(Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel - image via source)
The luxury habits and desires of the well-heeled Supremium fashion tribe* were recently scrutinized by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) - a carefully selected "portfolio" of 520 of the world’s finest small independent hotels in more than 70 countries. SLH surveyed over 13,000 of their customers and discovered that:
- Italy, Paris & the Maldives are considered the most luxurious destinations to visit;
- they expect charm and character in a spendy hotel;
- free Wi-Fi trumps free breakfast (the rich will happily make their own coffee...as long as it's Nespresso);
- the top luxury brand is Chanel. (via)
(model Iris Strubegger | French Vogue March 2009 via source)
Part of the reason Chanel is #1 is exclusivity. Like fellow French brand Hermès, Chanel does not hold sales in their boutiques nor even sell its merch (aside from beauty products) online. “In that sense, it creates a perception of purity,” observes Milton Pedraza, CEO of the research group Luxury Institute. Purity then elevates any Chanel purchase to the level of "investment" for the long term, especially when combined with design quality and most importantly, heritage. The Chanel story. "Chanel is not just another luxury fashion brand," insists Brand Stories. "It’s a philosophy, a state of mind, a statement, a label, worn with pride to say to the world I’ve arrived." That without you, there is no party. "I don't do fashion," the maison's founder, Coco Chanel, liked to say. "I am fashion!"
Arrogant? Of course. Compelling? Absolutely. She built her eponymous brand on the power of her personality, its lifeblood her fairytale story: a difficult childhood, meagre beginnings as a milliner, a prince (aka a rich & generous boyfriend), a fancy fashion boutique, an iconic fragrance, and finally, a legend.
Like any timeless tale, this one begins with Once upon a time. The Chanel story contains everything a riveting tale needs including:
- a powerful plot: woman beats tremendous odds to permanently alter the fashion business
- a strong character: the soundbite-ready protagonist, Mademoiselle Coco
- a struggle: poverty and a stratified society
- a resolution: Chanel triumphs!
"It ticks off all the elements of a good story," Brand Stories adds, which is "the main reason why this brand story works so well...Its open-narrative maintains its relevance across generations." As Luxury Daily's 2013 Luxury Marketer of the Year winner, Chanel "proved itself the master of the narrative," agrees Luxury Daily's EIC, Mickey Alam Khan. From their strong use of video (especially the viral YouTube makeup how-to videos) to offbeat celeb faces like Twilight's Kristin Stewart to "advertising flair" (Marilyn Monroe flirtatiously applying No. 5, anyone?), "each piece of communication and marketing was another link in the grand construct of the Chanel story. A luxury brand’s key achievement is to stir longing and emotion for craftsmanship and high quality, and Chanel elevated the standard with marketing whose finesse was unmatched and much admired.”
NOTE: *The Supremium fashion tribe is wealthy, full of wanderlust and happy to shop-shop-shop their way through the apocalypse. For more of my posts and podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn about all the fashion tribes I track and analyze, START HERE.
- Lesley Scott