By  on August 31, 2007

Chanel's (Keira) Knightley news: The actress' first Coco Mademoiselle campaign is imminent, and the company plans to blanket the market with images of the brunette Brit.
In what is one of the brand's most sweeping beauty campaigns since signing Nicole Kidman as the face of Chanel No.5 in 2004, Chanel will unleash an ambitious multilayered advertising and promotional campaign this week. The media blitz, which will continue to roll out through yearend, includes TV spots, print ads, outdoor advertising and an intensive online effort. The campaign marks the first time in 15 years that Chanel has bankrolled ads on national network TV.

"Coco Mademoiselle represents the modern facet of Chanel — the strength and irreverence of Gabrielle Chanel," said Maureen Chiquet, global chief executive officer of Chanel. "In Keira, we see that strength both in her and in the roles she has chosen, like 'Bend It Like Beckham.' This campaign tells the story of an independent woman who marks her territory with fragrance and, for that, Keira is perfect."

Both the TV and the print efforts were overseen by Jacques Helleu, Chanel's artistic director, who has helmed the imagemaking efforts at Chanel for more than four decades. Helleu — who has cast such legendary figures as Catherine Deneuve, Candice Bergen and Ali McGraw for Chanel fragrance campaigns — said he was captivated by Knightley's fresh-scrubbed beauty in "Pride and Prejudice," which Joe Wright directed. "She looked so sophisticated with absolutely no makeup on," remembered Helleu. "That was the point in which I fell in love with her professionally."

So, when it came time to cast the commercial, Helleu tapped Knightley to star and Wright to direct.

"Our campaign with Kate [Moss] was coming to an end, and we wanted to try to do something different," said Helleu. "Not because of the [Moss] scandal; it was just time."

The TV commercial, shot by Wright in Paris, is carved from a five-day shoot for the fragrance, completed earlier this year. Knightley, marching through her apartment in an oversize men's shirt, quickly changes into a long red silk dress — designed for Knightley by Karl Lagerfeld — and a handful of Chanel fine jewelry and heads out to the Musée d'Art Moderne, making her way through a crowd of admirers and finally escaping via a staircase to the Place Vendôme. Throughout the piece, singer Joss Stone croons the Nat King Cole song "Love."

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