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She’s barefoot, wearing her own clothes, little makeup and toting her own elegantly weathered monogrammed Alto bag. Yet Angelina Jolie looks radiant and completely in her element, reclining on a wooden boat in a verdant, lakeside landscape in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. Jolie discovered the country in 2000 when she filmed “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” and it sparked her humanitarian activism.
She’s the latest celebrity to pose for Louis Vuitton’s popular “Core Values” campaign — and surely the only one who brought four children to the photo shoot, some of whom had to be shooed out of Annie Leibovitz’s frame.
This story first appeared in the June 13, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“People are not used to seeing Angelina in this situation,” said Pietro Beccari, Vuitton’s executive vice president, unveiling the image exclusively to WWD. “I like the fact that it’s a real moment. This travel message we give through personal journeys is a fundamental one for the brand.”
The ad is slated to break in the International Herald Tribune on Wednesday, followed by a range of news, general interest and lifestyle publications, including Vanity Fair.
Beccari declined to disclose budgets for the media buy, or comment on reports Vuitton paid the American actress millions for the shoot. He would only say Jolie donated an undisclosed portion of her fees to a charity.
The campaign is expected to run for at least 18 months alongside a few other recent “core values” personalities, including Bono and Sean Connery. Vuitton introduced the advertising concept in 2007 as a way to trumpet its travel roots and showcase its perennial monogrammed leather goods as a balance to its fashion-driven marketing — and to reach a broader audience. Other personalities who have posed for Vuitton include Mikhail Gorbachev, Keith Richards and Catherine Deneuve.
Also on Wednesday, Vuitton plans to post a teaser on its Web site, louisvuittonjourneys.com/cambodia, foreshadowing an interview with Jolie that will be posted later in the month. In it, she is expected to discuss how her visit to Cambodia was a life-changing experience, awakening her to the plight of Third World countries. She adopted her eldest son, Maddox, from Cambodia and she and Brad Pitt established the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which is active in community development and conservation in the country.
“This campaign is about a very special person and a very special journey,” Beccari said.
And a storied handbag. Beccari showed off several paparazzi shots of Jolie toting the Alto carryall, which is believed to be at least six years old. The style is no longer in production, but “we are considering to re-edit it,” Beccari noted.