Landing a Chanel campaign is a big deal for any model. Over more than a century, the brand has become a true cultural icon thanks to the work of founder Coco Chanel, longtime creative director Karl Lagerfeld, and countless other contributors including new artistic head Virginie Viard, earning a ubiquitous (and oft-copied) appearance in the fashion world and becoming one of the select brands your least couture-oriented friend can definitely still name. Think of any supermodel and they're likely to have walked Chanel at some point, or look at the latest season's casting and you will see exactly who is about to make it big. So when one of the industry's most prominent transgender models lands a campaign for the French house's beauty sector, the moment of accomplishment is especially major.
This exact scenario just happened to Teddy Quinlivan, who has built a successful runway career walking for major brands over the past several seasons as well as covered several publications including our inaugural digital issue. She came out as a transgender woman during fashion month in September 2017, after first making a name for herself without the world yet knowing her identity. And while every moment like this undoubtedly attracts some degree of debate due to continued divide over LGBTQ acceptance, this news largely helped her career to skyrocket, leading many in the industry to celebrate her even more as she became a favorite of Louis Vuitton and Moschino, had a showstopping moment in a Ludovic de Saint Sernin naked dress, and continued to speak out about her identity and experience. Now, being the face of feminine beauty for the world's biggest fashion house just takes her recognition to the next level.
"When I came out, I knew I’d stop working with some brands. I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again," Quinlivan said in an Instagram post about her accomplishment. "But here I am in Chanel Beauty Advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community."
While we haven't known much about Viard's vision for the house of Chanel beyond a stellar library-themed couture collection, it looks like the brand will be taking an exciting new direction in all aspects in seasons to come. Here's to a new era, and major congratulations to Quinlivan on her incredible accomplishment.