Giving her a break from being called a tattooed, homewrecking temptress, Angelina Jolie is under fire this week for appearing in an advertisement for Louis Vuitton. In Cambodia. In a swamp. Okay and she has a $10,000 handbag with her. But still. Is that any reason to get in a tizz?
The advertisement is part of Louis Vuitton’s “Core Values” campaign which in the past has featured Bono and Sean Connery. The idea is to photograph celebs in locations which are deeply meaningful to them. Hence Bono is photographed in Africa. Connery in Scotland. And Jolie in Cambodia – the country where her eldest son Maddox was born. The campaign is all about physical and emotional journeys. Or something. I dunno. The point is Ange and Louis Vuitton are being accused of showing “bad taste” for shooting a luxury brand advertisement in an impoverished region.
Here’s what the Guardian in the UK had to say about it.
“The response has not been one of unguarded rejoicing. Some have argued that if you travel upriver in a very poor country with mosquitos and ferocious river beasts threatening your life and sanity, you might not want to take a £7,000 bag with you. Perhaps using poor countries as the backdrop to show off your luxury goods isn’t in the best possible taste?” You can read the full story here.
Okay, so she’s a bit weird and she did kiss her brother at the Oscars that one time but Angelina Jolie walks the walk. She doesn’t just talk the talk. The actress has been passionate about Cambodia since she first visited in 2000. And her son was born there.
So maybe Ange was trying to get us thinking and seeing Cambodia as a beautiful place that deserves our attention. Maybe she just thought doing the ad meant she got a tax-deductible trip to Cambodia to, you know, visit the kindergartens, health clinics and libraries SHE PAID FOR.
Maybe the bag is made of crocodile skin (it’s hard to tell) and she’s trying to release it back into the wild. Or maybe Angelina Jolie didn’t think any of those things. Maybe she just likes hanging out in swamps (this is Angelina we’re talking about) and she knew she could charge Louis Vuitton a truckload of money which she could then donate to the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in Cambodia.
Rumour has it Jolie was paid $AUS9.3m by LV and websites around the world are hinting she donated the entire amount.
Is it obscene that people pay $10,000 for a handbag? That they wait-list for them? Well, sure. What’s your point? I see this as a means to a great end. I don’t think those Cambodian children who are getting vaccinations and meals and school books are sending out bitchy tweets about how distasteful they think the LV ad is.
*For those wanting a few more details about the shoot (you know you do …) The clothes are Jolie’s own. And the LV Alto bag is also hers, six-years-old and no longer available. How much is her Alto bag worth? Not sure. Some reports say $10,000. Although it wouldn’t be worth that now since – as the mother of six – I’m guessing the bottom of it is covered in old rusks, manky sultanas and the odd Happy Meal toy. LV are considering re-introducing the bag. And apparently Anglelina is wearing “no makeup”. Which, of course, is Hollywood-speak for “She’s wearing shitloads of makeup but a nude lipstick.”
So celebrities — damned if they do. Damned if they don’t. What do you think? Is it bad taste or clever fundraising on Jolie’s part?
Click through the gallery for more of LV’s ‘Core Values’ campaign:
U2's Bono and his wife Ali Hewson