Last week, Pharrell Williams made history as the first man to ever front a handbag campaign for Chanel. In a video released by the historic Parisian fashion house, the musician enters an empty soundstage wearing one of the brand's tweed blazers, while the camera pans to the black alligator and lambskin hobo bag hanging beside him. Though Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne and couture muse Caroline de Maigret will also take part in the campaign, Karl Lagerfeld, who has helmed Chanel since 1983, said his intention was to show that the bag can be worn in "many different circumstances." For instance, by men who may (or may not) be 11-time Grammy winners.
The partnership comes as gender binaries have become increasingly conflated on the runways over the past two years. Alessandro Michele's Gucci collections — an androgynous combustion of sequins, lace and all-over mesh — and Raf Simons' debut runway for Calvin Klein in February are two highly successful recent examples that have palpably set a different tone on the red carpet. Comfortably wearing Chanel womenswear isn't entirely new for Pharrell either; he sported a peach tweed blazer for the 2016 Grammy Awards, walked the Metiers d'Art pre-fall runway in December at the Ritz Paris and regularly piles on the brand's fine jewelry. He also dipped his toes in the unisex footwear market last year, creating a collection of super-saturated Stan Smith sneakers for Adidas, part of a partnership going back to 2014, that sold out in less than 48 hours.