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Beautiful as Boy

9 janvier 2019

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Chanel launches a short make-up line for men called Boy, named after Gabrielle Chanel's lover. An initiative in line with our era where gender has become an economic and political issue. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.

Gabrielle Chanel and Boy Capel had met at Royallieu, on the estate of Etienne Balsan, a rich heir whose master Gabrielle was. It did not take long before love changed sides.

When in 1910, Coco Chanel decided to create his milliner workshop at 21 rue Cambon, Boy Capel lent him the necessary amount of money. As soon as her business allowed her, she repaid him until the last cent. He was the first man to believe in her.

Despite the powerful feeling that bound them, Boy Capel married another woman in 1918, but a year later, the couple was close to divorce. 22 December 1919, on a country road, Boy lost his life in a car accident. "I lost while losing Capel", says Gabrielle Chanel years later.

I do not know if Boy Capel was making up like the stars of the silent cinema: in the photographs, we see the smoky eye and the lacquered hair, but that does not mean anything. What I do know, however, is that fifteen years after Jean-Paul Gaultier launched his men's makeup line "Tout Beau Tout Propre" on a market not yet ready to receive it, Chanel is launching a fund complexion, a lip balm and an eyebrow pen for men named Boy.

Men - women too - can buy it online and since January at Chanel boutiques. These products with minimalist effects, designed to embellish more than to make up, aim to enter gently into the cosmetic routines of men. We do not risk much with a transparent lip balm or an eyebrow pencil. The line, still shy, is in total adequacy with this time when one tends to blur the borders separating the genres, until sometimes wanting to erase them. It should also redefine the men's and women's departments of some shops.

In launching this line, it is as if the house was going backwards. Gabrielle Chanel borrowed from beloved men their tweed jackets and was inspired to dress her high fashion clients. We are witnessing a curious reversal of the rules. For some years now, Karl Lagerfeld has been putting men on the runways wearing clothes that are not (yet) commercially available. Pharrell Williams is the brand's male ambassador and co-creator of a spring-summer 2019 capsule collection that will be on sale in the Chanel flagship store in Seoul on March 29 and as early as April 4 in the rest of the world. Chanel creates men's perfumes, men's watches, men's aftershaves and now a men's make-up line. When is the men's ready-to-wear line? It is approached by concentric circles.