One is a 20-year-old budding actress who shot to fame for having parents who were two of the ’90s sexiest pop cultural icons and has over three million followers on Instagram. The other is an anti-social media screen legend who turned 80 in April and won a Golden Globe award for “Most Promising Newcomer” back in 1970.
To say that Lily-Rose Depp and Ali MacGraw are generations apart would be stating the obvious. That however is part of the charm of the Chanel J12 campaign that the two are a part of. Launched earlier this year, it sees them – alongside an eclectic A-list cast that includes supermodels Liu Wen and Naomi Campbell; Chinese actor/singer William Chan; and Depp’s mum Vanessa Paradis – reminiscing about definitive moments in their lives to go with the watch’s new tagline, “It’s all about seconds”.
(The same focus on the little things can be said about the iconic timepiece, which was introduced in the year 2000 and has been upgraded considerably this year to be more refined and comfortable – though you’ll only notice the differences when you wear it or look really close. Word has it this updated Chanel J12 has been such a hit, it sold out when it was launched in stores here in September and has since had to be re-stocked.)
So when we were given the exclusive chance to meet and do a round of quick-fire questions (guess the brand takes its “It’s all about seconds” tagline seriously) with both Depp and MacGraw during the reveal of the improved timepiece in Paris earlier this year, we couldn’t help but do a bit of a social experiment and find out: just how differently would a Gen Z and a pre-baby boomer perceive time – or should we say, seconds?
Her background: Still not of legal age, but already a Chanel catwalk and campaign veteran who fronted the brand’s No. 5 L’eau perfume ad three years ago; was the closing “bride” for its Spring Summer 2017 couture show; and basically grew up with the French maison and the late, great Uncle Karl. Oh yeah, and she’s been amassing a string of critically acclaimed French movies as an actress too.
Number of seconds it takes for her to know that she likes somebody after meeting him/her: “Uhm, it depends on the situation. But it can happen in a matter of seconds.”
Number of seconds it takes for her to get a photograph right as a model: “It depends on the day. It can be in a split second, or it can sometimes not work at all.”
Number of seconds it takes for her decide on an outfit: “Only a few minutes.”
Number of seconds it takes for her to decide that a video on social media is worth her time: “Three.”
Number of seconds it takes for her to achieve the perfect lip (she really does love a good lipstick – watch video here): “I have gotten very good at that so I would say 10 seconds.”
Number of seconds a hug with a loved one should last for her: “As many as possible.”
Number of seconds a good kiss should last: “I don’t know! Seven?”
Her first thought the second she heard that she was going to be a part of the new Chanel J12 campaign: “I was so excited, especially when I heard about all the other wonderful people whom I would be doing this alongside with. I was really excited to be a part of the group.”
Number of seconds she thinks should go into crafting a tweet: “I don’t use Twitter, but you should always think about what you say.”
Number of seconds this interview lasted: 156
Flip to the next page for 80-year-old screen legend Ali MacGraw’s answers, some of which could really surprise.
Her background: The freedom-fighting, pro-animal welfare intellectual who went from fashion magazine assistant to a ’70s style icon and one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actresses – all because of a Chanel beauty ad that she became a part of by accident. According to the now-Santa Fe, New Mexico, resident who helped kickstart the trend for less-is-more beauty with her own all-natural good looks, it was 1965 and she was working on a project for Chanel No. 5 as a stylist when the client asked if she could model instead. It would be a role that she would reprise for the next five years – until 1971 – and one that helped get her noticed by Hollywood where her silver screen successes include Love Story (1970 and one of the highest grossing films of all time) and the cult crime thriller The Getaway (1972 and where she met Steve Mcqueen, whom she later married).
The Chanel J12 campaign marks the first time she’s reuniting with the French label since being the face of Chanel No. 5 (its latest spinoff here) over five decades ago – and her first watch campaign. (“I think what happened is that they referred back to their archives and they saw that I had made a career in films and before that I had been in one of their ads. All of the women in this campaign have been working with Chanel, just not for long as I have,” she quips.)
Number of seconds it takes for her to know that she likes somebody after meeting him/her: “If I’m very generous, about six.”
Number of seconds it takes for her to get a photograph right as a model: “I have no idea. Depends on the photographer. Sometimes you see what they’re doing and sometimes you don’t. I don’t know until I see it – whether I like a photo or not. I’m not comfortable enough with modelling to say ‘Ooh, this is great.’”
Number of seconds it takes for her decide on an outfit: “Most of the time, 30 seconds.”
Number of seconds it takes for her to achieve the perfect lip: “No time at all.”
Number of seconds a hug with a loved one should last for her: “As long as the seconds can go on.”
Number of seconds a good kiss should last: “Way more than seconds; way, way more.”
Number of seconds she thinks should go into crafting a tweet: “I don’t tweet. Do you want me to tell you the truth? I’m sick of all of that. I write letters; I use the telephone, and I email. It makes me caveman, but I cannot imagine sitting with that thing in my hand when I’m trying to do something else. I have friends who are on social media all the time, and I wonder how they do that when you’re really doing something – when you’re having dinner with someone; when you’re with your lover – like, oh god. It must appall you and I’m sort of embarrassed of being a caveman, but (it’s so important for me) to be really present in all that you’re doing, be it talking to a friend; making love or making supper for your dog. I don’t watch television (much too). I don’t sit there and make comments. I don’t like it at all.”
Her first thought the second she heard that she was going to be a part of the new Chanel J12 campaign: “I was flattered of course. First of all, it’s a company of tremendous quality. I met Coco Chanel in my other life when I was working behind the camera (this was in the ’60s, when she was styling a Chanel shoot with the American lensman Melvin Sokolsky as photographer) and the house stands for integrity and history and detail. I was fascinated by her – I met her; spent an afternoon with her and there’s so much of this clothing (from the brand) that I really admire. I dress rather simply… So I was very honoured of course; stupefied, but honoured.”
The main difference between shooting the first ever campaign for Chanel No. 5 and this one for Chanel’s revamped J12: “The luxury of fearlessness. I’m not really someone who loves to be photographed. For the Chanel No. 5 campaign, I was very young and thought it was astonishing that anyone would ask me to do this – I was a stylist, not a model. And I was working on a project with my photographer when the client said, “Could we use her for this bath oil, and pay her?”, which – when you’re starting out – is always a very exciting proposition. It was very, very exciting. So I went down for one day (for the shoot); I wasn’t afraid, and the photographer was sweet and the shoot was easy and sort of fun. All the time before, I had been behind the camera. I never liked to be a model ever, ever. Now I’m just astonished that anybody cares. That’s the difference.”
How different is the shoot process between then and now: “First of all, when you’re 50 years younger than this, you just wash your face and show up for work. Now at this point they send you a hairdresser and makeup artist, which I’m not comfortable with. I’m not being negative. It’s just a very different thing from the innocence of having never done anything. Now it’s more of a production. Of course, it depends on what it is. This is a big deal for Chanel. They’re promoting a watch that they love. Every detail has to be perfect. It’s different – it’s not a criticism. It’s just different.”
Number of seconds a good interview should last: “As many seconds as both people are interested in it so it could be brief if you get what you want, or if you got into a very interesting conversation, it should be much longer. It’s all on you – that’s the answer to your question.”
Number of seconds this interview lasted: 440