Chanel has taken over 20,000 sq ft of the luxury Knightsbridge department store, Harrods – creating ‘Une Promenade’, an enchanting Chanel wonderland.
Far from being a shop-within-a-shop the Chanel flags fly high from the façade of the Harrods store and all 23 street-facing windows are given over to the brand’s new collection. Beyond curtains of glistening white pearls there is an immediate change of atmosphere. Everything from the colours, lighting, props and fabrics to the sounds and smells have been precisely designed to embody the ‘Chanel DNA’.
Walking across an enchanted garden and through a heavy vault door the visitor steps inside a giant replica of the classic ‘2.55 bag’. A complete sensorial and tactile experience – the interior is dedicated to the craftsmanship invested in the creation of each bag. The walls are covered with the same leather and stitching whilst digital screens show each stage of the production process.
The Chanel journey continues through Coco Chanel’s dream nursery, the ‘Haute Couture room’ – styled as Coco’s Parisian apartment with mirrored walls displaying runway designs. In the ‘Pop Art room’ a huge Chanel No.5 perfume bottle projects a history of Chanel adverts. The final stage of ‘Une Promenade’ takes a playful look at Chanel’s famous symbols including two more gigantic Chanel handbags.
Take-away: ‘Une Promenade’ promotes the craftsmanship, designs and narrative of Chanel from its origins in 1920 up to the present day. Brand heritage continues to grow in importance as a prized attribute and vital selling point, as well as a source of creative inspiration for designers. An increasing number of fashion houses are using such exhibitions to reinforce and promote their credentials, granting access to a wider audience and placing storytelling at the heart of their brand.