When Chanel‘s Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld speaks, the fashion world pays attention.
In a recent interview with BBC, Lagerfeld, one of the most prolific and respected designers of our time, described how the world is changing, how the money (the wealth) is traveling, and why logos are so important.
China and other emerging markets are now as important to Chanel as the U.S. Lagerfeld isn’t sure if U.S. is Chanel biggest market anymore. Growing sales in China, Russia and Latin America were offsetting slower sales in the West.
He noted that it was wrong to describe countries like China as emerging economies because “some of them are doing better than we do.”
He added: “America was the most important market, and is still an important market, but this crisis in the world for luxury is a little less dangerous because there is China… the Middle East, the Gulf and all that, and Russia. And South America is becoming very strong too.” Chanel just opened a big store in Brazil.
“The world is changing and the money is traveling too.”
Lagerfeld cautioned luxury brands not to bring out special collections for new markets, saying they did not “want to be treated this way.” Rather, he advised luxury brands to offer all the main products.
As more of the world could afford luxury, Lagerfeld underscored the importance of logos. Symbols break down language barriers. As luxury brands expand to different parts of the world where so many people can not read English or French, they can recognize and remember initials better. He said “the importance of logos to world fashion is unbelievable.”
Lagerfeld doesn’t see couture being manufactured in China. He explained that couture is not manufactured, but completely hand-made, needed to be fitted, and completely different from ready-to-wear, even expensive ready-to-wear, collections in which sizes are standard.
Unlike ready-to-wear, Lagerfeld thinks couture will not be traveling, but remain in Paris.
photo credit: chanel