MAN, WHAT A MOVE: Pharrell Williams Hawks Handbags for Chanel
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Chanel
The Gabrielle Bag by Chanel
Pharrell Williams is the first male to spearhead a handbag campaign for Chanel
The Gabrielle Bag by Chanel on the runway of Spring 2017

It was roughly five years ago that Chanel gave us Brad Pitt fronting their signature Chanel No. 5 fragrance, which you might recall as the feminine scent favoured by your better half. It was, dare we say, an avant-garde move considering the veteran actor and long-time sex symbol was doing a poetry reading of sorts coupled with the fact that the fragrance also doesn’t have his demographic in mind. While it generated countless number of parodies online and got others paying attention again to a fragrance that has been a staple of confident women everywhere for decades (not forgetting that more men are clued in to their lady’s preferences), it got others scratching their heads about the marketing algorithm that became as profound as it was polarising. The point is, it worked in generating buzz for watercooler talk. Now, five years later, a familiar marketing move is taking place. As Chanel is about to bombard shelves with their It handbag – the Gabrielle, in this case – they’ve enlisted some familiar faces in the Chanel family to spearhead their campaign: model-actress-eyebrow ambassador Cara Delevingne, former teen idol and pop culture phenom Kristen Stewart, self-proclaimed queen of Parisian chic Caroline de Maigret, and… Pharrell Williams. Yes, the same singer-actor-style god-fountain of youth beneficiary, who has been in more front rows, films, ads for the Parisian fashion house than any other male we know in recent years. On April 3rd (just two days prior to his 44th birthday), Williams will also become the first male to front a handbag campaign for Chanel. Why is this move such a big deal? Not so if you’re a fashion upstart looking to make headlines but very much so for a fashion house that’s one of France’s and high fashion’s national treasures. Think of it as Ricky Martin selling lipsticks for MAC in 2012 or Jaden Smith headlining Louis Vuitton’s womenswear campaign nearly a year ago; when done right, the rewards are huge as it breaks the stereotype of genders. Only time will time what happens from here on, but if there’s anyone breaking walls and balls, it’d be Williams. We’re keeping our eyes peeled.   

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