Believe it or not, there is now a super-duper director’s cut of the Louis Vuitton Bowie ad. Since everyone seemed to like the other post, I decided to create an extension and even set out how the short film both parallels and can be contrasted with Labyrinth.
First of all, I have no doubt in my mind that Louis Vuitton knew what they were doing. I find it unlikely that they put as much thought into it as I’m about to, but they unquestionably knew of Labyrinth and give nods to the ballroom scene in their short film, L’Invitation au Voyage. People with gold skin and hand-shaped masks don’t wind up in your advertising campaign by accident.
Since the similarities are blatant, I’d like to dwell briefly on the differences which mainly centre around the female character – Sarah in Labyrinth, and Arizona Muse in the short film. The most striking difference between the two characters is confidence. Sarah is awed and stumbles through the ballroom, caught up involuntarily in the adult world embodied by both the guests and Bowie himself. Muse is all confidence – her gaze is consciously direct, her walk purposeful. She remains unaffected by the throng of strange dancers that surrounds her.
Bowie responds to Muse in the same ways Jareth responds to Sarah – he is immediately captivated by her, and they exchange drawn out, longing looks. He sings to her. The difference again is that Muse responds to his attentions with pleasure. The strange madness and sensuality of the dancers doesn’t seem to affect her, and the short film ends with her closing her eyes and smiling blissfully as she leaves the ball. Presumably, she’s uncertain if she’s just woken from a dream or been sent from a fantastical, bewitching ball by magic.
This is ripe material for fanfic writers. Seriously, Muse could easily be interpreted as a far more confident and grown-up Sarah who’s returned to see what she missed as a teenager. The strange depravity of the ball no longer frightens her; instead, it’s transporting (quite literally, since she seems to exit from the pleasure of it).
Overall, beautifully done.