Fashion films have been gaining popularity over the years as a way for brands to market themselves online. These days, a brand can just upload a film to YouTube, alert a few press outlets, maybe buy some advertising, and watch the page views go up.
However, unlike videos in the the beauty category, which are largely made-at-home and instructional, the most successful fashion clips tend to have higher production values (thanks to brands’ no-doubt massive budgets) and are often filled with celebrities. Digital research firm L2 assembled a list of the most-viewed fashion videos on YouTube as of Nov. 2013. The quality of and interest in the videos has gone up over time. Last year, for instance, only one brand — Dior — put out a film that garnered more than 10 million views. Now, eight of the top 10 exceeded that figure.
At the top of the list is Louis Vuitton’s new L’Invitation au Voyage, starring David Bowie. Since hitting the internet on Nov. 7, it’s already gotten about twice as many views as Dior’s Secret Garden – Versailles, which went live 19 months ago.
Chanel also cracked the top 10, although that’s more thanks to Brad Pitt’s incoherent rambling rather than Karl Lagerfeld’s directorial efforts, of which he’s had a couple this year. L2 also included videos that were technically schilling beauty products — namely, fragrances — by fashion brands, which is why Chanel No. 5 and Dior Homme perfumes were included in the roundup.
Clearly, fashion films aren’t a passing trend. They’re a way for brands to get across their message to a potentially wide array of people. Some companies are even tapping big-name film directors: Prada has worked with Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, and Dolce & Gabbana brought on Martin Scorsese to direct Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey in a recent ad. A few smaller brands are even using the format in lieu of putting on a runway show, prompting Style.com to stage a whole “Video Fashion Week” this year.
And, judging by some of those on this list, brands are using video as a chance to get pretty abstract and “artsy.” Brad Pitt’s Chanel No. 5 commercial may have been the most publicized instance, but a lot of these don’t actually make a whole lot of sense.
Which is part of what makes them so fun to watch. Check out the top 10 below.
1. L’Invitation au Voyage With David Bowie by Louis Vuitton: 32,999,078 views
2. L’Invitation au Voyage (2012) by Louis Vuitton: 20,222,957 views
3. Secret Garden – Versailles by Christian Dior: 17,598,095 views
4. THE HILFIGERS in VOYAGE SEAFARIUS by Tommy Hilfiger: 15,302,754 views
5. Dior Homme — Uncensored Official Director’s Cut by Christian Dior: 15,046,970 views
6. J’adore Dior Le Parfum — Le Film by Christian Dior: 12,003,905 views
7. Calvin Klein Underwear Push Positive by Calvin Klein: 10,902,355 views
8. Secret Garden 2 — Versailles by Christian Dior: 10,147,140 views
9. There You Are — Chanel No.5 Part 1 by Chanel: 8,208,462 views
10. Dior J’Adore (TV Film) by Christian Dior: 7,140,479 views