In some ways, it's hard to believe anybody would think of asking Carole Bouquet to represent Chanel No. 5 perfume. But she's the woman in the new ads, and she's touring the country to let people know it.
Not that she doesn't look the part. With her classic features and her sporty style, you can just see her splashing on the famous fragrance while she races down ski slopes or rushes to catch the Concorde. But if she ever wore a Chanel perfume before now, she says, it was Cristalle, not No. 5.
And if she wants a change these days, she wears one of her husband's perfumes. He loves women's fragrances and buys them for himself.
It's offhand remarks like these that make you wonder how Bouquet ever got the Chanel contract to begin with--and why she didn't get it sooner. She's as unpredictable as can be.
As a matter of fact, she says she did get the same offer from Chanel 10 years ago. But her acting career was still forming then and she didn't want to dilute it. This time she accepted the 23-day-a-year job because it pays better than most movies and offers financial security. "I have two children," she adds.
Americans got their first glimpse of Bouquet in 1981 when she appeared in "For Your Eyes Only," the James Bond thriller. But she has been making movies in Europe since age 12, she says, and prides herself on her role in Luis Bunuel's 1976 classic, "That Obscure Object of Desire."
Not a shopper by nature, Bouquet's contract with Chanel includes free house-brand fashions. She is wearing cream-color cashmere leggings, cardigan and a tailored satin blouse with pearl cuff links. But she's added her own unglamorous eyeglasses, despite a photographer's snapping camera. "I want to see who I'm talking to," she explains.
Bouquet tosses all of her silky hair to one side before she reveals her startling beauty secrets. "I don't exercise. I don't have any diet tips. If you learn how to be happy, maybe you'll eat less."
She doesn't have any makeup tips either. "I usually don't wear it," she says . "I have to have defects showing, to get human and have some charm."
A Fan of Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn is the only woman whose personal style Bouquet finds remarkable. "I don't have an image I reach for," she says. "Trying to be who I am is tough enough."
Having accepted her new contract, she's made a quick study of No. 5 and found that it is still made of flowers that the haute couture house grows itself (jasmine and rose, in particular). It is still made in the company's own fragrance laboratory, where one renowned "nose" oversees all the Chanel perfume production.
As for No. 5, she says: "It's warm but not too strong. And I love the bottle. It's very simple."