Though many of the attendees at the 2023 Met Gala were wearing gowns inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite looks and habitual choices, a handful will be arriving in couture designed by the legend himself. On Monday, Nicole Kidman brought back a dress that will be familiar to any Chanel obsessive of a certain age, designed by Lagerfeld for 2004’s “Chanel No. 5: The Film.”
The short film was directed by Baz Luhrmann, and made a few visual references to his 2001 film Moulin Rouge, which also featured Kidman in a starring role. In the commercial, Kidman ran through the streets of New York City in the pink Haute Couture dress with a long train, festooned with feathers. She escapes the paparazzi in the back of a cab with Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro to the tune of Debussy’s “Claire de lune.” When it originally aired on television—after a premiere in theater—it made headlines for its £18 million price tag. In those pre-YouTube days, the idea of a short promotional film was breaking new ground.
Luhrmann, who attended this year’s Met Gala with his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin, made the ad at the request of Chanel’s then-creative director Jacques Helleu. “I have no real experience [of making an ad] but what I can make you is a . . . trailer for a movie that has never actually been made, that is not about No 5 but in which No 5 is the touchstone,” Luhrmann told the brand, according to the Financial Times.
Other close collaborators of Lagerfeld wore his designs to the event on Monday. Gisele Bunchden also wore a feather-laden gown, but hers was white with angel wings, from 2006. “He was a gentleman—always so kind,” she said to La La Anthony on the Vogue livestream, before reminiscing on her favorite experience working with Lagerfeld. “One time we were shooting a campaign barefoot in Paris… It was really so fun.”