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!