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The CHANEL bag is an emblem. It metamorphoses according to the mood… a day bag to be worn in the evening, a faithful companion from a sleepless night to rising at dawn. It lasts a lifetime and is then handed down from generation to generation. Collection after collection, it appears in countless colours, shapes, and material variations.

Imbued with meaning, contrast and mystery, it exudes a sense of freedom. It is a coat of arms slung over the shoulder, a liberated silhouette that reveals something about the wearer. It bears within it the very history of the House of CHANEL, its present, past and future, woven together like the links of its interlacing chains and leather ribbons. It is a room unto itself, a hideaway, a place for reinventing oneself. Over the years and the CHANEL collections, countless designs have paid tribute to the iconic bag, reinforcing its status as a unique icon and a legend.

“Sorry, do you have any rooms available?”

A Man and A Woman – 1966 directed by Claude Lelouch

– “Sorry, do you have any rooms available?” This quote comes from the film A Man and A Woman (1966), which explores one of life’s greatest emotions: falling in love. Virginie Viard has always been passionate about cinema – particularly the New Wave – and wanted to pay tribute to Claude Lelouch’s masterpiece. It is a work that smoulders with sensuality, with that legendary beach scene… the horizon as far as the eye can see… the eternal sea… and, of course, Deauville.

Deauville, an essential destination for CHANEL

Deauville. The seaside resort was home to Mademoiselle Chanel’s first-ever boutique in 1912. There are no coincidences… But if they exist, they are marvellous in terms of intuition, finesse and wisdom because, in the original film, the actress carried a CHANEL handbag during those scenes where love erupts. This campaign repeats almost word for word, shot by shot, some of the film’s original sequences, with Penélope Cruz, a living legend of the film world and CHANEL ambassador since 2018. And Brad Pitt is a cult actor who, with much delicacy, embodies the somewhat daunted, blushing man.


Their characters shudder, traversed by emotion, skin tingling with goosebumps. Penélope Cruz’s hand tightens on her bag discreetly as if to hide concern. Her fingers caress the quilted leather; we hear the clasp turning and notice the chain over the shoulder… Instantly identifiable with its perfect silhouette, modern and rectangular, the iconic CHANEL bag and its impeccable allure make it so unique and desirable.

The bag we see in Claude Lelouch’s film was actually Anouk Aimée’s own bag, her favourite one, which she wore both on and off-screen. Placed on the table in a hotel restaurant, between the man and the woman, the legendary bag symbolises everything that, at some point in our lives, gives us the courage to assert our deepest desires—a unique and extraordinary moment. The bag conveys our audacity, the audacity to become the heroine of our own lives finally.

On-screen, this legendary bag radiates a fragrance, a trilogy of emotions: fantasy, audacity, and freedom. It’s as if no boundaries existed between life and fiction.

CHANEL and the world of cinema: a longstanding relationship.

Claude Lelouch’s A Man and A Woman was released in France in 1966 before its international distribution. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival, the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1967 and the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the film marked an entire generation of filmgoers and filmmakers. It tells the story of a man and a woman, both widowed, who meet at their children’s boarding school. The film examines the outpouring of desire, the hesitations and fears of a love encounter. How and when does everything change?

Because the film’s budget was so low, the director had to shoot the film in just three weeks. To save money, he shot the interior scenes in black and white and the exterior scenes in colour. Actress Anouk Aimée wore her own clothes and personal accessories, including her CHANEL bag, which can be seen on screen.


CHANEL continues to build on its longstanding relationship with cinema with this campaign. Virginie Viard, Artistic Director of the Fashion collections, has always found inspiration in the seventh art. From the free-spirited atmosphere of the New Wave to the Hollywood studios, she regularly draws from her film culture, and just as Gabrielle Chanel did in her day, she surrounds herself with the directors to whom she is close.

Penelope Cruz and CHANEL are the perfect love story.

Penelope Cruz has been a CHANEL ambassador since 2018 and has always perfectly embodied a modern vision of women. Her image and the sassiness of her personality translate perfectly to the CHANEL Woman in today’s world. In this new campaign, Penelope Cruz finds herself in Deauville in a very charming company: Brad Pitt.


They experience a perfect remake of Claude Lelouch’s iconic film and famous scene featuring the CHANEL bag. Here is what Ms Cruz says about her experience:

What is it about the film “A Man and a Woman” that really touches you?
Penelope Cruz: Claude (Lelouch)’s eye. I think it was a revolutionary film visually. Then you later find out about how hard it was for them to make it, on such a small budget. I think there were only 10-15 people in the crew. You can only do something like that when you have his kind of talent. I think it was such a modern film for its time and always will be. Some kids will be discovering this film and saying, “My God, this is so cool and so modern.” At the same time, it is very deep in terms of how Claude deals with that love story. It’s not just that it’s so visually rich, it has so many layers. It’s just a great film from start to finish. I love working with CHANEL so much. Over the years we’ve done many exciting things together. But when they told me this was the story for this campaign, I could not believe it.

At that time did you notice the CHANEL bag in Claude Lelouch’s film? And what does it say to you as an element of that scene
Penelope Cruz: Anouk Aimée is a very elegant and beautiful woman; she has always been. But it’s true that the look of that character was mind-blowing. How can you be more elegant than that? Of course, in my mind, that character was a CHANEL woman. So it makes total sense that the bag was there in the middle of the table, in their conversation in the restaurant. So I don’t remember being surprised when I saw it. In fact it was just right.

What do you feel when you wear CHANEL?
Penelope Cruz: It’s like a magic trick, even if you’re just wearing jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt, you add a CHANEL bag, and it gives you that feeling. I was telling Virginie (Viard, Arsc Director of the Fashion collections) that wearing the clothes she creates gives me a real dopamine-high reaction. I have admired the House for so long, and ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been studying everything they do. I have so much respect for CHANEL, for the years of Coco and then Karl, who I was very lucky to have had a very special relationship with. Now it’s with Virginie, whom I love so much, and I cannot imagine anybody else being able to do what she’s doing. I feel very lucky wearing these pieces. The more you know about how they are made and what it takes, the more you value the effort and the talent. I think that’s why wearing a CHANEL bag can make you feel that way. It’s everything that is behind that – the integrity of the brand, creating something new all the time, but at the same time, keeping the essence of CHANEL 100% intact.

With such an extraordinary cinematographic story, please see here some chosen images of “behind the scenes” during the making-of of this amazing campaign:


Once again, CHANEL surprises us with a timeless story of love, beauty, and iconic, powerful symbols so close to the French luxury house. By reconnecting with such an an outstanding film from Claude Lelouch, it showcases how contemporary it was and how true icons are always relevant across ages. With the CHANEL Iconic handbag, women worldwide can connect with this story, like a legacy transmitted from generation to generation.

José Amorim
The author sourced the information for All content is copyrighted, and reproduction rights are not available. Images are for illustration purposes only, courtesy of CHANEL.