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Eva Mendes on Harnesses and Singing for Thierry Mugler

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Eva Mendes with designer Thierry Mugler at the party
to launch her ad campaign for Mugler's Angel fragrance.

“Have you ever been suspended from a harness?”  Eva Mendes asked a crowd of fashionable New Yorkers last night. “No? Because I highly recommend it.”

Mendes glowed in a custom Thierry Mugler gown, paired with vintage jewels by Fred Leighton and silver mirrored Christian Louboutin heels.

So quipped the actress on her ethereal incarnation in the new ad campaign for Thierry Mugler's legendary fragrance, Angel—an occasion she celebrated yesterday evening at Chelsea's suitably sci-fi chic IAC building, alongside the designer, and Naomi Watts (a former Mugler Angel herself). Though the misty late-June weather could have turned the celebration into bait for “muggy Mugler” jokes, everything inside was chilled to frosty perfection—even the bar glowed an eerie, immaculate blue, perfect for the mysterious ambiance that defines Mugler.

“I'm so excited to be involved with such a beautiful, iconic brand,” Mendes enthused to the gathered crowd, as she unveiled Angel's promotional film. She added with a wink, “I've literally been wearing Angel since I was in high school—so we go WAY back.”

Back to this harness business, then: As hinted, Mendes ventures into anti-gravity and acrobatic territory in her turn as Mugler's latest muse. In the new Angel fragrance film and still campaign—directed by Baillie Walsh, photographed by the incomparable Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin—Mendes falls into a gorgeous dream state and stars as the queen of two distinct fantasies: the innocent joie de vivre of the Eau de Toilette reverie (think cotton candy, carnival lights) and the enchanting supernova of the more sophisticated Eau de Parfum trance sequence (radiant strobes on a celestial dancefloor).

Indeed, Mendes' Angel film is the most musical of any Mugler campaign (unless, of course, Lady Gaga were to become the new Alien ambassador—and it wouldn't shock us). The event's biggest surprise came after screening the film, when the actress casually added, “By the way, that was me singing.”

There were a few audible gasps in the audience, then a round of applause. Her unusual choice of song? “Windmills of Your Mind,”  a '60s hit originally featured in The Thomas Crown Affair.  She did the sultry song justice. Clarins CEO Christian Cortin-Clarins admitted to us he was even stunned. “We didn't know she sang!” he told us. “It was quite the surprise. But she's quite the multi-faceted artist."

Mendes, clearly pleased at the audience's shock at her vocal prowess, says she loved tapping into her “serene side” on the shoot. “It was creatively satisfying in every way.” she said. A behind-the-scenes video shows Mendes working with a vocal coach, but the actress explained to us the recording process was primarily an intimate one, calling it an "organic and personal" journey. She knew when it felt right.

"I was listening to a lot of music while we filmed—Maria Callas, Nina Simone for the Parfum sequence; juvenile, fun stuff like Lily Allen for the Toilette sequence. Surrounding myself by music influenced my own performance.”