Is it any surprise that Spike Jonze's commercial for Kenzo's latest fragrance, Kenzo World, is better that 94 percent of all music videos around right now? Uh, no. The man's brain is a wonder and he's been directing some of pop culture's most era-defining promos since the 90s.
These days it's less about making music vids glossy and impressive and more about being inventive on a shoestring—take a teeny tiny budget and stretch it like Gumby. Spike's has long since moved on, but this fashion ad is essentially a music video for Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums, featuring Assassin, for a song called "Mutant Brain." As you may or may not know Sam makes music as N.A.S.A. and is Spike's brother, meanwhile Kenzo's creative masterminds are Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the latter of which is one of the director's closest pals. The pair also co-founded Opening Ceremony and the trio have been frequent collaborators over the years.
In this clip 21-year-old Margaret Qualley, who you may recognize from The Leftovers, finds herself at a staid awards ceremony, politely listening to the speeches, wearing a rather spectacular, multi-tiered green Kenzo gown. It's when she slips out into the hallway, a tear or two sliding down her peachy cheeks, that shit really gets interesting. The song is agressive, slamming into your ears with cut and paste beats Pro-Tooled to make your body move and boy does Qualley convulse to the beat. With a pitch perfect mix of elegance, goofiness and total demonic possession—as choreographed by Ryan Heffington, of Sia's "Chandelier" fame—Qualley demolishes her grandiose surroundings with a flip and a kick and a lazer finger or three.