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La Chanelphile

September 29, 2011

Luxury Online Sales Boosted by Fashion Bloggers & Social Media

Reuters has reported that new research indicates that fashion bloggers will help propel online sales to over $15 billion (€11 billion) by 2015.  Italian luxury foundation Altagamma stated in its “Digital Luxury Experience” report that online luxury sales only account for 2.6 percent of the market but is growing at a rate of 20%.  Moreover, “[b]logs and social media are setting trends more than fashion critics, with one out of two customers turning to Facebook or Twitter for advice before buying.”  I’ve always had a feeling about the power of social media but now we have some actual figures to note.

Luxury fashion brands, normally the brands setting the trends, have lagged behind when it comes to adopting social media.  It’s understandable.  Many of these brands are based around the idea of exclusivity and social media is quite the opposite of that.  How can a brand be everywhere and exclusive at the same time?

It’s not impossible.  Brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tiffany and Gucci have a strong online presence – you can purchase online and interact with these brands on Facebook and Twitter.  Being “available” online has not hurt the brands, rather, it gives their customers more convenient ways of shopping – what’s more luxurious than not having to get off your couch to order a $5000 handbag?

I would also suggest that being available online also opens the doors to new generations of customers – customers that are practically born with smart phones in their hands.  Many luxury brands have a very loyal following – why not start appealing to customers when they are young?  Many loyal brand customers start out as aspirational shoppers.  Perhaps she can’t afford the 2.55 but she purchases Le Vernis or sunglasses or earrings.  If you can appeal to that customer when she is young – and get her attention online (where other brands are getting her attention) you may have a loyal customer for life.  In a year she may be buying shoes or saving up for a 2.55 or a tweed jacket.  My point is, if luxury brands are making the move online, then the brands that don’t make the move are going to be left behind.

Chanel has done a nice job with their online presence.  They’ve been a bit slow to act, but when they do, their online presence is well executed.  Chanel Beauté is sold online and Chanel has introduced Chanel News (it’s own blog) Makeup Confidential (a beauty website), a Youtube page and a Facebook page.  Chanel is not on Twitter and I am patiently waiting for the day that I can click the “follow” link.  I just hope they do it soon because the younger set is increasingly far removed from knowing about the history of the brand.  With other brands copying the signature looks of the Chanel brand, if the copycat brands make themselves more available to younger consumers, Chanel may miss out on breeding a new generation of Chanelphiles.

**UPDATE 9.30.11**

-Two readers from Europe pointed out that the Chanel e-commerce is available only in the U.S.

-Chanel has also released an iPhone app in addition to all the other social media listed above.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Chanel Media — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 3:28 pm

September 28, 2011

Chanel Spring-Summer 2012 Ready-to-Wear Invitation

chanel spring 2012 ready to wear invitationAnd… it’s up! I’ve been checking online for days waiting to see the invitation to the Chanel spring-summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection.  The show will take place next week in Paris at the Grand Palais on Tuesday, October 4th.  I’m having a hard time making out Uncle Karl’s sketch – it looks like it may be an under water theme?  Are those bubbles and waves?  Please let me know if you see something else.  I feel like I’m looking at one of those patterns that have a hidden image in them – and no, I was never able to see those back in the 90s either.  In any case, I can’t wait to see the collection and I’m wishing on my lucky stars that maybe I’ll get an actual invitation in the mail one day :)

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Ready To Wear — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 4:59 pm

September 25, 2011

Chanel Pop-Up Shop at Harrods

harrods chanel pop up shopI wish that I could close my eyes and click my heels and be any place in the world because at any given time, there is some very cool Chanel happening in major metropolitan cities around the world. The latest? A pop-up shop at Harrods in London. I’m not in London so I can’t give you first-hand info but I have scoured the web and found some great coverage. Blogger extraordinaire Alex of Alex Loves had some great photos of the shop and the specialty products – many thanks to her for her great post. All photos below are from Alex Loves and you can see more great images and read more on Beauty and the Dirt and Style Bubble.

Unfortunately, the pop-up shop is now closed (I’ve been meaning to write this post for about 2 weeks now but a little something called New York Fashion Week got in the way) but it’s too good not to share.  If you were in London for Fashion Week (or just happen to live there or close enough to visit) I hope you were able to see this yourself.  I’d love to hear about your experience there!

