Fashionistas and couture fans take note: Chanel has named their new ambassador. The next woman to take over the lauded position of being the face for the most famous brand in the world is non other than Charlotte Casiraghi, the Monegasque royal and daughter of Caroline, Princess of Hanover.
The appointment made by new creative director Virginie Viard is a return to Madame Chanel’s original penchant for traditional European society figures, steering away from a long run of Hollywood and fashion icons that have taken the mantel for the last 60+ years.
Casiraghi joins a long illustrious line of women that have shaped the look and spirit of the French high fashion brand throughout the ages. Beyond just being the outward face of Chanel, each woman has encapsulated her era and put forward a new step for how the brand will be perceived by shoppers everywhere.
DDW takes a look through the ages at the women at the face of Chanel:
Born and raised in Beverley Hills to a model mother and actor father, Bergen was born into Hollywood. She quickly gained fame throughout the 1960’s first as a model then as an actor and was tapped by Chanel to represent their fragrances. Her girl next door allure and strong femininity were iconic to the brand’s representation across America.
MacGraw was selected by Chanel for the brand’s all-important beauty campaign in 1966 as a relatively unknown model, and just four short years later, she was a major movie star winning the Golden Globe and being considered as one of the hottest young talents in cinema.
Model, singer, actor, entrepreneur – Deneuve proved she can do it all (she was even the official ‘face’ of the country of France for a while!). In the 1970s Chanel spotted her incredible energy and selected her as the face of Chanel No. 5, their marquee fragrance. This proved to be winning idea and sales of No. 5 shot up across all of America.
Ines De La Fressange
As the most well known model of the early 1980’s, Ines de la Fressange encapsulated everything the modern woman was; powerful, strong, intelligent, independent and glamorous. Chanel had to have her and they signed their first ever all exclusive modelling deal with her in 1983. She held the position for years until a reported falling out with then creative director Karl Lagerfeld in 1989 who barred her from the brand. They made up however and in 2011 she walked for the brand’s runway show once more. As an interesting aside, De la Fressange was a close friend of the Birley’s and Yves Saint Laurent muse Loulou de la Falaise for whom the London nightclub is named.
Jumping across to the 90’s we see a shift to return to Chanel’s roots and a search was put out for a model that resembled Coco herself and came from refined stock. The brand found their ideal fit in Stella Tennant, the grandchild of Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire and daughter of The Hon. Tobias William Tennant, Baron Glenconner. Like de la Fressange, Tennant signed an exclusive contract with Chanel which started a lifelong collaboration with the brand which lasted until recently (she even opened Chanel’s much lauded runway show in Cuba). Sadly Tennant died recently – days after her 50th birthday and on the very same day that Casiraghi was appointed as the new aristocrat to fill her shoes.
Lagerfeld and Evangelista met in 1985 and quickly became famous collaborators. Evangelista’s supermodel look became iconic of the 90’s era and of Lagerfeld’s growing prowess with the Chanel brand. She stayed close to the French label for decades later, even appearing in a 2013 F/W show.
Now firmly in the supermodel era of the 90’s, Schiffer takes the baton from Evangelista to join the ranks. Her stunning amazon looks and presence catapult her to worldwide fame and a longstanding relationship as a Chanel muse.
Grunge rock and alternative lifestyles are all the rage in the mid 90s and Lagerfeld embraces this fully with Kristen McMenamy who brought edge and personality to the runway. Not only does she star in multiple Chanel campaigns, she goes on to become a close personal friend of Lagerfeld, to the extent that she asked him to give her away at her wedding, a request which he fulfilled gladly.
Carrying on with the edge factor, Lagerfeld enlists British billionaire it-girl Alice Dellal for a campaign – she appears with a shaved head, nose rings and a scowl to match. A true rocker departure from Chanel’s typical classic feminine figures but one dripping with cool points.
Kidman has always been a big name but after Moulin Rouge she was a household one. Chanel tapped her for their new campaign paying a reported £33 for her involvement, a staggering figure at the time (and still).
Allen was the quintessential Brit rocker chick of the early 00’s and she became the face of Chanel during that time – even performing live at the S/S show in Paris. Lagerfeld even designed the dress for Lily’s ultimately failed marriage to Sam Cooper her longtime boyfriend.
The Gossip Girl star caught the eye of Karl as he was looking for the next all-American ‘it’ girl. Lively fit the bill with her blonde locks and boundless charisma. The resultant Chanel campaign took her to A-list status and indirectly brought her to meet her future actor husband Ryan Reynolds.
Another ‘it’ girl but this time from London – Delevinge sky rocketed to fashion royalty through her Chanel campaign. Since then she has become the biggest model of the decade, taking over where Kate Moss left off and has starred in Hollywood blockbusters and even released an album.
Kiera has long been associated with Chanel and is even the face of the fragrance Coco Mademoiselle. Aside from featuring in all the fragrances campaigns she has made frequent appearances at the Chanel PFW show and has represented the brand on the red carpet.
Stewart is a return for the brand of the edgy rocker actor girl, her trademark attitude and screen presence made her a perfect fit for Chanel’s new fragrance Gabrielle (consequently this was Coco’s real name) and she has been tied to the brand since 2012.
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ daughter is stunning to say the least – her striking looks made her a shoe-in for becoming a Chanel muse. She’s already walked the runway and appeared in key advertisements so we are sure we will see more of her in Chanel in the years to come.
On January 1st 2021, Casiraghi will take over as the new face of Chanel. She will embody the campaign for the Spring-Summer 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection and will be unveiling, along with Chanel’s Virginie Viard, “Les Rendez-vous littéraires rue Cambon” [Literary rendezvous at rue Cambon], a project perpetuating Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld’s unconditional love for literature’.
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