Shanghai recently became the envy of the fashion world thanks to the November 25th opening of Chanel’s new flagship boutique. Fashion blogs had been eagerly anticipating the launch of this Peter Marino-designed store, housed in the luxurious Peninsula Hotel on the Bund and featuring a range of products exclusive to Shanghai. We headed there yesterday to check it out and to bring you a firsthand peek at Chanel’s new Chinese home.
Accessing the boutique through the Peninsula’s entrance on Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu, one of the first things that struck us was how much it felt like a private home (albeit the one of someone a tad bit obsessed with Chanel items). Renowned architect and interior designer Marino intended for this residential feel, inspired by the Paris apartment of the legendary Coco Chanel.
In an interview posted on Chanel’s official Paris-Shanghai website, Marino explains how the apartment design is exclusive to Shanghai because of the boutique’s unique location in the lobby of a luxury hotel as opposed to a mall: “Instead of immediately a room with handbags or something, I made a long hall, like you would do in an apartment, off of which are the biblio, the salon, salle à manger… It’s a distinctly non-commercial layout.”
And as in most luxury apartments, the Chanel boutique is lovingly furnished with (designer) sofas and armchairs. Guests rest in these as merchandise is brought before them for personal perusal, a high level of customer service that Marino says is only possible due to the expected low levels of traffic in a hotel setting.
However, a high level of sales is expected. During our short visit, we noted numerous purchases being made and customers leaving the store with their spanking new Chanel shopping bags. We were more than a little envious.
Aside from the Chanel classics, products drawing in customers include the Karl Lagerfeld-designed, China-inspired exclusive collection only available for purchase in this store. They include the Chanel quilted flap bag in red, red tweed jackets with gold trim, embroidered mousseline tweed jackets, and sexy red sling backs with the metallic “CC” logo. The red may seem a little cliché, but with sexy Baptiste Giabiconi as the face of the collection, all is forgiven.
These exclusive products are not the only reason Chanel-philes are excited about Shanghai. In conjunction with the store’s opening, Lagerfeld chose Shanghai as this year’s location for the unveiling of his 2010 Paris-Shanghai Métiers D’Art collection. This fashion extravaganza on the Bund took place yesterday evening and brought stars of the fashion world and industry insiders to our city. If you’re sad about missing it/not being invited, you can watch the event on the official website starting today.
After the current Chanel fervor has cooled, will there still be enough interest in the flagship to ensure its future? Definitely, according to Bain & Company’s latest study on the luxury market, which sees sales of luxury goods in China remaining incredibly robust while slumps continue in developed markets of Europe and North America.
With its premier location, beautifully-designed interior, unique shopping experience, and simply because it’s Chanel, we say that this flagship on the Bund has nothing to worry about, except perhaps having more customer traffic than anticipated.
Location: 32 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai, 200002
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 11 AM to 9:30 PM