By  on May 23, 2005

NEW YORK — The Chanel exhibition at the Met might be getting mixed reviews, but Chanel shoppers gave the label two thumbs up to the tune of $5.6 million in sales during a three-day record-breaking Bergdorf Goodman trunk show.

Bergdorf Goodman's chairman and chief executive Jim Gold was quick to note the trunk show tally was a 10 percent increase compared to last year's Chanel trunk, another record breaker.

"This shows that luxury retail is alive and well," Gold said. "We believe $5.6 million is the largest trunk show ever recorded in the U.S."

To whet shoppers' appetites, Bergdorf's vice president of visual merchandising flagged the trunk show in its windows, dressed mannequins in vintage and new Chanel designs and plugged the Met's event. The buildup worked, considering many of the 50 women who were invited to the Chanel runway show on May 9 that kicked off the trunk show were seated with pens and notepads in hand a half-hour before the start time.

"They were serious," said Robert Burke, Bergdorf Goodman's senior vice president, fashion office. "It was a frenzy for three days."

Bergdorf Goodman delivered with 10 models showing a total of 30 looks. The store sold 72 units of rabbit-trimmed jackets, retailing from $3,100 to $3,600; 41 units of a $3,930 black jacket with three-quarter sleeves and a $1,980 above-the-knee skirt; 32 units of a $5,533 black sweater with floral appliques; seven units of a $12,980 embroidered shearling jacket, and two units of an $18,210 pink tweed dress and coat.

"Karl's collection has continued to gain momentum,'' Burke said of Karl Lagerfeld. "He's satisfying his established customer who wants a suit to go to lunch or to wear to work, as well as the younger customer who wants a piece of Chanel, whether it be a jacket to wear with a pair of jeans or a bag."

Chanel was also the source of Bergdorf Goodman's all-time highest trunk show tally last year, when sales hit $5.1 million.

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