Chanel is the first luxury brand that I learned about and fell in love with. My mom used to purchase Chanel shirts, and other clothing and have it tailored to fit me when I was little. Today, I still love wearing my Chanel ballerina flats, costume jewelry, handbags, (and clothes that I take from my mom’s closet). I love Chanel for so many reasons, starting with the history and its quality.
Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel, or Coco, reinvented fashion for women and always thought outside the box. She loved to incorporate hidden meanings behind all her designs in every collection, and this is still seen in Chanel collections today. Chanel symbols include the Camelia, Lions, Comets, and Coromandel. The Camelia was Coco’s favorite flower because it has a subtle scent that would not interfere with other fragrances. Lions often appear in collections because her Zodiac sign was Leo and she liked the meaning of strength behind lions. She loved comets because she would often look up to the stars for inspiration and guidance for her designs. In her collections with comets, the stars are never symmetrical and none are exactly the same, just how she thought all woman are different and unique. Lastly, she loved Coromandel and had many screens at her Parisian apartment above the Rue Cambon boutique, where she hosted her friends. You can often see this Asian influence in Chanel’s jewelry collections and fashion. “Mademoiselle Prive” often comes up in collections as well because it was written on the door of her workshop at Rue Cambon in Paris.
Icon’s are “products which embodies the spirit and style of the brand, and is considered as such by the market.” A few Chanel icons include Chanel #5 fragrance, the classic flap bag, and tweed jackets. Her pieces are all about storytelling, which Chanel continues that legacy today.
WATCHES AND FINE JEWELRY
Chanel launched its first watch in 1987, but Gabrielle Chanel started her Fine Jewelry collection in 1932. By this time, she had already made an impact in the fashion world. The leading diamond company, De Beers Diamond Jewellers, reached out to Coco to design a new and unique collection at a time when people were not making unnecessary expenses due to the Great Depression. Only 10 out of 40 pieces from Bijoux De Diamants sold at her first jewelry show, but she changed the way people looked at jewelry. She displayed her jewelry on mannequins and would do their hair and makeup, instead of using the velvet pillows to display jewelry which were popular at the time. She wanted women to know how it would look and make them feel. Chanel stands out from other competing brands in this industry because the designers create the designs for all watches and jewelry first, and then they create the engineering behind it. Most companies think of the engineering first, choose the stones they want to use, and then create a design based around that. Chanel has Costume Jewelry which you can find at most boutiques, Precious Jewelry which cost less than $50,000 and has multiple collections per year, and High Jewelry which cost over $50,000 and only has 2 collections per year.
FRAGRANCE & BEAUTY
Chanel has only had 4 perfumers in its history: Ernest Beaux (1921-1954), Henri Robert (1953-1978), Jacques Polge (1978-2013), Olivier Polge (2013-present). The brand uses exceptional flowers to create their distinct and unique scents such as sage, mint, cedar, vetiver, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, vanilla, patchouli, orange blossom, citrus, jasmine, may rose, and exotic rose. The same craftsmanship seen in the luxury brands fashion and accessories, can also be seen in its fragrance and beauty. The No. 5 fragrance has become an iconic fragrance that is known around the world for its distinct smell and beautifully designed bottle. Lucia Pica is the current Global Creative Makeup & Color Designer for Chanel. Her favorite color is red, so she makes sure to incorporate it into her makeup collections. Red is the #1 selling eye shadow pallet and is a powerful color for the brand. Dr. Amy Wescher is the dermatologist used to help formulate some of the Chanel skincare products. Chanel also has many scientists, etc to create new and innovative formulas for the brand, such as Solution 10 and Hydra Micro Gel.
In the early 1900s, when women were still confined to corsets and dresses to their ankles, Coco brought pants to women. She believed in practicality, if a women rode horses, she should be able to wear pants, etc. Coco also brought the women’s blazer to the fashion world at the time. Her designs and collections were heavily influenced by the male figures in her life. Gabrielle had many boyfriends that helped her become the famous icon that we all know and love today. They played an important role in her social, professional, and sentimental life. Coco became an iconic luxury fashion designer in the early 1900s and is still one of the top fashion houses today. People fall in love with Chanel because of its class and timeless pieces. Today, there are 3 major forces behind the Fashion House: Eric Pfrunder- image director, Virginie Viard- Fashion studio director, Karl Lagerfeld- head creative director. Chanel has 6 ready-to-wear collections per year and 2 Haute Couture collections per year. Conveniently, Karl Lagerfeld’s office sits above Coco Chanel’s apartment at 31 Rue Cambon boutique in Paris. When he creates new collections, he goes down and grabs a trinket and bases an entire collection off of it. Chanel has about 200 boutiques world wide and sell wholesale in about 40 countries around the world. The Haute Couture pieces never make it to the boutiques because they are one of a kind, completely hand-made, and made to measure- for the perfect fit. Chanel makes sure that only one person in the same inner circle receives a certain piece. This makes Chanel’s Haute Couture designs very exclusive, whoever does get to purchase a piece has a team at their disposal for custom fittings.
The luxury fashion house has 2 stylists in the United States. Understanding body morphology is very important in styling different women of different body types (X, H, V, A). They also keep in mind the 4 paradoxes of Chanel: masculine & feminine, minimalism & ornamentation, classic & irreverence, casualness & sophistication. When styling different women they also need to think about the different style families: boyish, lady chic, rock, minimalist, bohemian, glamorous, off duty, feminine, and preppy. I have a V body type and my style is minimalist, but i fluctuate depending on my mood 😀 Chanel pays close attention to detail in everything that they do, which is what makes the brand so successful and is why everyone loves it.
While interning at Chanel, I learned that the company employs approximately 80% women and 20% men. When I heard those numbers I immediately felt so proud to be a part of the company, even if its just for the summer, especially since its rare to be a part of a company that is predominately female. They also mentioned that both women and men get family leave, and had an entire session for employs on how to balance family & work. Chanel offers incredible sessions for their employees. On top of their awesome standards, Chanel has its own Foundation, Foundation CHANEL. “Our mission is to advance women’s and girl’s independence and empowerment by increasing their access to economic resources and entrepreneurship opportunities, education and training, leadership and decision-making as well as health and social protection.” I will include the link for more information about the Foundation below!
“I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.”- Coco Chanel