In a bid to reach out further to a younger demographic, Chanel sells new season sneakers at a fraction of the cost.
Stepping into the West London boutique and the recognisable sneakers line the walls. Pastel tweed, pristine whites, subtle rays of metallics and a plethora of stereotypical feminine tones catch the eye in a rainbow of youth. Usually selling at £350- £1000, a look at the label of many of these shoes shows a reduced price of just over £100 - £150. Yet for one customer, it was even less.
"I was just browsing and was completely drawn to this pink and lilac pair," says Frankie, twenty one years of age, pointing down at her feet. "I read the price and was like aww if they were a bit cheaper, like £50-£60, I would definitely buy them. Karl [Lagerfeld] overheard me, came over and said he'd drop the price so I could get them!" Asked why she considered this to be the case, Frankie responded with "I'm twenty one but look like a fifteen year old so he must have thought parfait! Any way to get my target consumer showing off genuine Chanel."
It seems out of character, and for many luxury shoppers sickening, that a renowned fashion house gleaming in tradition and wealth would sell in the same market as high street. It also seems out of character for the designer and creative director to be present and actively engaged in a low-key London store, especially when there is no event taking place. But Lagerfeld insists that it is the way forward for both Chanel and the fashion industry.
"It is not like this for every collection and product. Of course, that would be silly," he says. "But in order to expand and thrive in the industry today, we need to be open minded. The youth are the future and so, as a company that always looks ahead, we should embrace that."
It's hard to tell if he's being serious, as emotions are disguised behind trademark opaque glasses and stern facial features, although one thing is for sure: There are a lot of joyful young girls strolling flat-footed through the streets right now.