Amandla Stenberg is one of Chanel’s newest young muses, and it’s probably no coincidence that the timing lines up perfectly with the brand’s latest boundary-pushing initiatives, specifically, when it comes to gender. While Chanel just launched the campaign for its new Gabrielle bag, casting Pharrell to model an accessory used mostly by women, Stenberg’s ties to Chanel also have much to do with defying stereotypes.
In an exclusive interview with InStyle, Stenberg admits that part of the appeal of working with Chanel is in the brand’s DNA, and the example set by Mademoiselle Chanel, who designed to liberate women from restrictive clothing. Stenberg further points out that “how to use fashion and how to use comfort, for me, a lot of times [means] dressing like a boy.”
While in the photos for the feature, Stenberg opted for a more traditionally feminine sheath dress, she also made a very valid point that gender is not something that needs to dictate style. “I thought that I had to dress a certain way in order to appear female, in order to subscribe to certain beauty standards, in order to look pretty. And once I lifted that limitation off of myself … I was able to recognize that gender is a construct and my clothing can look like whatever I want.”