"In this one, she's much more recognizable," said Antoine Arnault, Vuitton's communications director, who allowed that the actress is not always immediately identifiable in the current spring ads in her role as the French-coquette-on-a-swing.
Nevertheless, Arnault dubbed the current campaign a success. He noted that Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs "adores" Johansson and based his fall-winter collection for the house around her character in "Girl With a Pearl Earring," the 2003 feature film about a peasant girl who becomes the model for 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's most famous work.
The fall campaign, lensed by Vuitton regulars Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, plays up the painterly colors of the ready-to-wear. "It's probably one of the most beautiful campaigns Mert and Marcus have ever shot," Arnault said. "It's a very iconic campaign."
Arnault, son of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault and a member of LVMH's board, said Johansson was at ease during the shoot, held in a studio in her hometown of Los Angeles in late March. In fact, during a lunch break, the photographers were so struck by the combination of light and Johansson that they snapped some impromptu black-and-white portraits that will be featured in a future issue of Pop magazine.
Jacobs, who had been undergoing rehabilitation treatment in Arizona, was not present at the shoot, but had given the impetus and direction for the campaign, in sync with a collection based on a rich, earthy palette and feminine glamour, Arnault noted.
Each image highlights Vuitton's leather goods — entry-priced totes one month, degradé or shearling monogram handbags the next — with Johansson reclining against a simple backdrop of curtains and divans.
Arnault declined to pinpoint budgets, but said investments would be higher for the crucial fall-winter selling season. Analysts have estimated Vuitton spends more than $250 million annually on advertising, most of it print-driven.