With the recent announcement that two retailers from the Chanel umbrella are to be given their own standalone stores in the heart of one of London’s oldest shopping districts, tongues have been wagging concerning what this move means for the mega-brand and whether it is set to follow a similar path to heavy hitters such as Kering and LVMH.
Both Maison Michel, a French milliner, and Barrie, which is responsible for producing much of the Chanel knitwear ranges, are soon to call the Burlington Arcade off Piccadilly in London home, with the French label also bringing in stores for its watch maker Bell & Ross and swimwear brand Eres. There can be no doubt that soon, this quiet section of London known for its premium jewellery and antiques will now be paving the way for luxury fashion with Chanel at the helm.
Bruno Pavlovsky, CEO of Chanel, certainly has his reasons for this move, but they don’t all seem to focus on the emergence of a conglomerate company with incorporated brands, which is undoubtedly the path that so many fashion behemoths have already taken. Indeed each of the smaller labels has its own creative director, who at one and the same time also holds a position at Chanel, thus ensuring a neat and convenient circularity. And London is fertile ground for fortifying these key relationships. “London is a key fashion city and it has a mix of local and international shoppers. Choosing to open the store in Burlington Arcade was on purpose, because this arcade is a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. It is a good place for these brands to be,” explains Pavlovsky.
London is already a haven for the luxury shopper and only time will tell if Chanel will truly be able to integrate these smaller companies and all they have to offer into the retail atmosphere. Their effective resuscitation of Barrie certainly hints at Chanel’s potential success on the London scene and certainly, bringing a hint of Parisian flair to Mayfair tradition could create an interesting new counterpoint for the brand to experiment with.