Chanel: from pop-ups to digital strategies
A giant ocean liner called La Pausa appeared in Paris’ Grand Palais in May to present Chanel’s 2019 cruise collection. Whether simple coincidence or a declaration of intention, it was a moment that marked the brand’s ongoing exploration for new destinations, store models and pop-up formulas – an approach that has been at the centre of the French house’s latest initiatives.
First stop was Italy. For the second consecutive year, Chanel chose the Mediterranean island of Capri to launch a pop-up store that will remain open until 14 October. Located at 16 Via Vittorio Emanuele, the store stocks the Coco Beach collection including summer accessories, ready-to-wear and swimwear. The collection will also be showcased at the luxury brand’s annual ephemeral boutique in the La Mistralée townhouse in St Tropez until 28 October, alongside décor inspired by the docks of the ports of Hamburg, Lagerfeld’s birthplace.
Significant moments from Coco Chanel’s life have permeated most of the luxury brand’s latest creations, including its three new fragrances for men and women conceived by its in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. Inspired by travel, ‘Paris-Deauville’ returns to the founder’s first ever collection in the year 1912, while ‘Paris-Biarritz’ looks back at the brand’s first boutique and studio in France’s Basque Country three years later. ‘Paris-Venise’ is inspired by her refuge after the death of her lover Boy Capel in 1920. On sale since June, the ‘Eaux de Chanel' are available in selected boutiques as well as online.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO COCO
More than just a name, ‘Coco’ has become the common denominator in most Chanel initiatives along with their temporary nature, from the summer collection showcased in selected pop-ups in beach resorts to the latest launches in the beauty and jewellery categories.
An example of this is the Coco Game Club, which has travelled from Tokyo to Paris through Hong Kong to land on the roof of Galeries Lafayette from 21-24 June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. Inspired by gaming arcades, the temporary space will present the Rouge Coco collections, invite customers to receive a makeover by professionals from the house and host live music performances in the evenings. The space will join the Coco Lab space located on the other side of the river at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, also running until 24 June. Dedicated to the Coco Crush jewellery range, the 35 square-metre-space acts as a lab where a mock doctor makes jewellery prescriptions. The concept is young and interactive, and aims to open up the jewellery world to a younger audience, according to Le Bon Marché.
THE POWER OF INSTAGRAM AND OTHER DIGITAL STRATEGIES
Millennials are becoming a priority target market for the luxury industry, and brands are seeking to adapt their strategies, store formats and brand language to attract a young audience that is constantly hungry for new things and wants to interact with content on social media. Instagram’s dominance is absolute and Chanel has reacted accordingly. In March, the French house opened a pop-up titled We Love Coco Beauty House in Los Angeles. The bright pink space dedicated to makeup was opened to celebrate the launch of @welovecoco, an Instagram account that features selfies and photographs taken by the fans of the brand’s beauty collection. The revolutionary move meant that now, not only store décor and themes are specially created for Instagram, but also that users are becoming content creators for the brand.
But this is not the only step the brand has taken in terms of marketing and digital communications. In recent months, Chanel has deepened its relationships with influencers to include exclusive experiences, from fashion show invitations to thematic events for social media stars. Most recently, it invited influencers to Deauville for the launch of its three new fragrances. “Follower numbers are not the most important thing,” the company told FashionNetwork.com. “We encourage medium and long-term collaborations with local influencers who like the brand, identify with it and represent its values.”
And since the launch of Instagram Shopping in March, the social network is allowing brands to link products featured on posts with their own ecommerce shops. Considered by some as the future of ecommerce, Instagram continues to evolve to provide a better and more seamless experience for the user. “We launched the service a few months ago, but it was necessary to have a local account. The big news is that Chanel, with a global account of 28 million followers, is the first company in the world to beta test this service,” says Violaine Gressier, client partner at Facebook. “It will identify the origin of each user and list the products in their local currency. This is a first step towards social commerce,” she adds.
At the beginning of the year, the brand founded by Gabrielle Chanel acquired a minority stake in British ecommerce company Farfetch, announcing a long-term partnership for the development of digital innovations in its physical stores with the aim of offering a more personalised experience to its luxury customers. The firm has yet to announce any developments on this front but currently, only Chanel cosmetics and fragrances are available to purchase online, compared to a global strategy focused on incorporating the luxury experience into ecommerce. But with the recent announcement, it seems like it could be just a matter of time until Chanel makes waves in the digital space.
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