How Chanel is bringing back the ‘total look’

Italian luxury fashion house of Moschino took to the catwalks last month with a collection inspired by fast food chain McDonald’s. British luxury acccessories house of Anya Hindmarch used the shape of a detergent (Ariel) and a crisp packaging to create luxury handbags. Last month, French luxury maison Chanel included plastic sneakers for the very fist time in the history of the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

Chanel has gone one step further with its Fall-Winter Ready-To-Wear AW 2014-15 Collection show today in Paris, by hosting its catwalk show in a supermarket set-up, models walking the runway with supermarket baskets, on the backdrop of groceries etc. Lagerfeld ironic take on luxury is surely going to attract atttention, not only for the intrigue but also redefining luxury lifestyle. Lagerfeld message is that one can wear haute couture sneakers on a casual outing or any pret-a-porter piece while going to the supermarket.

This does not mean Chanel products will be any cheaper or distributed more widely. The indirect message that Chanel sends is aimed at bringing back the must-have total look. This way, Chanel indirectly targets luxury consumers who have been finding acceptable and cool to wear ”’basics” from Zara, H&M or Adidas, while maintaining a luxury lifestyle stance.  This was probably Lagerfeld’s intention when launching last month a colourful line of casual backpacks, ideal for fashionable school girls to wear in school.

The luxury fashion and accessories sector has been gradually losing out to the anti-luxury sentiment, in some markets fuelled by the ‘guilt factor’, luxury lifestyle being redefined by mix & match – wearing a Zara T-Shirt with an Hermes handbag. Chanel’s new approach could signal a revival of the luxury fashion and accessories sector, which has been seeing slower growth accross all markets in the past year. Mention should be made that Chanel’s new product development is not to be associated or mistaken with affordability – on the contrary!

Wouldn’t luxury consumers appreciate Gucci socks, Givenchy swim trunks, a Bottega Veneta plastic shopping bag (supermarket) or an Hermes cotton T-shirt with a graffitti design?

Watch the Chanel catwalk Fall Winter 2014-15 Ready-to-Wear show here

Oliver Petcu in London

Chanel Ready-to-Wear AW 2014-15 in a supermarket setting