YOU’D BE FORGIVEN for thinking that Timothée Chalamet and Martin Scorsese have worked together before. After all, Scorsese is the most iconic living American auteur of our time, and Chalamet is the hottest young actor in Hollywood right now. But until today, their career paths haven’t crossed. And what brings them together isn’t a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster like Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon or the Dune franchise. It’s not even a project you can see in cinemas. Instead, it’s the campaign for Chanel’s signature masculine fragrance, Bleu de Chanel. 

To mark Chalamet’s one year anniversary as an ambassador of Bleu de Chanel – and 14 years since Scorsese directed his first campaign for the fragrance – the duo have teamed up on a short film that ushers in a new era for the house’s signature men’s scent. Framed around a free, daring, and determined journey of self-discovery – where Chalamet plays a man who sets off on a quest to find himself, a deeply candid role that was written just for him – the film is a meditation on modern-day fame. 

Of the film, Scorsese comments: “The world has changed. There’s another aspect to celebrity in a way. Which is even more extreme than 10 or 15 years ago.” 

And who better to embody the nuances of celebrity in the social media age than Timothée Chalamet? 

Indeed, when speaking the delicate balance between private versus public creative self-expression – and the role of scent in shaping an identity – Chalamet has some profound observations to share, which is also what makes him such a perfect muse for the brand. Not one to under-prepare for a role, he tells us that on the way to film the Chanel campaign with Scorsese, he was thinking about the intersection of scent and identity.

“I was thinking, as I was on my way here today, that scent is something that cannot come across in visual media. It’s one of the last bastions of creative self-expression that hasn’t been commodified in that visual space,” the actor tells Esquire. “It’s really for you – similar to how the way in which clothes feel on your body can never come across to anyone, whereas how they look and fall on your body are what comes across to everyone.”

Identity, he observes, is “such a topical word right now”. Spritzing yourself with your signature fragrance as you walk out the door, meanwhile, “is kind of an immediate act of instant deliberate assertion of one’s self.”

“What I like about Bleu de Chanel specifically is that, not unlike movies and storytelling in general, the scent and the narrative behind it are open for interpretation. It comes down to subtle assertiveness and the unique interpretation of the person who is wearing it and how the fragrance ultimately makes them feel.” 

With an aromatic aroma that balances woody notes with citrus and warm spice, Bleu de Chanel, which was first developed by nose Jacques Polge in 2010, is both enigmatic and timeless, and in this sense, it refuses to be typecast – not unlike its thespian ambassador, or the director behind its brand new film.