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August 28, 2020 6 min read

Coco Bluff: Chanel Fashion House is looking for its way after the Carl Lagerfeld era, with the Corona hit threatening a drop of tens of percent in sales and weak displays ignoring social change, the old Chanel fashion house is experiencing a severe crisis George Floyd, and in the midst of the wave of riots that followed, hosted the first major virtual fashion show of the French luxury brand Chanel since the shows were canceled due to the Corona virus. 

Read more in Calcalist: Crocodile-skin dinosaurs: the global collapse of department stores The H&M chain is opening its first outlet in Israel in the shadow of the corona: the fashion brand Liligreys closes the display activity of the Cruz collection was supposed to take place in Capri in May, but due to the global closure But already watching the promos for the event titled "Ballad in the Mediterranean" a sense of disconnection and alienation arose: images of sunset and sunrise in Capri, a calm blue sea were contrasting with what was happening on city streets and protest, and the period of closure in general. Not to mention the display and clothes. Why did it even exist? Why hasn't the fashion house, which is expected to absorb a significant drop of up to 35% in revenue in the next two years, despite a 15% price increase in April, taken advantage of the digital benefits to rethink its future and adapt to the spirit of the times? Along with the corona damage and the changing public atmosphere and mood towards luxury brands that are perceived as detached, the crisis Chanel is in is more serious because since the death of iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld, the brand seems to be looking its way: Winter 2020 show conducted by Lagerfeld's replacement, Virginie Vier, Suffered cold reviews, to say the least. If then it was written in "Fashion Week" that "without Garfeld, whose collections were not always brilliant, but the show always did the job - Chanel is a sad brand", then it is now written that the show was "irrelevant", in Vanessa's words Friedman in the New York Times: "The clothes made you feel like an old-fashioned commercial. You could have skipped this season." Virginie Vier. There will never be a celebrity like Lagerfeld Virginie Vier. There will never be a celebrity like Lagerfeld Photo: AFP In the days of Lagerfeld, who died in February 2019, it was an impressive show, a show of strength that surprised and thrilled every time: in 2008 he placed a huge carousel in the center of the Grand Palais with horses - bags, chains and more Chanel elements that have been enlarged to huge dimensions. In 2014, it was a huge supermarket complex, with the models walking around its aisles with super chandelier baskets; And in 2017, a kind of space shuttle was placed in the center of the space, the launch of which was accompanied by smoke, sparks and the burning of engines, all for playing Elton John's song "Rocket Man." All of this spectacular backdrop was the backdrop to Lagerfeld’s models, which even if not particularly innovative, offered a refreshing twist, and blended into the colorful fantasy. Recent shows have shown that fantasy - out, commercial - does not exist. Even when she was appointed his successor, many wondered if Viar would succeed in inspiring innovation and freshness in the veteran brand operating in a changing luxury market, longing for innovations in a technological world that sanctifies social networks. But, as Friedman writes, "then the fashion house adapts to the changing world - in an attempt to emulate the world that was, and if these clothes are a statement - they probably do not do the job." Chanel is one of the protected players in the luxury market and is privately owned by billionaire brothers Alan and Gerard Wertheimer, whose family has owned it since 1924. The company that founded Coco Chanel in Paris in 1910 reported in 2019, before the Corona, a return of $ 12.3 billion last year - An increase of 13% compared to 2018. Operating profit increased by 16.6% to $ 3.5 billion. An increase that was mainly due to a significant increase of 20% in sales in Asia (which is responsible for 44% of revenues). And although speculation has recently been raised about the sale of the brand, Chanel vehemently denies and continues to invest in development, a huge investment that has totaled more than $ 1 billion in 12 months, in innovation and promoting creativity. From Chanel's virtual cruise display at Capri. A collection of disconnections from Chanel's virtual cruise display at Capri. Collection of disconnection Photo: julien martinez leclerc After Coco Chanel's death in 1971, the owners waited 12 years to appoint Lagerfeld as the creative director. In contrast, it was immediately clear to them that Viar was continuing its path with the consensus that aesthetic and strategic continuity was critical to the brand. Vier began her career at Chanel as an intern in 1987, and with the exception of a brief stint at Chloe, she has been at Chanel for the rest of her career. Immediately after Lagerfeld's death, his powers were divided between two: Viar, the veteran studio director, was in charge of the collections (she is the first woman in office since Coco Chanel's death) and the veteran director of media, Eric Fronder, was appointed to oversee marketing and advertising. Lagerfeld, a Renaissance man, designer, artist, photographer who has worked in so many fields and managed to expand the fashion discourse beyond clothing - has left a fashion legacy not only in Chanel and Fendi fashion houses where he served as artistic director, alongside a brand bearing his name. But no less important, he also left behind a business legacy. Lagerfeld turned Chanel from a dusty company into a powerful fashion house worth billions and presented a business model to emulate among strong market players, such as Louis Vuitton and Dior. In 1983, when it began in Chanel, the term global luxury as it is known today did not exist. Lagerfeld managed to sell a dream through his displays, creating a luxury pyramid that appealed to all sections of the population: from outrageously expensive haute couture items to nail polish at an affordable price. He managed to turn Chanel-affiliated symbols: the quilted bags, the pearl necklace, the camellias and the two-color shoes into cult items. He may not have been innovative or leading trends, but he created a world of fantasy, thus contributing to a steady increase in sales of accessories, perfumes and cosmetics. This strategy made him and Chanel the leaders. But the fashion world has changed its face in the last decade. While in days of tremendous exposure on social media and media, Lagerfeld’s multi-million dollar displays have earned Chanel the proper exposure, but consumer buying patterns have changed, the seasons are becoming less relevant and social networks require new content on a daily basis. In addition, the millennial pattern of thinking is taking over the luxury market. Generation Y and Generation Z are an engine of growth in the luxury market and their values, like what they are looking for, are different. The high prices, glittering advertising, sleek brand stores and grandiose fashion shows are perceived by them as fixing outdated ideas that represent an improper social hierarchy in the face of street fashion brands that offer communality and ignite the imaginations of today’s consumers. It is not surprising, then, that in the last decade street fashion has burst into the world of luxury fashion and changed its face. The largest and most expensive fashion houses in the world experienced a kind of cultural revolution, which began in men's fashion with new designers appointed artistic directors of the men's collections, breaking the conservative boundaries and winking at a new audience. Carl Lagerfeld in the heyday of Chanel in the winter show 2012. Created a luxury pyramid that appealed to all sections of the population Karl Lagerfeld in the heyday of Chanel in the winter show 2012. Created a luxury pyramid that appealed to all sections of the population Photo: Getty Images Is Viar appealing to a new audience? Her commercial designs, and a 28% increase in sales in her first year in office, seem to testify to that. The magic, however, is gone. Business of Fashion is right in stating: Vier will never be a celebrity like Lagerfeld. Customers will not come to meet her, and only her. Nor will she be a celebrity like those new designers who dominate social networks with millions of followers. In the face of the global crisis - to date, 85% of the brand's 417 stores around the world have opened, stopping flights with closed duty free stores and the fact that Chanel does not plan changes in sales strategy, and going online ("We are convinced personal relationships are the key to luxury experience" Finance Manager Blondia (Financial Times) - The expectation among brand managers is that in the next two years there will be a significant drop of up to 35% in sales. Despite all this, Chanel, meanwhile, is behind the choice of Weir, and is convinced of its abilities to march the fashion house forward.

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