Sunday, July 03, 2011

Chanel Fall Collections, An Overview And Some Thoughts


Chanel has been pulling out at all the stops for fall 2011 with two full color collections. The official fall 2011, Illusions d'Ombres de Chanel, now available at the counters and online, was joined by the more exclusive and runway-inspired Collection Byzance de Chanel (only at Chanel boutiques and online). And from what I heard at the NYC Madison Avenue boutique, they're not quite done yet.

This onslaught of shinies comes at the heels of the even more exclusive Lumieres Byzantines de Chanel palette (you can see it on Best Things In Beauty and Cafe Makeup), and after the exceptional online marketing campaign for the new Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks. The campaign used Facebook in a way I have yet to see done by a prominent luxury brand: they built a full Facebook app that not only let you browse better swatches of the lipstick colors but also place them in your cart and buy directly (without going to chanel.com). And all that- before the line has actually hit the stores, so you also got to feel like Chanel was letting you in on a secret, making you one of the few in the know (well, together with half the Facebook universe).

Pretty smart. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Chanel's numbers have been breaking new records (I doubt we will know, as Chanel is not publically held, therefore their financials remain private). The thing is that I can't fight the nagging feeling that they're overdoing it. As a customer, I want Chanel to remain a little aloof, exclusive and not try too hard. I want to see an artistic vision that corresponds with the  house's fashion, more than the MAC approach to life and business. Of course, if you followed the resorts runways you also noticed that Karl Lagerfeld presented a disproportional huge resort line. And I'm not even getting into the question of who even needs three full apparel collections a year.

I'm not a minimalist, but I'm practical. I buy stuff I know I'm going to use and wear, apparel, accessories and makeup that go with items I already have. I mix, match and have fun with what I have: new makeup, vintage jewelry and everything in between. The point is to choose right. What you see in the photo above are the products I got from both collections. I passed on several truly beautiful items, from the limited edition Joues Contraste Or, a gold blush/highlighter because I could not detect any difference between this and Facettes d'Or from fall 2008. Then there were the gorgeous Illusion d'Ombre eye shadows on their glittery finish and divine texture. I didn't buy them for the same reason I skipped the Armani Eyes To Kill Intense singles. I just don't see myself wearing any of them enough to justify the space they take. I passed on the pencil liner Khaki Platine after swatching it because just like Rose Platine from the summer collection, it's not dark enough to make a difference, and most of the lip colors for redundancy. It was just too much stuff.

Still, as you can see there's a lot to love from both Chanel collections, and as I've been spending some quality time with the items I chose, I'm as impressed and happy with it as one wants to be with such a collection. Photos, reviews and swatches are coming.

Photo by me.

15 comments:

  1. I agree with you. I long ago stopped following MAC as it was impossible to keep up with all the collections being released. What I loved about Chanel was that the collections were carefully crafted and small enough that I could buy almost and entire collection seasonally and have it not be way to much. There is no way I could even begin to put a dent in all the beautiful fall items being released. To the point it's kept me from ordering even a few of the things I'm pretty sure I do want. Plus the exclusivity of some of the collections is quite irritating to me as it puts them somewhat beyond my grasp :-(

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  2. I'm with you too, I stopped following MAC for the exact same reason. Too overwhelming and sometimes the glut is not exceptional so why buy anything? Just to note the Byzance items are available at Bloomingdales in NYC. I just pick what I think is best for me.

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  3. I'm excited about your upcoming reviews, especially the Byzance palette! I do agree with your observations, though. I do feel like the publicity is a bit overdone; there are a lot beautiful items, however it's overwhelming and I don't find myself as excited about either collection this season.

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  4. Gaia, I agree with you on the whole. I bought the entire Byzance collection, but suspect that I may return the gold highlighter. I may return the lipstick too if it has a much pink in it as you describe. Had Chanel made the collection available in all their stores (it won't be available in the DC Metro area, where I live), I could look at it before buying. This attempt at exclusivity, which is not the kind you wish for, along with the trend to make everything limited edition, has annoyed me for quite some time. It drives customers to buy everything right away, for fear that they may not get something they might love. And they probably anticipate that many of us won't return the items we don't want. I wonder if Chanel has experienced declining sales in this recession as many luxury houses have, and if they have learned as Michael Kors and Isaac Mizrahi did, that marketing to the masses can fill in financial gaps. The "masses," meaning those of us who can't afford Chanel clothes or bags, but can splurge on makeup. And there are plenty of new buyers who weren't around to buy Facettes D'Or. All of that said, I have to admire this business strategy, whether or not it's suitable for Chanel's image. It's clever. The question is whether they can keep it up.

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  5. Well, you didn't say it had a hint of pink, but it appears so on my screen!

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  6. All I can say is that you have more will power than I do! Chanel's fall collection has caught my attention. The Byzantine collection doesn't do a thing for me or Nordstrom's exclusivity, my wallet is very happy!

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  7. I completely agree, Gaia. I too would like my luxury brands to remain luxury and not fall into the over-promotion madness of MAC. I appreciate exclusivity, but I like to test before buying to make sure the products do indeed suit me. I'm going to skip the Illusion shadows-too sparkly but I will probably cave on the Byzantine palette. I'm waiting for your review!

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  8. I always love reading about the fall collections. It's over the top gorgeous, that's for sure.
    There is something to be said for overexposure, restraint primes the pump, so to speak.

    That said, was there a bronzer in the mix? I'm on the hunt for a new one.

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  9. C., there are several other reasons to not follow MAC, but the constant stream of special collection is, indeed, the biggest one.

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  10. Evelyn, thanks for letting us all know. This makes the third NYC location to find them: Chanel boutiques, both Madison/57th and SoHo also have it. Many would be happier to buy from Bloomie's.

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  11. Dovey, I hope you enjoyed the reviews and that they helped you make decisions, even a little.

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  12. Ava, I wonder about their future, too. If the returns become overwhelming it's most likely they will tone it down.

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  13. J., my wallet isn't too happy with Chanel, but I'm probably skipping Dior and/or Guerlain.

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  14. Cindy, I hope the review was helpful. I'd rather order more RBR from Zuneta and Suqqu from icibankao than buy all the sparklies.

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  15. Elizabeth, no bronzer, just blushes. But if you're after a bronzer I highly recommend Edward Bess and Shiseido.

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