PARIS — Chanel is gearing up to make a splash in Shanghai on Dec. 3, when it will stage a fashion show for a luxury pre-fall collection and open an art-filled 5,160-square-foot boutique in the Peninsula hotel on the historic Bund riverfront promenade.
This story first appeared in the October 12, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Karl Lagerfeld is flying into the futuristic Chinese city to show his latest “métiers d’art” collection, a ready-to-wear line embellished with the couture ateliers Chanel owns. The latest collection is themed “Paris-Shanghai” and will be accompanied by a short film directed by the peripatetic designer.
Meanwhile, architect Peter Marino was commissioned to design the Shanghai boutique, whose suite of salon-style rooms is meant to evoke a residential feel and echo details of Coco Chanel’s famed Rue Cambon apartment. Rooms are devoted to daytime rtw, eveningwear, accessories, shoes, fine jewelry and watches, plus a VIP suite and an “ultraluxe gallery” showcasing bags and shoes made by Chanel’s satellite couture ateliers.
Billed as one of Chanel’s most refined boutiques, the Shanghai unit will feature hand-picked antiques, including 18th -century French mantelpieces, Louis XV armchairs with cabriole legs and a Sixties table by the late artist Yves Klein featuring 3,000 sheets of 22-carat gold leaf encased in Perspex. Chanel also commissioned contemporary artists to create site-specific works for the boutique, including France’s Jean-Michel Othoniel, who created a giant, swirling strand of glass pearls, echoing the founding designer’s necklaces.
Excluding Japan, Chanel operates 42 boutiques in the Asia-Pacific region, including eight in Hong Kong and five in Mainland China. Privately held Chanel declined to give sales projections, but said it expects double-digit growth in China and plans steady expansion in select cities in the next few years. The company also noted “all product categories are experiencing a strong momentum in China.”
Chanel opened its first Mainland boutique in 1999, in Beijing. In the Asia region, the French firm also plans to open boutiques in Hangzhou, China, and Melbourne, Australia, before the end of the year.