celia ellenberg

Certain Women : With a new scent franchise and a fresh new face, Chanel is redefining feminity in fragrance.

by Celia Ellenberg for Vogue Magazine.

When Kristen Stewart shaved off her choppy, chin-grazing strands in early March, leaving behind a prickly fuzz tinted a shade of icy corn silk, there seemed to be a brief moment when the world- as far as it exists on celebrity-news feeds- stopped spinning. “Circumstances really just worked out, because I had been wanting to do it forever,” the 27-year-old actress reveals a few weeks post-buzz cut from the New Orleans set of her new film, Underwater. A close shave made logistical sense for the big-budget, action-packed drama, which required Stewart to be in mechanical-engineer garb – with helmet- for much of its running time. Plus, the streamlined style has been essential to conveying a certain “strength” on-camera, she reveals- the kind needed by an unlikely heroine who must overcome a cataclysmic chain of events. But Stewart wants to make one thing clear: It is by no means intended to read as masculine. “Immediately after I did it, I felt undeniably feminine,” she explains. The décolletage-exposing look has also made her feel longer and leaner, subsequently opening her up to wearing brighter colors, new neck-lines, and a surprising fragrance that refuses to be pigeonholed as just another floral.

“It smells really good-particularly on me,” Stewart says with a laugh while discussing Gabrielle Chanel’s first blockbuster scent franchise in fifteen years. As someone whose own olfactory history has precarious roots- “To be quite honest, I love Old Spice”- the Twilight star turned Cannes darling wasn’t necessarily the woman perfumer Olivier Polge had in mind when he started work on the jasmine, orange-flower, and ylang-ylang blend that includes an exclusive strain of creamy tuberose distilled from Chanel’s private gardens in Grasse. But Gabrielle, the fragrance, much like its namesake, Gabrielle Chanel- before she was Coco – is hard to pin down.

In our increasingly gender-agnostic society, where fragrances are skewing increasingly unisex, billing something as deliberately feminine, as Polge has with his latest creation, is almost novel. But perhaps it’s time to reassess how we apply this term in a beauty context. “It’s not girlie or frilly in any way,” insists Stewart, who will star as the face of the perfume, out in September. Instead, the golden bevelled bottle conjures what she describes as Chanel’s “basic essence”- what the French call insoumission, a word that fails somewhere between rebelliousness and disobedience in English, although Stewart’s own definition, having an “unshakable” quality, more accurately describes it.

In her role as a Chanel ambassador, Stewart has been indoctrinated into the lore surrounding the French house’s founder. She has toured Mademoiselle’s Paris apartment, and she has been brought up to speed on the trysts and turns that helped take her from an orphaned cabaret singer to a milliner, couturier, perfumer, brand builder, and an all-around expectations-defier whose legend continues to resonate with women globally 107 years after she opened her first store on the Rue Cambon. But the way Stewart connects to Chanel’s nonconformity feels refreshingly unsponsored. “It’s hard to speak about yourself in that way, but I like to imagine that I act on my own accord, and there’s nothing really exterior that would derail the deepest things that keep me going.” She acknowledges of her own driving force “I feel kind of worthy of it at this point in my life,” Stewart says of Gabrielle’s unapologetic scent profile. “Which is a great feeling.”

Kristen Stewart in Vogue Magazine wearing Jillian Dempsey punk lock necklace, Photo by Mario Testino, Styling by Tara Swennen, Chanel official, Hair by Adir Abergel, Make up Jamie Greenberg. Photo shared by Jillian Dempsey

Damon Baker for Chanel & Madame Figaro at Cannes 2017 with Kristen Stewart. Love his comments, coincide with the wink of Kristen in an earlier photo by Mario Testino. And SO excited about Gabrielle Chanel frangrance out in Sept!

Obsessed: Model Imaan Hammam's Hair by Celia Ellenberg via vogue.com

Dutch model Imaan Hammam exudes a certain “who’s that girl?” quality, which comes with the territory when you book a Givenchy exclusive in Paris; the seventeen-year-old stunner walked Riccardo Tisci’s spring 2014 runway last fall, marking a Fashion Week rite of passage that also launched the careers of Joan Smalls and Lara Stone. Since then, we’ve come down with a serious case of hair envy, openly stalking Hammam’s long, thick, dark curls on Instagram (@hammamimaan). “My mom is from Morocco—from the South, where people are much darker, and have [textured] hair, and my father is from Egypt. He doesn’t have any hair lately, but in his younger years, he had a big Afro,” Hammam jokes of the genetic pairing that has yielded her own signature strands (which editorial pro James Pecis recently teased into a sexy, steamy cloud for the January issue of Vogue).

“I like to leave it natural most of the time,” she says of rarely straightening her hair, unless given good reason—like, say, for Calvin Klein Collection’s recent pre-fall show, where (spoiler alert) it looked just as good worn sleek, ironed, and center-parted for the runway.

A sworn believer in argan oil, which she regularly layers with Aunt Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard, Hammam embraces a broader beauty sensibility that favors ease over fussiness. “I don’t use a lot of makeup,” says the Amsterdam-born fashion student who sticks to “Max Factor mascara”, “a lot of Eos lip balm,” and lets her hair do the rest of the proverbial talking.

Still, she says she could be talked into a transformative trim by the right backstage hairstylist. “I wore a very short wig for [a recent shoot], and I looked in the mirror and I thought, This is kind of beautiful!,” she admits. With a full month of fashion shows just around the corner, anything can happen.