Chanel Is My BoyFriend

1st September, 2015

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s life and legacy are the stuff of legend, and her nine-year affair with Captain Edward Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel is a pivotal part of the plotline. Boy was lover, muse, business advisor and financial backer to young Coco. They met when she was 26 years old, and he not only funded her first shops but also, through his own dapper style, inspired the essentials of the Chanel look ~ since made recognizable worldwide for its reiterative reliance on knitted blazers and masculine details.

Rumors abound that his untimely, tragic death in an automobile accident spurred Coco to create the famous Chanel No.5 perfume, and that its bottle was inspired either by his whiskey decanter or his toiletry set (depending on who’s telling the story).

Whatever the narrative, what counts is that borrowing from the boys is intrinsic to the Chanel code, a fact most freshly evidenced in this month’s launch of their new Boy.Friend Watch. It is intentionally androgynous and classically elegant, with an elongated, octagonal face that references the bottle cap of that famous No.5 fragrance.

To celebrate the unveiling of this new (but inevitably iconic) timepiece, we set up a hot date between Chanel’s Boy.Friend and supermodel Alina Baikova. It turned out to be a match made in heaven. Chanel describes the Boy.Friend as ‘a mysterious blend of confidence and daintiness, boldness and restraint.’ It’s a description that befits Alina just as well.

In these images (inspired in part by the great photographer Lillian Bassman), Alina instinctively embodies all the shades of bold confidence and restrained daintiness that defined fashion’s first feminist, the incomparable Coco, who stole from the boys to give to the girls. Like the designer herself, Alina is using her voice to make the world a more beautiful place, but where one woman chose fashion, the other has chosen flowers and philanthropy.

Our muse of the moment is both the founder of Alina’s Flowers (a European floral-delivery app whose devotees include Leonardo DiCaprio), as well as an ambassador for The Heart Fund, an organization that fights cardiovascular disease by providing free heart surgery to children in need. Her involvement with The Heart Fund takes Alina from hospitals in India to galas in Saint-Tropez, and she is as deeply committed to the hands-on involvement as to the fund’s equally important fundraising and awareness efforts. We think that makes her the type of thoroughly modern model that Coco Chanel really would dig.

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