(ImaxTree, Photo illustration by StyleBistro) Little Britain's Carol Beer; Karl Lagerfeld
Dear people who live in remote parts of the world (or, uh, anywhere outside large metropolitan areas) and/or people like me who are lazy and don't always want to trek to stores on the weekend: Have you ever wondered why it's darn-near impossible to buy brand-new, guaranteed-authentic Chanel apparel and accessories off the internet? Sure, the company sells beauty products and perfume online, but what about handbags, shoes, and smart tweed suits?
Turns out, Chanel's top-boss, President of Fashion Bruno Pavlovsky, has a really good reason for keeping the luxury brand's wares off the e-commerce landscape.
"To be able to wear Chanel clothes, you need to try them on," Pavlovsky told The Business of Fashion. "You need to be in the fitting room. You need to have a tailor who alters the clothes to fit exactly to your body. I think it's part of Chanel. It's more than just our service. It's part of our differentiation to have ready-to-wear that is perfect for our customers."
So, really, it's not even about moving merch—it's about the true luxury of the shopping experience and how it reflects on the brand.
"What we want today—and the way we use digital—is to have more and more people come to the boutique to see the product, to touch the product, but also to try the product," Pavlovsky said. "And that, for me, is the important part."
When asked about accessories, which can easily be sold online, Pavlovsky explained that the company would rather sell handbags, say, to customers who are exposed to the complete brand experience.
"It's a strategic choice," he said. "It's a choice to say, 'Guys, you can see whatever you want on the internet, but we want you to come to the boutique, because we feel that in the boutique we can give you the right understanding of the brand.' So, yes we could sell handbags on the internet. But my feeling is that it's not qualitative enough and it's not the kind of service that we want to give to our customers—at the moment."
How many years do you think it will be before Chanel jumps on the e-commerce bandwagon with its pret-a-porter and accessories? Take a guess in the comments below! And have a look at the entire interview with Pavlovsky, right here.