We don’t need to sit here and break down the effortless cinema of Paris. I’ve mused countless times about the way the city burns blue and yellow at night; how it makes me look up and shoot wide and lose track of the days of the week because, at least for Fedex, it is forever Sunday.

We also needn’t labour on the effortless cinema of Parisian women. It’s a cultural assumption. A universal crush, cemented by well-trousered Jane Birkin and Anna Karina equivalents generation after generation: Caroline de Maigret’s runaway bangs, Ines de la Fressange and a basket bag, Lily Rose Depp crossing the street in the 6th with a baguette and a cigarette. Meanwhile, the rest of us wear tweed and red lips and black ribbons in our too-conditioned hair in a blind hope of adopting some of that cinema. We spend hours trawling Airbnb for parqueted floors and gold-framed mirrors, and find them instead at the Peninsula.

A guy once told me that I had a “vintage Chanel vibe” about me. It didn’t matter that he was as American as they come. It also didn’t matter that he likely equated “Chanel” as a term with the fashion industry as a whole (my mother does that). It was the highest compliment, though far from true. Alas, we fail in our overall life urgency and need for routine – there’s no ease, no calm in our gait as we round the corner of Rue Jean Giraudoux. Not like Audrey Tatou, or Lou Doillon, or here: our sweet French model, Claire Rousseau.

In my last editorial story for the year with the Chanel team one grey day in the 16th arrondissement, I (and every other creative agency under the sun) wanted to capture something of that essence.

A Coco Crush, if you will: subtle, expensive, and unwittingly charming.

MODEL CLAIRE ROUSSEAU @ IMG

PHOTOGRAPHER MARGARET ZHANG

PRODUCER SAMANTHA BENNETTS

DOP CHAD HENNEY

HAIR DAVID MALLETT

ASSISTED MATHIEU LAUDREL

MAKE-UP VICTORIA BARON FOR CHANEL

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About

Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, stylist and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

For project enquiries Tess.Stillwell@img.com
General enquiries bookings@margaretzhang.com.au