CHANEL appointed Blake Lively to be the face of its Mademoiselle handbags because of her "spontaneity and fresh youthful image".

The French fashion house surprised many in the industry by choosing the blonde American actress to be the face of their new bag range, ahead of models with the European look they usually choose.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Blake's spontaneity and fresh youthful image have convinced Chanel that she is the right person to represent the house and this range of bags."

Blake - who was highly praised by Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld, who photographed her for the Mademoiselle range - has previously said: "I had other opportunities and I would say, 'Thank you so much, but I am holding out for Chanel. That's who I want to be the face of.

"And people would say, 'Well, that's unrealistic, they only hire Europeans,' and I said: 'Well, how great. I'll be the first then.'"

The addition of Blake has proved controversial, however, with one insider telling that Chanel "would literally fire anyone who admits" they are not happy with her as the face of Mademoiselle handbags.