Seoul will have one of six Chanel flagship stores being launched next year, with the brand also about to open in Beijing’s China World mall.
“These will be either brand new stores or major re-openings, which will be very impactful,” says Chanel fashion and accessories divisions president Bruno Pavlovsky.
On December 1, Chanel opened a second Tokyo flagship in Ginza following a three-year renovation by architect Peter Marino.
Just before that, designer Karl Lagerfeld was in Chengdu, where Chanel reprised its Ancient Greek Goddess cruise collection, originally shown in Paris in May.
“We scored 698 million hits from that show on WeChat and Weibo and so on,” says Pavlovsky. “That impact allows us to create an accessible dream: a chance to see and touch and understand what the brand is all about. That has nothing to do with customers – we don’t have 500 million customers in our boutiques.”
He believes the key equation in luxury is balancing accessibility to the dream with exclusivity inside boutiques. This is why Chanel’s e-commerce is essentially limited to beauty and eyewear.
“Chanel is not a click,” says Pavlovsky. “But when you think of a $5000 jacket or a $10,000 dress, the customer experience has to be more than just a click.”
He says business in China has been boosted by the policy of global price harmonisation he started introducing in 2015. “We see more and more Chinese in China coming to our boutiques regularly.
They don’t need to travel to Paris, New York or London to buy Chanel, and this is very important.”
One vehicle to boost sales in China will be harnessing influencers, says Pavlovsky. “What is interesting about influencers in China is their point of view of the brand. Some are followed by 20 or 25 million people, which is quite impressive. And they are very clear that what their followers want from them is a point of view. We have to work with them not to dilute this kind of positioning.”