TOKYO — Chanel reprised its Paris-Dallas Metiers d’Art runway show here on Wednesday, building an expansive Texas saloon-style set in a new skyscraper and flying over Jerry Hall and Alice Dellal as VIP guests.
The house staged two shows on Wednesday afternoon and evening, inviting top clients and local fashion editors in a bid to tap into the brand’s “booming” business in Japan, according to Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel.
“Japan has always been a key market for Chanel…our customers are still very loyal [to] the brand,” he said, adding that the collection of heavily embellished and fringed Western wear will hit stores in a few weeks.
Richard Collasse, president of Chanel Japan, said the brand’s collections of fashion, accessories and cosmetics are resonating with Japanese consumers, who are exhibiting a sense of optimism about the country’s economy. Citing the lead up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the rebuilding efforts taking place in northeastern Japan, where the 2011 tsunami struck, Collasse said he thinks the positive business trend will continue.
“Last year was one of the best years we’ve ever had at Chanel in Japan and this year is probably going to be even better,” Collasse said, adding that the country’s sales tax hike in April — from 5 to 8 percent — did not hurt business.
“We were a bit worried after the consumer tax increase in April that our most expensive product, the ready-to-wear, would suffer a little bit because you know our prices are pretty high. Actually we had a very positive increase in April because the collection is wonderful,” Collasse said.
Neither executive disclosed sales figures for the brand.
Elsewhere in the region, Pavlovsky said the brand is not feeling the effects of the luxury goods market slowdown as it’s still a relatively small player with selective distribution. Chanel has 10 stores in Mainland China, nine in Hong Kong and two in Macau.
In keeping with Chanel’s exclusive image, the brand is not plotting major retail expansion in terms of new stores. Pavlovsky said the brand does not have plans to increase its store count in major Asian markets where it already has a retail network. Instead, the company is focusing on improving customer service at existing stores, and differentiating its stores to offer unique experiences at each location, he explained.
Reflecting that strategy, Collasse said Chanel has trimmed its retail network in Japan over the past few years to 34 stores from about 40. But Pavlovsky was quick to point out that the brand has seen its sales increase steadily over the same period.
Chanel staged its two shows on the fifth floor of the Toranomon Hills complex, a new multipurpose skyscraper located near Tokyo’s Shimbashi business district. The building, which will open to the public next week, will house offices, residences, restaurants and an Andaz Hotel.
Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld did not make the trip to Tokyo but his homage to the West won over Texas-born Hall, who occupied a front-row leather couch with Dellal. Hall said she is sticking with the theme when it comes to her free time in the city.
“I plan on doing a bit of shopping. I’m trying get some of this cowboy-look stuff,” she said.
The former model said she has several projects in the pipeline, including an upcoming role as the wicked queen in a pantomime of the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at London’s Richmond Theatre. She said she is gearing up to do an independent film in London called “The Forgotten Man.”
Hall is also preparing to perform a couple of songs at the Glastonbury Festival later this month with French actress Jeanne Marine.
“I’ve written the words. She’s written the music,” she said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast