Jacques Helleu, Artistic Director for Chanel Parfums and Clocks, passed away on Friday 28 September 2007 at the age of 69. Marie-Louise de Clermont-Tonnerre, the director of Chanel Communication told AFP that the news came as a shock as Jacques Helleu had told no one about his sickness.........
Helleu joined the house of Chanel in 1956 at the age of 18 where his father, Jean Helleu, had been working since the 1920s. He is also the grand-son of painter Paul Helleu.
A book entitled Jacques Helleu and Chanel co-authored by Jacques Helleu and Laurence Benaim was published in 2005.
Jacques Helleu most recently oversaw the ad campaign for Coco Mademoiselle for which he himself hand-picked Keira Knightly. Luxury watch aficionados point to his legacy which includes the Première watch and the mythical J12.
You can read more about the news and his work here.
WWD also has an article about his life and work, which includes testimonials,
"Ines de la Fressange — who was photographed for Chanel ads, including for Coco — lauded Helleu for his ease, critical sense ("often with a lot of humor") and exigency "to never do things in a mediocre fashion."
Other excerpts from the article,
"Helleu was the driving force behind the image of the Chanel beauty business, whose No.5 fragrance remains the perennial bestseller worldwide. Helleu, who joined Chanel at age 18, was also in charge of image for the company's fine jewelry and its watch collection, for which he designed the timepieces, such as the J12.
Under his tutelage, the company has had a long history of cinematic and fantasy-themed advertising in both film and print form, counting Catherine Deneuve, Ali MacGraw, Candice Bergen, Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman and, most recently, Keira Knightley among its celebrity pitchwomen. Filmmakers and photographers who have worked on Chanel campaigns include Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Jean-Paul Goude, Baz Luhrmann, Luc Besson and Ridley Scott."
(Photo from World Tempus)