Liz Smith: What Do You Wear?

“WHAT DO you wear when you go to bed, Marilyn?”

“Chanel No. 5”

THAT IMMORTAL exchange between the press and the sex-symbol, helped the famous scent — created by designer Coco Chanel in 1921 — to sail through the 1950s and beyond as the most distinctive fragrance ever created.

In later times, such varied fabulous females as Catherine Deneuve, Ali MacGraw and Nicole Kidman became the “face” of Chanel. Miss Kidman’s print and TV ads were absolutely spectacular, and as important to her post-Tom Cruise rise as any of her films.

But times change. I mean, boy, do they change! Chanel No. 5 will now be tempting women to spritz it on their collarbones and cleavage with … Brad Pitt!

Yes, the man who totally belongs to Angelina Jolie (and their six children) will be luring ladies worldwide as the new face and hardbody of Chanel No. 5.

Although men have been putting out their own fragrances for some time, I believe Mr. Pitt and Chanel are launching some delicious gender-bending here. I don’t recall a man ever promoting a woman’s perfume before.

Chanel proudly states that “No. 5 is the most iconic fragrance of our time, and Brad Pitt is the most iconic actor of our time.”

Well, I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say Brad is “the most iconic actor of our time.” Then again, I don’t know what “time” or era Chanel is referring to. It is the 21st century now, so maybe we have to take Clark Gable and Gary Cooper and John Wayne off our old lists?

Brad is, in any case, an excellent actor, who has had to fight to be seen as more than just a beautiful face. He is also a superb humanitarian who really puts his money where his mouth is.

Women can now fantasize, as they dab No 5. that Brad is putting his famously pouty mouth right there.

THE TRAILERS of most movies I’ve gone to recently are inexplicably ill-made, stunningly inane and usually quite horrible — either too fast to grasp what’s going on. Or, telling you the entire plot before you see the film.

I shudder to think of most of these “entertainments” and their negative over-explosive violence, overt nasty sexuality and apocalyptic effect on the young. But maybe these impressionable kids are NOT impressed or even watching closely. They are probably just working their Internet gizmos waiting for the feature to start.

SHOWTIME’S espionage drama/soap “Homeland” swept the Emmys with wins for best dramatic series … best actress (Claire Danes) … best actor (Damian Lewis.)

It is undeniably compelling with its wildly brilliant dysfunctional leading lady. Problem? Miss Danes” “Carrie” was seen in the opening of season two in the same hysterical state as she ended season one. Even though time has passed, she has been ousted from the CIA and is back “on her meds.”

She is impressive but exhausting in her endless turmoil. The new season has her working temporarily for her old bosses; still convinced Marine ex-POW Nicholas Body, played by Lewis, is a terrorist. We need a month in the country after watching Claire go through her tortured paces.

The writers might try calming her down slightly. Or the proverbial shark could well jump before feeding time.

I SEE the lead movie of last weekend was “Taken 2.” Liam Neeson is the star. The actor is trapped in a pointless story of espionage revenge by Albanians eager and overly organized to kill Liam, his wife and daughter, with a glamorous Istanbul as a backdrop. (But mostly we see only crowded alleyways, tiny crowded streets, rooftops and clutter — not Turkey’s most beautiful city.)

At least 30 or 40 people are murdered, 20 cars trashed and there is even one train wreck. Mr. Neeson is a brilliant actor, but here his character is forced to recognize and memorize twists and turns while blindfolded and figuring mathematical probabilities. It boggles the mind. He nevertheless manages to maim dozens of bad guys and escape over and over.

The New York Times describes “his already hot box office streak!” I’d think Neeson is getting tired of this kind of movie “success.” (On the other hand, he came to this sort of action/thriller rather late, so he is probably enjoying his new status as an older Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt-type character.)

And it’s obviously hard for movie makers to find acceptable enemies these days for movie plots. We are trying to be diplomatic around the world. But the Albanians are fair game I guess.

DANIEL CRAIG is on the cover and inside Vanity Fair for November in anticipation of his third Bond movie. “Skyfall.” This film’s come-on trailer is being widely praised, admired, appreciated and it is an exceptional trailer. It makes you pant for Nov. 9th.

And I can’t wait to see Dame Judi Dench again because her sense of humor and behavior as 007’s boss M is expanded herein. Or so they rumor. (When last we left M and James Bond it almost seemed as if her feelings for him extended beyond mere professional respect.)

Judi appreciates her new Bond in real life, they say, and it comes across. But hero Craig says fame has its drawbacks. He has to behave, privately. He can’t get drunk or go skinny dipping.

I’m sure it’s healthier for an actor with a strong character not to get drunk, but let’s take a poll on his skinny-dipping. No fan would begrudge him. And anyway, we’ve all already seen him naked in a couple of films where he wasn’t James Bond.

This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 10/10/12

One comment so far.

  1. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Chanel No.5 is indeed iconic. I would prefer to see George Clooney promoting it, but Brad I am sure will do in a pinch.  :-)    Call me old fashion, but I have a hard time lusting after a cheater.

    You know Liz, Sean Connery was the sexist and most seductive 007 of them all, but once I saw that interview he gave in which he admitted to hitting his wife and his belief it is not only good but necessary to hit women from time to time…..he became less attractive in my eyes.

    However, Daniel Craig as 007 confounds me. He is not in any way shape or form physically attractive to me. Nope, not a lick. As a matter of fact physically I would say he is unattractive. Yet he has a charisma….this special chemistry that wafts off him that is ……..addicting. He is sexy in that kind of sexy way that makes a woman want to run in the opposite way because she knows he is trouble! :-) His voice, his walk, his mannerisms, he is the deifinition of sex!

    BUT, much like Jon Hamm that plays Don Draper on Mad Men, they are only sexy in the roles they play. In real life they are geeky and awkward. I watched Daniel Craig host SNL and I couldn’t believe how small he looks. Not just physically but emotionally as well. Insignificant. Hamm is the same way.