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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Chanel takes over Miami, with a little help from Pharrell Williams and Marion Cotillard – WWD

MIAMI — From Monaco to the Magic City.

Chanel touched down in Miami, Florida, last weekend, presenting a replica of her cruise 2022 collection, first seen last May in Monaco. Taking over the Faena hotel, the models walked beachside as guests looked on from a cluster of chic red cabanas and two-tone umbrellas set on the pebbly white sand.

Held on a Friday night just as the sun was setting, the turquoise water and changing sky (there was a hint of rain as the models closed the show) served as a powerful backdrop, illuminating the luxury-inspired collection and the pop culture charm of the tiny European principality.

It’s been 14 years since Karl Lagerfeld staged a legendary show in Miami, and Virginie Viard, creative director of the French luxury brand since Lagerfeld’s death, is back with her latest cruise offering of sequined all-in-one mechanic overalls, spotless white sneakers and swimsuit and skinny combos. The cruise collections are at the core of the brand’s DNA, as they were invented by Coco Chanel in 1919 when she decided to show her line outside of the Paris fashion calendar.

“It reminds me of a time I’ve never lived in, so I’m suddenly nostalgic for high heels, bathing suits and a lot of luxury, and that’s definitely never been a part of my life,” said Chanel ambassador Kristen . Stewart told WWD at the collection’s original staging in Monaco.

The link between Monaco and Miami is intriguing: each place has its own version of glamour, opulence and, now, high-octane Formula 1 racing. The Miami Grand Prix celebrated its first edition last spring, the fifth round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship.

“We’re coming back to Miami, first because we love Miami,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion activities and president of Chanel SAS, before the show. The moment aligns with the French brand’s new Miami Design District boutique, unveiled in late 2021 and designed by New York-based architect Peter Marino. A work of art in its own right, Pavlovsky said the brand wanted to celebrate the new location and has been looking for the right time to make a big statement.

He continued: “When we were watching the show in Monaco, the only possible replica is in Miami,” pointing out the spirit and decor of the city.

For Pavlovsky, the goal of a replica show is clear: celebrate the local customer with a collection that has just hit retail. “Customer involvement is becoming more important,” he observed. “It was very important to us that we bring them the collection. Yes, they may have seen it on video, but they weren’t in Monaco. It is important that they see and feel the collection.”

It’s a bold move to go that big at a time of economic uncertainty. “It’s a big question mark,” he said, when asked about concerns about the recession. “Not for now, but in the next two to six months we will probably see some sort of slowdown. But the impact is difficult to measure today.”

Right now, he said, the brand is still seeing heavy traffic to its boutiques, and the holidays are very promising. “We have to adapt and be able to support the client and sometimes be careful, because we don’t know what’s going to affect us six months from now,” she said. “At Chanel, we are building the brand step by step; we’re not trying to do double-digit growth every year. It’s about being able to control growth, support and service our customer and make sure we deliver the best unique experience.”

A fashion show on a beach lands in the one-of-a-kind experiences category, and when show guests filtered into the space with dreamy French music playing, it was clear this was a wealthy client poised to buy. Most of the crowd was dressed in Chanel from head to toe, fully accessorized with sunglasses, logo earrings, a fun mix of quilted bags and even some fingerless gloves. These are customers who closely follow every move the brand makes and have a strong appetite for more.

“When you see such a show in person, you want to buy everything,” Pavlovsky said, laughing.

The 2022 Chanel cruise ship replica show at Faena Beach in Miami.

Courtesy of Chanel

The Miami client is international, he said. Until then, the boutique staff speaks 14 languages, ready to serve the needs of a city that welcomes visitors from all over South and Latin America and beyond.

“I love everything about this collection,” said Marion Cotillard, the Academy Award-winning actress and face of Chanel No. 5, after the show in a luxurious beachside cabana along the runway. Cotillard, who recently wore look 44 from the collection at the Cannes Film Festival, would know. “He’s my favorite, I think,” she said of the belted little black dress with billowing sheer sleeves. Cotillard has a deep relationship with the brand, having recently voiced Coco Chanel in an immersive short film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

The actress was only in town briefly because she’s working on “Lee,” a film about Elizabeth “Lee” Miller, the model who became an acclaimed war photographer for Vogue magazine during World War II, along with Kate Winslet. , who has been working on the film for six years.

