slowly but surely taking control of the cameras to better direct images, tell stories and thus shape our imaginations.

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