Amanda, you relocated from Brazil to Paris in 2000. What inspired your decision to make that move?

The first inspiration was really the passion for traveling. At that point, I just wanted to travel around. I was 16 when I moved to Barcelona to study because I have family there, and at 18, I returned to Brazil. 

However, I couldn’t stay there. I needed to move and continue traveling. For about three years, I traveled to Japan, New York, and many other places before arriving in Paris. 

Initially, though, it was really just the desire to explore new places, and traveling was the focus.

What part of Brazil are you from?

I’m from São Paulo.

So luck found you in Paris! Almost upon arriving, in 2001, you were appointed the In-House model at Chanel. What an incredible opportunity. How did it all transpire? 

I was in the right place, at the right time, I guess. It was a casting, and they were looking for a model for fittings for Haute Couture.  It was only for one season. Of course, it was amazing to be introduced to Chanel, and I was lucky enough to work with them. At that point, though, it was only for one month, so it was really just building day by day. 

I didn’t expect to stay that long, not even for a year or two. It was day by day, step by step. I knew I was lucky every day. I would have been impressed if someone had told me then that I was going to stay there for more than 20 years.

They really must have felt the Brazilian energy, and then couldn’t let you go!

Easy going vibe!

You are currently CHANEL’s In-House Fashion Ambassador and In-House model for Haute Couture, but as you mentioned, you started as an In-House fitting model. What does this role entail? 

I was the one who tried every single piece, from the first pieces of the collection until the show. I was there, in the studio and the ateliers with the “première” of the ateliers

I would try every single piece to be sure they were perfect. Piece by piece. Then, just before the show, when they would put everything together to create the individual looks for the show. I was also lucky enough to walk the shows, as well, for all those years.

An amazing lesson in style! If you get to see all the stylings, for all the collections, for all the shows…

I keep learning…

I read that Virginie Viard once designed a pre-collection inspired by your style. How did it feel to have such a personal connection with the brand?

I felt so honored. It was an honor, and it arrived after so many years in the house. I had been there for more than 18 years, so it was already a very strong relationship. 

I was amazed by it– it was about Brazil, about my childhood, and it was a mix of the woman I became, both while in Paris and at Chanel. It was this mix of Parisian and Brazilian style. 

It was amazing to see how every person in the studio works on the creation process–  like how they see me actually, how they imagine my style. I didn’t have any creative points on it, but I was there every day just giving my advice, like, “Yeah, that feels totally me.” It went too fast.

So this week we were together in Marseille– a city known to be the pulsating heart of the Mediterranean– for Chanel’s latest Cruise collection. Was this your first time in the city?

It was actually my second time. I had been there once before, but I didn’t know Marseille that well.

How did you feel the energy and atmosphere during the show this week?

It was wet and electric, but I guess it became something special because we all expected that it was going to be blue skies and sunny. Yet the way it turned out– because that’s Marseille as well–  it was windy and everything a bit more gray. 

I think it makes something special about the collection. It fits pretty well, like with the building of Le Corbusier.

Yes! The concrete lines, the colors, the radical energy that the city has. Sometimes, it makes it even more memorable than if it were just picture perfect.

We’re all going to remember…

In her show notes, Virginie Viard says, “the sun, architecture, music, and dance. Marseille also has a very strong sense of freedom.” What does freedom mean to you?

Freedom means everything. The freedom of traveling. The freedom of making my own choices. The freedom of movement, which is a very special, particular thing about Chanel, as well, because that’s how Chanel started. 

Gabrielle created the freedom of movement, and a woman was supposed to feel comfortable to do whatever she wants. I think it all comes from freedom, and I’m lucky enough to be free—a free woman in the 21st century— and lucky enough to be in France where this freedom can be totally respected.

Which elements of the Cruise 2024/25 collection resonated with your personal style?

I have a few things that I really identify with, but I really love the fishnet knitwear in yellow and green. The green with the bathing suits in tweed with the buttons– it was just the perfect outfit. Also, my love for this collection really goes to all those white dresses.

How do you perceive the brand’s commitment to showcasing its collections in unique and culturally significant locations, like this show at La Cité Radieuse, or in Dakar, Manchester, and all these vibrant places that are perhaps outside the fashion radar?

What’s nice about Virginie is that she’s not interested in going to a place and only making a show. She loves to build strong connections and they are artistic. They are from the music and everything they create around. It’s a real relationship with the city. 

In Marseille you could see that in the exposition. This connection is very important. It’s also to bring something and to show Chanel in a different way.

I really enjoyed the curation they did at 19M, and I even saw a Venezuelan artist who created this fantastic hammock with Atelier Montex. So it’s still a dialogue with Paris.

Her work was beautiful! It’s always a dialogue in between.

Could you describe the perfect day in Marseille?

A perfect day in Marseille would start with breakfast at Panier. It’s an area that’s just nice to walk around, and for sure, you have to go for a walk at Notre Dame de la Garde. The church is beautiful and you have a beautiful view of Marseille. 

You should also watch the sunset at Frioul Islands. You can take the boat, and it’s a very beautiful place nearby. Then end up with dinner at the Tuba Club.

If you have time, go to watch a football game at the Velodrome because football is a very important thing in Marseille. It’s part of the city’s culture, as well.

Images courtesy of Amanda Sanchez.