Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oui, oui, oui all the way home.

         In looking at photos of the Paris Fashion Walk, the thing that knocked me out wasn't Prada's on-fire wedges or Fendi's perforated navy tote. It wasn't Kanye West's womenswear show, and it wasn't even the fact that several benches collapsed at the Belenciaga show, forcing Anna Wintour and Catherine Deneuve to stand.

         The thing that did it for me was Chanel's conch shell evening bag. It's spectacular. And it was introduced in an sensational way at Carl Lagerfeld's show. Florence Welch emerged from a giant conch shell singing "What the Water Gave Me".

         I don't know of any company in the world that has a better understanding of its branding. Chanel is steeped in the tradition of Coco, and the way she led the charge for the independent, stylish woman. Everything Chanel does today is rooted in this heritage.

         Nike is the standard bearer for its sports culture and much of its marketing is based on this. But there are other sides to Nike, too; the playful, colorful, stylish sides. Even Ralph Lauren gets off its high horse once in a while. But Chanel is always extraordinary, always Chanel. Just look at this video for Chanel nail polishes:

         Branding is considered advertising's great gift to marketing, but we're not always very good at sticking with our branding. If we were, Xerox would be the biggest name in printers, and Kodak would've been the king of digital cameras long ago. By focusing on copiers and photo paper instead of going where their brands led them, these two companies each flirted with bankruptcy at one time.

         Thank you, Coco, for the little black dress, the red lipstick, and the brand that keeps on giving.

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