exclusive: margaret zhang's short film for chanel is a celebration of youth and modernity

The new CHANEL N°5 L'EAU fragrance provides the inspiration for the dreamy visual feast.

by Briony Wright and i-D Staff
23 December 2016, 6:20pm

Since launching her site Shine By Three in 2009 (when she was 16) Margaret Zhang has matured into one of the smartest and most original style voices of her generation. In the years since she first caught the world's eye, her distinctive take on fashion has seen her traverse the roles of stylist, photographer, consultant, and creative director. Now, she's adding another job to her resume — director.

For the launch of CHANEL N°5 L'EAU, a modern reinvention of the almost century-old fragrance, Margaret was excited to work with the house on a short film inspired by perfumer Olivier Polge's latest creation. The result is a feast for the eyes and ears that truly captures the essence of the scent, and we're proud to premiere it on i-D.

Starring the angelic Rosie Coppini, Margaret's film creates a world that is as true to Chanel's heritage as it is to modern viewers. She explains, "the new CHANEL N°5 L'EAU fragrance was an exciting opportunity to explore some evocative motion based on sensory experiences associated with smell. As an all new interpretation of a classic fragrance, I thought there was so much room to interpret and express the youth and freshness of the scent on camera. The fragrance hints at citrus, at florals, at sweet and fresh notes — all of which I referenced throughout the film without being too literal."

Margaret acknowledges that making the short film was a dream, particularly given her fond associations with the original CHANEL N°5 and the iconic imagery surrounding it. She told us, "I will always remember being five years old and so enthralled with Luc Besson's fantastical 1998 N°5 campaign with Estella Warren. The accompanying still campaign of her standing behind a wall of bottles has remained a favourite of mine, too, for its more unpolished simplicity."


Text Briony Wright
Photography Margaret Zhang

chanel no 5
margaret zhang
chanel n°5 l'eau