May 29, 2023

While the war in Ukraine may have prompted Chanel to close its boutiques in Russia, it’s open store season elsewhere for the luxury giant. Chanel announced three stores thus far this month, with more surely expected to be announced next month as the Summer 2022 season moves into full swing. Two are seasonal boutiques in both St. Tropez and Bodrum, highly popular Mediterranean vacation spots for their wealthy clients, especially Russian ones and the other is in Las Vegas. Considering that Chanel has raised prices on their handbags by over 71 percent since before the pandemic according to Reuters, targeting areas with affluent customers is key.

Dubbed the ephemeral boutiques, Chanel has hosted seasonal pop-ups for over ten years, with the first US one opening in Aspen in 2014 to celebrate the iconic Métiers d’art collection shown in Dallas, an homage to both Western-style and the retailer awarding Ms. Chanel with the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion in 1957, a boon to her 1950s revival.

On the 15th of the month, Chanel reopened their seasonal boutique in Turkey at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the coastal resort of Bodrum. This is not without some eyebrow-raising due to wealthy clients such as Russian oligarchs, Chanel’s stance on selling to the Russian market and Turkey’s stance on sanctions.

Oligarch Roman Abramovich’s yacht was reportedly docked there in March. It remains to be seen whether the Russian tourists will return to the tony resort this summer. Additionally, Chanel has announced a policy to refuse to sell to Russians shopping abroad unless proven they don’t reside there or bring the goods for use there. The action prompted a boycott and even destruction of Chanel products by some Russians who claimed the company to be anti-Russian.

The Bodrum location will have a wide array of products, from the Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection to the 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection and the Fall-Winter 2022/23 pre-collection. The playfully graphic Chanel Coco Beach 2022 collection will also be on offer.

The boutique design was given a subtle update this season with the addition of cozy meridian sofas, poufs, and small travertine side tables that add a homey touch, while screens project the latest Chanel shows.

Set in the hotel’s gardens, the Chanel boutique is a modern form composed of local travertine stone and wood. The rooftop boasts an eye-catching double C in black and white gravel, which hotel guests can see from above. Inside the boutique, a glass façade allows for views over the sky and sea, which they can enjoy from a side balcony.

The resort destination has attracted luxury seasonal pop-ups. Besides Chanel, Dior has also opened a location there, among others.

Kicking off the season earlier in the month, Chanel returned to its St. Tropez location, La Mistralée villa, quickly becoming a brand ‘second home’. The site brings together Mediterranean touches such as the Roman opus travertine floor highlight and pinky-beige walls with a dose of black and white. Throughout are signs of Gabrielle Chanel’s private life in her Rue 31 Cambon apartment, such as a wing chair, a Goossens table with a wheatsheaf base, and a large fawn velvet banquette.

This location’s unique garden is complete with a swimming pool dubbed “a veritable oasis of calm” by a company spokesperson, thanks to sizeable white bougainvillea, black metal lanterns, sunbeds, and wrought iron furniture. A pool house displays the shoe salon so that guests may try on feet and even dip their toes in the pool when barefoot between the shoe try-ons. The boutique will remain open through September.

On April 14th, the French luxury brand opened its latest Vegas permanent outpost at The Shops at Crystals, the upscale shopping mall on the famous strip acquired by Simon Properties in 2106. Chanel joins other French brands such as Hermes, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton. Other marquee brands in the collection of 50-plus stores include Gucci, Tiffany & Co.

Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada.

Designed by the house’s preferred architect Peter Marino, the 7,500 square foot boutique carries the complete collection of ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, costume jewelry and accessories, as well as Watches & Fine Jewelry, starting with current Spring Summer 2022 collections. Artistic Director Virginie Viard drew upon the work of Karl Lagerfeld for the house in the Nineties. A hot ticket item is the new Chanel 22 bag in refined quilted leather, with a leather-interlaced metal chain and adorned with the “Chanel” signature composed of gold or lacquered metal letters. Costume jewelry inspired by dangling pink N˚5 dice is a nod to the city’s high-stakes gambling culture.

The new store design reflects both the house codes and the area. Touches such as In the shoe salon, two Goossens custom rock crystal and bronze chandeliers, a pair of Louis XV armchairs rest alongside a custom mirrored screen and gold accents throughout nod to both Paris’ and Vegas’ glamour. Two American artists were selected to display works to acknowledge Gabrielle, aka Coco Chanel’s standing as a patron of the arts.

Peter Dayton explores the camellia, Chanel’s signature flower, from various angles in black and white and gold in a giant collage work. Glenn Ligon’s portfolio of three etchings, “Dispatches, 2011,” utilizes letter stencils from his previous artworks to create new compositions.

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