This article examines the woman, the vision, the determination, the marketing, the symbols, and the longevity of a brand that has transcended decades.
If you love to wear trousers, you’re not alone, and it’s all because of fashion icon Coco Chanel who liberated women from corsets into free-flowing, loose-fitting, classic designs.
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
From humble beginnings, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel built an empire. She was a woman determined to succeed, and in the process an iconic brand with casual chic and a new feminine standard was born. She encouraged women to be confident, self-assured, comfortable, and to dress with a sense a freedom.
“A girl should be two things; classy and fabulous.”
Chanel is a brand that has transcended time and generations. Coco Chanel was a fashion visionary, a disruptor, and an astute businesswoman. The classic Coco Chanel aesthetic is based on a few principles; timeless black and white, slim and elegant couture, beautifully proportioned tweed suits, and the camellia flower; a symbol of longevity.
“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”
In 1921 Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume launched. Ernest Beaux, a sophisticated perfumer of great repute, created the scent formula. It was imbued with jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla, and became an instant success. The understated yet classy glass bottle design has also been an important part of the product’s allure and to this day it is much revered.
“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”
Coco was creative with her ingenious marketing. She hosted a group of elite friends to dine with her in an elegant restaurant where she surprised and delighted her guests by spraying them with Chanel No. 5, thereby publicly launching the scent to passers-by.
The official launch of Chanel No. 5 was at her boutique on rue Cambon, on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year 1921. The dressing rooms were infused with the scent, and she gave bottles to only a select few of her society friends.
“Perfume is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion, that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.”
Chanel made it acceptable for women to wear trousers, slip into the little black dress, accessorize with the classic quilted handbag, and float in a cloud of Chanel No. 5.
When we think of Chanel it is synonymous with timeless fashion that is stylish, elegant, and in a class of its own. The values that come through are quality, independence, freedom and heritage. The brand is feminine, timeless, and uncomplicated luxury, yet quite modern, and oh so French. It stands out as a brand with longevity, dating back to 1909.
The Chanel logo created by Coco Chanel herself in 1925 features two interlocking letters C that represent the initials of the founder. It is at once recognizable, and its simplicity creates a sense of luxury that is aligned with Chanel’s philosophy of “less is more.”
Chanel is an official haute couture brand and member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. There are stringent requirements, and these include:
Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings;
Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time;
Have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one atelier; and
Present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season (twice, in January and July of each year), of both day and evening garments.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
The Chanel Brand is recognized the world over, and is synonymous with both quality and elegance. It’s a creative brand that provides a promise of luxury for the refined woman.
Whatever your business model, there are valuable lessons in branding from this iconic and timeless luxury label.
IN A NUTSHELL
Vision: To be the ultimate House of Luxury, defining style and creating desire, now and forever.
Purpose: To create uncomplicated luxury that changes women’s lives forever, epitomising freedom, passion and feminine elegance.
Values: Highest quality, heritage, freedom, independence, uniqueness, and inclusion.
Branding: Elegance, style, simplicity, class and timelessness.
Characteristics: French, luxurious, refined, and feminine.
Ideal Customer: Modern Woman
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