“I got Escape! Calvin Klein Escape! Mix it up with Calvin Klein Be. Smell nice? I smell nice!” That’s a line from Aliens’ (James Franco) monologue in Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers, where he shows the girls all of his stuff (or shit). Who would have thought that the director of films which are mostly about white trash characters like Gummo (1997), Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) or Trash Humpers (2009) would go on to direct an ad for Christian Dior, one of the top French fashion houses? Certainly not me, but it works. Take a look!
Before you call out Korine for selling out and such, may I remember to you that he already did commercials for Budweiser and Havana Club? He’s also not the first auteur to be hired by LVMH and working for Dior in particular. Two of my very favorite directors Sofia Coppola and David Lynch already contributed in expanding Dior’s brand experience and reinforcing its artsy image. What I like about Dior is that they hire directors with a very distinct style, auteurs essentially, and a very specific tone. What’s even greater is that they let them be themselves.
This ad for the luxurious Dior Addict fragrance features Harmony Korine’s love and passion for experimenting and working with different film stocks. It’s also the first time we see him experiment with black & white, which is certainly exciting for a lover of this type of photography, but it’s also not something you see a lot of anymore (sadly) in commercial or mainstream media. In front of the camera we see Russian model Sasha Luss, who both fits Korine’s world and embodies Dior’s core values (beauty, allure, mystery, playfulness, style).
While there’s no real narrative (not unlike most of Korine’s own feature films), the ad still feels distinctly Korine. A lot of it is probably due to the song used as well Enter the Ninja by Die Antwoord, a South African rap group which previously collaborated with Korine’s short Umshini Wan (2011). I love the song actually, it has a similar flavor to Spring Breakers, in fact this ad feels like it is a spiritual sequel of sorts. Stylistically and chromatically, it’s again also very reminiscent of Gaspar Noé‘s work.
I’m also reminded of S. Darko (2009), because of the CGI and effects. Yes, that’s the sequel to Donnie Darko. I know, I’m probably the only person in the world who liked S. Darko, but I can’t help but think that Korine saw it and was possibly even influenced by it. I’m just speculating here. All in all, I love this ad. It’s really catchy. It’s gorgeous to look at. It’s fun to listen to. It makes me want to try out this perfume and maybe even buy it. But anyway, here’s the director’s cut for you. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on it in the comments section!