Images:  All images from Alex Loves.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Boutiques,Chanel Culture — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 12:40 am

September 24, 2011

Chanel Sues 399 Websites Alleging Trademark Infringement

Earlier this week Chanel filed a claim in the U.S. District Court is Las Vegas against 399 websites alleging cyberpiracy and trademark infringement due to the sale of counterfeit Chanel products bearing the Chanel name and logo.  Many of these websites operate outside the country and dilute the Chanel mark. (Intellectual Property Brief)

Claimants in trademark infringement cases need to prove customer confusion – that is, they need to prove that customers visiting one of the 399 websites may be confused as to whether the products are authentic Chanel goods.  Since the websites are unlawfully using the Chanel marks and selling fake products I don’t think this will be a difficult case to prove.

This is not the first time that Chanel has made efforts to protect its mark. Last year I wrote a post about Chanel winning several domain name disputes where counterfeit goods were sold online through websites that misleadingly had the word “Chanel” in the url and in October 2010, Chanel Inc. sued a chain of costume jewelry stores for selling counterfeit merchandise.  Chanel also took out an infamous letter on the back page of WWD asking editors not to use the Chanel name to describe products that are not made by Chanel.  The ad stated:

A note of information and entreaty to fashion editors, advertisers, copywriters and other well-intentioned mis-users of our Chanel name:

Chanel was a designer, an extraordinary woman who made a timeless contribution to fashion. Chanel is a perfume. Chanel is modern elegance in couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, watches and fine jewelry. Chanel is our registered trademark for fragrance, cosmetics, clothing, accessories and other lovely things. Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not ‘a Chanel jacket’ unless it is ours, and somebody else’s cardigans are not ‘Chanel for now.’ And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as ‘Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized’, PLEASE DON’T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously.

Merci,

Chanel, Inc.

Chanel has even sent cease and desist letters to DC Shoes because of the similarity in logo design.

With all of this legal activity surrounding the Chanel brand, it’s a little funny that Thursday Friday is now selling a tote bag with the likeness of the Chanel 2.55 bag printed on it.  You may have heard of the brand a while back when they came out with the Birkin totes – which by the way they are now being sued for.  It seems to me it’s just a matter of time before Chanel sues them as well.

Thursday Friday Diamond Series Chanel Tote

Thursday Friday Diamond Series Chanel Tote

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Culture,Chanel Knockoffs — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 11:16 pm

September 22, 2011

Lunch with Coco Chanel Biographer Justine Picardie

Chanel Her Life Justine PicardieOn Tuesday, I had the honor of attending a Luncheon held in honor of Justine Picardie, the author of Chanel – Her Life.  Tucked away in the private upstairs room of La Grenouille, “the last great French restaurant in New York”, the intimate setting and amidst gorgeous floral displays, it was the perfect place to spend an afternoon celebrating the life of Coco Chanel.

I read Picardie’s first edition of Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life while on vacation this summer and it is by far my favorite Chanel biography.  In fact, Karl Lagerfeld himself loved the biography so much that he created illustrations and redesigned the layout of the book, including the font, for the second edition published by Lagerfeld’s long-time publisher Steidl.  I’m so glad I had already read the book because the new edition – Chanel – Her Life – is so beautiful I would hate to cause any wear-and-tear to the edition.  Having read the book only a month ago, much of it was fresh in my mind.  But, to hear the author herself discuss the experience brought a whole new level of understanding.

Amy Larocca and Justine Picardie

Growing Up With Chanel

Though Justine Picardie started the process of writing Chanel – Her Life in 1998, her fascination with Chanel started as a little girl.  Her mother kept Chanel N°5 on her dressing table and that was her mom’s signature scent.  Though Picardie couldn’t read yet, the typeface of the Chanel N°5 bottle was so distinctive, she knew that is contents were “precious” and the bottle was off-limits to Justine and her sister.  It seems Picardie’s mother was a Chanelphile herself and for her wedding she wore a little black dress – not a Chanel original but made from a Vogue Chanel pattern.  Continuing in the rebellious spirit of her mother, Justine Picardie wore her mother’s wedding dress during her punk phase to see The Clash and The Sex Pistols (so cool on so many levels!).

Gabrielle Chanel, Convent Life and Chanel Iconography

I’ve often read of Gabrielle Chanel’s mysterious childhood growing up in the convent at Aubazine – mysterious because of the many versions of her childhood that Chanel recounted often replacing nuns with “severe aunts in black.”  Justine Picardie is the only writer that was granted access to stay at the convent.  The process of gaining access was a long one, but when one of Picardie’s letters reached the abbey on the Saint Justine’s Saint’s Day, the nuns saw it as a sign and allowed Justine Picardie to stay at the convent on the condition that she follow their routine.  And so she woke at dawn, prayed, ate very little, prayed some more and sang.  Not only was she able to walk the same halls that young Gabrielle Chanel had, but she got to experience what Coco Chanel had experienced.

