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“It’s just a fashion invasion,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, before the house’s extravaganza at Fair Park in Dallas.
This story first appeared in the December 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It wasn’t much of an exaggeration. The company fielded an army of style that numbered 400 to 500, most of whom flew in for a production that took four months to prepare.
“This is a very special moment for the brand,” Pavlovsky noted. “Our guests — press, celebrities, customers — appreciate having something kind of unique. It positions the brand for the future; it is not an immediate return. However, the fall collection has been so successful in the boutiques. The orders are growing double digit. The sales are growing.”
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The U.S. and Europe are the pillars of Chanel’s business and are on the upswing and gaining new customers, Pavlovsky said. Ready-to-wear in particular is having a strong year and is “back to the big numbers,” he said.
Dallas is not as big a market as New York or Los Angeles, but it’s of historical importance for the brand given Coco Chanel’s visit here in 1957 and the label’s long-term relationship with Neiman Marcus, said John Galantic, president of Chanel U.S.
The company is “making more investment than ever” in renovations and expansions of its U.S. boutiques, Galantic added.
“We continue to bet on the current and long-term growth of the U.S.,” he said.
The house plans to make over its stores in Houston and Orlando, Fla., next year plus 14 wholesale installations, all under the eye of interior designer Peter Marino.
“It’s important to have something that is very consistent worldwide, strong, and Peter is using very special materials,” Pavlovsky said. “At the end of the day, you have a better feeling of the clothes, the product, which is our objective.”
All of fashion is performing well this year in the U.S., Galantic said, and the company is also seeing growth in fragrance, makeup and skin care. Fine jewelry is a small niche but one of the fastest-growing areas, he added.
Unlike some international markets that are tourist oriented, U.S. sales come primarily from local customers, Galantic noted.
About 400 clients attended a cocktail party Monday evening before Tuesday’s screening, runway show and honky-tonk barbecue complete with line dancing and a performance by British electronic band Hot Chip.
A video of the runway show will be posted to Chanel’s Web site within a few days, Pavlovsky said.
Tuesday night’s premiere of the Karl Lagerfeld-directed 30-minute film “The Return” was immediately posted to Chanel’s Web site and is expected to reach a global audience. The “Marilyn and No.5” short has had 8.3 million views, the company said.