“I think this was made for Kate Winslet. I’m so happy that he’s making this movie; it’s really her baby. And she is my favorite actress,” Cotillard said. “So, I knew she was making this movie even before she approached me and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Chanel had a host of other brand ambassadors in town for the event, adding another touch of French glamor and prestige to the Miami experience.

Lily-Rose Depp, who has worn the brand at many high-profile events including the Met Gala, said: “Virginie and Karl are very good at making their shows so transformative. I really feel like every time I see a Chanel show in person, the clothes come to life and all the context and inspiration, you can really feel it.”

Depp has been a fan since his youth, calling his love for Chanel “obsessive,” which began in his mother Vanessa Paradis’s closet, which he often raided.

“The sunglasses I was wearing today,” he said, “my mom specifically said they were hers and told me, ‘You can’t take them.’ And I took them.

Enthusiasm for the brand resonated with attendees, many of whom were shopping off the runway. “It’s funny because I always tell people that whenever I’m in a new country or a new city, the first thing I do is go to the Chanel store,” said actress Arden Cho, whose Netflix series “Partner Track” gained a lot of buzz this year.

“I was literally capturing all my favorites and then I realized, ‘Oh no, it could be the whole collection,'” she exclaimed after the show. Cho is serious, she even had a Chanel birthday cake this year. “When I started making money, the first thing I did was buy my mom her first Chanel bag.”

Cho said her mother was a little jealous that the actress was watching the show in person, but she planned to buy her a new bag when she got back home.

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 04: Nile Rodgers performs onstage during the CHANEL Cruise 2022/23 Miami Collection after party at Faena Beach on November 04, 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Alejandro Tamargo/WireImage)

Nile Rodgers performs on stage during Chanel’s 2022 Cruise Collection in Miami after party at Faena Beach.

Alejandro Tamargo/WireImage

After the show, the crowd gathered in a space near the runway, toes in the sand, dancing to the tunes and lounging on elegant banquettes bathed in the soothing hue of a Chanel neon sign. The night culminated in a performance by Niles Rodgers & Chic, with house ambassador Pharrell Williams joining in for their song “Get Lucky”.

The next morning, the brand held a keynote address and invited 190 art, fashion, design, and architecture students from Miami-area universities to attend. The series, which the brand has combined with previous shows, offers the next generation a unique look into the spirit of the fashion house.

Pavlovsky and Ambassadors Williams and Caroline de Maiget answered questions from moderator Tyler Brûlé and the students.

Pavlovsky noted that there is much more to the brand outside of the shows it hosts, including its commitment to preserving the legacy of the French fashion ecosystem. He talked about Le19M, the creative hub that he named Chanel with emblematic numbers. It houses the embroiderers Lesage and Atelier Montex, the goldsmith Goossens, the hatter Maison Michel, the feather craftsman Lemarié, the folder Lognon and the shoemaker Massaro.

The students asked a combination of questions, including on the topic of sustainability. The executive said the brand has been quietly working on ways to evolve in the area, revealing that Chanel is moving to end all plastic use, a goal he said it would soon meet. Pavlovsky noted that the brand does not generally communicate its sustainability practices, but it is part of all internal conversations.

In five weeks, Chanel will land in Dakar, Senegal, to present the next Métiers d’Art collection. Williams, who passionately shared with students the importance of including marginalized communities in business and creative conversations, noted that the show’s location in Senegal is part of an ongoing conversation he has had with the brand for some time, having mentioned the subject. to Lagerfeld when Williams came to Chanel. But the talks turned serious on a trip to Japan with Pavlovsky.

Bruno Pavlovsky, Pharrell Williams and Tyler Brûlé at the Chanel Masterclass in Miami.


The duo revealed for the first time that the emerging luxury destination will host more than just a show. Chanel is planning a three-day festival that will celebrate Dakar’s creativity, with Viard’s Métiers d’Art collection launching what it intends to be an ongoing conversation between the French brand and the Senegalese capital.

The push into a country once occupied by France by a French fashion brand did not go unnoticed by Williams. “Getting there and doing the exact opposite of colonization seemed pretty interesting to me,” he said. “Because it’s not just about coming here to show off. In fact, he is working with the artisans, providing so many partnerships. That is unprecedented.”

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