In many ways, growing up at Aubazine was probably the biggest influence on Coco Chanel’s designs.  From the stark black and white of the nuns’ habits, star patterns in the mosaic floor of Aubazine Abbey, iron crosses and patterns in the stained glass that are eerily similar to the interlocking C’s – all of this imagery plays a large part in modern Chanel iconography and provides the foundation for the house that Chanel built.  In fact, she sent the architect of La Pausa to the Aubazine Abbey to replicate the staircase for the foyer of La Pausa.

Coco Chanel’s Activities During WWII

We’ve all read the vicious rumors circulating online about Coco Chanel prompted by Hal Vaughan’s Sleeping With the Enemy (review coming shortly but you can hear Justine Picardie and Hal Vaughan debate the topic in the mean time).   Picardie would never speak ill of another writer’s work; she read the same sources that Hal Vaughan read and she came to very different conclusions.  For Ms. Picardie, the situation was a “much more complicated story.”

Time has not been kind to Coco Chanel and her wartime activities.  She closed her house because she thought that war was “no time for fashion.”  Though it was seen as patriotic to stay in business, the French designers that did continue throughout the war only ended up designing for the wives and mistresses of Nazi officers – not very patriotic.  Indeed, perhaps not selling to the Nazis was more patriotic, non?  For example, Cartier designed a piece for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propoganda, but you don’t see people exploiting that fact – or calling Cartier a Nazi.  Picasso sold paintings to Nazi’s and even had some Nazi’s visit his studio.  In fact, any French person who was not part of the resistance in some way or another had contact with Germans.  Whether you were a barber, baker or banker – if you were in occupied France you had to work with Germans.

It’s sad, but Coco Chanel may be the victim of sexism – a “convenient scapegoat”.  She was a strong, financially independent business woman – something very rare back then (and still scary to some today).  Her relationship with a half-English half-German low-level spy was complicated – as were all of her relationships with men.  The lowest act she committed was trying to get control of Chanel Fragrances – a company whose name she shared but only shared in 10% of its profits – through the use of anti-Jewish laws.  Not respectable at all, though there is much more to the story (read the book for information on all wartime activities).

The 1954 Comeback

Coco Chanel re-opened her house in 1954 to awful French review – the kind that would make anyone else quit.  That Coco Chanel continued is a “measure of her strength”.  Her reason for returning to Fashion?  Dior.  In 1947 he popularized the “New Look” and managed to bring back corsets, virtually un-doing Chanel’s life’s work.  She had done so much to liberate women and she wanted to free them from the tyranny of the corset one more time.  (It appears the rivalry between Dior and Chanel is not a new one).

The Luncheon

The afternoon started with champagne and hors d’oeuvres followed by a sumptuous meal – the kind that I could see Coco Chanel herself enjoying amidst the company of her artist friends.  As we dined, Justine Picardie recounted stories of her stay at The Ritz in the suite that Coco Chanel died in (not the pre-WWII Coco Chanel Suite).  It seems Mlle. Chanel may have paid Ms. Picardie a visit the night of her stay.  Over a hushed table, Justine Picardie told us how after turning in for the night and shutting the lights one of the bulbs shot out of the wall sconce, lights flickered and lights turned on without her help. The luncheon ended with Ms. Picardie signing my copy of Chanel – Her Life and I received a box of Chanel N°19 Poudré compliments of Chanel.

Coco Chanel – Living in Black and White

If I took away one thing from reading Chanel – Her Life and hearing Justine Picardie speak – it would be that Coco Chanel is shrouded in mystery because she was a woman of contrasts.  From the diametrically opposed staircases in her life – the dark, austere Aubazine Abbey to the glimmering, mirrored staircase at 31 Rue Cambon, to her at-once loving yet litigious relationship with her business partner of sorts Pierre Wertheimer, Chanel was a complicated woman.  She hid the darkest parts of her past like the shame of growing up in poverty and from that she created light – beautiful creations that look as modern now as they did seventy-years ago.  And from the mystery of her life, the contrast of darkness and light, the simplicity of the signature black and white Chanel branding make all the sense in the world.

Chanel – Her Life is available now in bookstores and online.

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September 18, 2011

I’m So Jaloux!

chanel closet
I don’t normally watch Million Dollar Rooms but I heard about a $5million Chanel-inspired closet and I had to see it. This closet is 2 stories, has a replica curved staircase (without mirrors but the railing was copied from 31 rue Cambon), faux Chanel logo black and white $10,000 rug, 18K gold door knobs and 18K $30,000 chandelier from Florence, Italy. Then of course, there are all the Chanel bags, shoes and clothing that this woman owns. I’m so jealous – not in a rage way – but in an “I want your closet” way!

