From the age of 10 Willow Smith has been labelled a fashion icon following on from her first single ‘Whip My Hair’ which saw her splashing vibrant colours into the monochrome setting of daily life. Even then there was something fearless in the way she dressed, never holding back on lip diamantes or audacious patterns, an element of which can be seen in her style even today. Despite the primary coloured attire, there has always been something mature about her.
At the time Willow described the message of her debut single as; “just be an individual…you have to be yourself and you can’t let anyone tell you that that’s wrong.” This is by no means a new theme, it is common amongst the children’s films and TV shows aimed at ‘Whip My Hair’s’ target audience. It is the fact that she seems to have held on to this ideal even as she’s grown up and worked her way into the somewhat more prestigious world of fashion that suggests maturity beyond 15 years. On appointment as Chanel’s Ambassador in March 2016 she remarked; “all I can do from here is continue to shift paradigms and continue to push the envelope further and further. But I am doing it every day just by being myself.”
“Willow’s natural hair, septum piercing and eccentric make-up advance Chanel’s ‘edgy’ image, a process which Willow describes as ‘expanding the perceptions of “beauty””
At 15 Willow is the youngest brand ambassador at Chanel, but she unmistakably manages to successfully ‘push the envelope’ through her personal style. Historically, the faces of Chanel have been conventional beauties such as Blake Lively or Kate Moss, but Willow’s natural hair, septum piercing and eccentric make-up advance Chanel’s ‘edgy’ image, a process which Willow describes as ‘expanding the perceptions of “beauty”’. It can be assumed through her Instagram hashtags #ChanelAmbassador and #ExpandParadigms that this is a subtle comment for the need for more inclusivity in the fashion and beauty industry – something that seems achievable by such an influential brand as Chanel.
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel creative director) met Willow at a fashion shoot for V magazine in 2013, where Willow was asked to bring her own clothes for inclusion in the shoot. Throughout the shoot Lagerfeld found himself using more of her clothes than his. However, it was not just her fashion sense that impressed him, he was also surprised she had turned down the role of Annie in the Hollywood film co-directed by her father in order to live an independent life as a seventh grader. In 2015 she gave up her normal life and signed a modelling contract with the Society Management (same agency as Kendall Jenner) as well as bringing out her album ARDIPETHECUS. 2016 sees her model life continuing with the responsibilities of Chanel Ambassador which include occupying the front row seat at Chanel shows, starring in campaigns and sporting much Chanel clothing. Recently she appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue in an arresting photoshoot, so who knows what else 2016 will bring for Willow? Perhaps more importantly, will the world be ready for it?