It’s not everyday you see Chanel, a 100-year-old fashion house, unveil a themed test store – let alone in Melbourne.
For this one-off store, Chanel has recreated the atmosphere of the iconic Parisian hotel, The Ritz, in Australia.The Ritz– which was first opened in 1898 by Swiss-born César Ritz – is a revolving door of interesting people. Coco Chanel loved it so much she lived there for 34 years, followed by F Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Rudolph Valentino, Winston Churchill, Marcel Proust and Charlie Chaplin.
The project is the fashion house’s first concept store outside of its Australian boutiques. When you see the navy neon sign outside Marais reading “Paris Cosmopolite”, you’ve arrived. The store’s windows and walls are laced with climbing foliage, inspired by the tapestry carpet at The Ritz. It doesn’t look like Marais, and that’s because Chanel has taken over, bringing the Cosmopolite 2016/2017 Métiers d’Art ready-to-wear collection, shown in Paris last December, to Melbourne through a newly created, transformed space.
Inside, follow the print up the staircase to find Chanel on the top floor. Navy velvet sofas, indigo cabinetry, polished brass finishes and electric-blue LED lights add to the dramatic appeal. There is a theatre room up there, too, where guests can watch videos of the show and the making-of the collection.
The collection is a portal into café society, with a curated mix of glittering eveningwear pieces. Browse lengthy godets, iconic Chanel jackets (adorned with pearls and tweed roses) and sunray pleated blouses with ostrich feathers. The metallic Gabrielle bag is front and centre, available in different colours, alongside over-the-knee patchwork suede boots. Press your nose to cabinets showcasing the fine jewellery collection, from seemingly endless pearl necklaces to diamond rings.
The windows of the Chanel Flinders Lane and Chadstone boutiques will also emulate elements of the Ritz to celebrate the pop-up, heralding the arrival of the new collection.
The Chanel ephemeral boutique pop-up will run until July 9.