Here’s the whole show – I couldn’t find an embeddable clip for just the closet – but believe me, it’s worth watching!

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Filed under: Chanel — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 9:20 pm

September 16, 2011

Chanel Links: Week of September 12, 2011

chanel links

  • Kirsten Dunst wore a long white Chanel skirt to the Melancholia premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.  (Just Jared)
  • Read about Grasse, the region in France where many of the flowers used in Chanel fragrances come from. (New Zealand Herald)

karl lagerfeld manicure

  • Chin Chow sported a lovely manicure and when asked about it, all she could say was that it was for a shoot she did with Karl Lagerfeld – can’t wait to see!  I love this manicure – I may have to replicate it! (Style)
  • Word on the Hollywood streets is that Lea Michelle and Dianna Agron, both of Glee fame, are sourcing rare vintage couture from the Chanel archives for the Emmy Awards.  I hope this is true because I would love to see dresses from the archives – though I’d be afraid to wear it!  (E!)
  • Another rumor, this on the financial end, but word is because of the weakend dollar in Asia, some Chanel boutiques in Asia are “limiting new customers to one bag before they get into a deeper relationship.”  (Forbes)
  • Tory Burch debuted her first clothing collection at New York Fashion Week and Suzy Menkes called it “Coco Chanel Lite”.  (New York Times)
  • Elizabeth Taylors clothing and jewels are up for auction this December including a dress designed by Karl Lagerfeld back when he was designing “for the Tiziani label in Rome.”  (New York Times)

voodoo chanel

  • Chicks on Speed have created a “Voodoo Chanel” exhibit and one of the designers stated: “I actually wanted to offer them [Chanel] to do a youth line – that Voodoo Chanel becomes super hip, because we’re making Chanel cool by making Voodoo Chanel!”  REALLY?  YOU’re making Chanel cool? Ha!  (WWD)
  • mrluxlifey shows us what it’s like to open up a box with a Chanel bag for the very first time (mrluxlifey)

  • Chanel tops Alexa Chung’s list of fashion favorites, she stated:  ‘They’re just so frigging classy.”  Well said.  (Elle UK)
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Karl Lagerfeld’s Château Rauzan-Ségla 2009 Wine Label

Chateau Rauzan Segla Karl Lagerfeld Wine Label

Back in April, I mentioned that Karl Lagerfeld was designing a wine label for the 350th anniversary of Chanel-owned Château Rauzan-Ségla.  The label has recently surfaced and it’s a signature Karl Lagerfeld illustration of the Château.  It seems he took the Château’s label and gave it the Karl touch with his pastel smudges and watercolors.  I wonder how much this designer vintage will go for?

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Filed under: Chanel,Karl Lagerfeld — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 8:41 pm

September 15, 2011

Fashion in the Streets: NYFW Edition Teaser

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

La Chanelphile is the blog most dear to my heart because it’s still in its infancy and showing so much promise.  I’m so enamored with the brand that ideas for different columns keep spilling out of my head – case in point – my new column “Fashion in the Streets.”  Chanel knew that fashion was all around her and that many ideas that inspire how we look come from what’s happening in life and “in the street.”  So, I’ve decided to start documenting Chanel as I see it worn in the streets. What better place to start documenting than New York Fashion Week? There is no shortage of Chanel so my job was pretty easy.  I have a ton of photos to go through but here is small teaser of what is to come.  Enjoy – and stop drooling!  Oh, and many many thanks to the lovely ladies who let me photograph them!

chanel in the street

chanel in the street

chanel in the street

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Filed under: Chanel,Fashion in the Street — Tags: , , , — La Chanelphile @ 9:02 pm

September 13, 2011

Debbie Harry in Chanel?

Sorry for the lack of posts I’ve been running around NYC covering shows for Fashion Week.  Today, I stopped by the Marc by Marc Jacobs Blondie pop-up shop to get a glimpse of the living legend herself.  I was on the sidewalk when she arrived in her black SUV and when she came out I was able to get a few good shots.  I was happy to see that she was wearing a pink shirt with paint splatters and our favorite double C’s.  I don’t know what collection it’s from (or if it’s even authentic) but whatever Debbie Harry wears is ok in my book. :)

UPDATE 09.15.11@DefDumbAndBlonde let me know that the top is made by Scooter LaForge

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Filed under: Chanel — Tags: , — La Chanelphile @ 7:26 pm
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