The Ultimate Luxury Pop-Up Shop: Chanel Meets Aspen

Luxury brand Chanel launched its first state-side pop-up shop this July, in Aspen, Colorado. Karl Lagerfeld showed his distinctively western-style Métiers d’Art Paris-Dallas collection in Dallas, Texas, last December – and now the collection has appeared, publicly showcased in a small modern boutique above the Casa Tua restaurant and club. And just my luck, I happened to be in town the last night the pop-up was open! Giddy. I was on a mission to track it down and that I did.

Without a doubt, this collection felt right at home in Aspen as it did in Dallas. It’s completely over-the-top western Americana, with stars, fringe, holsters (for your Chanel No. 5, of course), belt buckles and boots. The large wood-clad room over the Casa Tua captured the thematic and served as the perfect setting for such glamor. Feather-capped mannequins and the classic Chanel logo in Neon centered around a large fireplace anchored the room. Around the edges, individual pieces from the collection hung and yes, I was tempted to try on the furry/feathered long-sleeve bolero jacket, but at $6,250, I admired it from the hanger. I left only with a well-designed, gilded-edge lookbook, featuring Kristen Stewart as Lagerfield’s muse for this collection, so my designer heart was happy without a hit to my pocketbook.

While I am confident that Chanel sold quite well in Aspen over the 10 days it was there, the pop-up shop is more about exposing your brand in a new light, to a new audience and breaking out of your brand boundaries for a precious limited time, which Chanel did on some levels, albeit somewhat safely in the affluence that is Aspen proper. The next day, I walked by just to see if there was anything left, and it was as if it had been only a dream. A brilliant French dream in the middle of the Colorado mountains. I look forward to seeing where the next one pops up.

Photo credits: Allison Emery

A New Face at Target

Over the past few years Target Stores have been really upping their game in the beauty area, adding lines from names like Jemma Kidd and Napoleon Perdis and revamping the look of the department to have a more premium feel.

And now the mass retailer has added what is arguably the most upscale touch of all – a human face. Last month they launched a test Beauty Concierge program in 28 stores in the Chicago area. Fourteen full-time Beauty Concierge advisors are assigned to cover two stores each, to “act as” a friendly face in what can often be an intimidating department.

Like the beauty consultants of high-end department stores they dress in chic black – instead of Target red – and wear aprons and nametags to identify themselves. But better than traditional department stores, they’ll be armed with a mirror, iPad, a stash of product samples and the ability to provide “detailed, unbiased information” about the multiple beauty brands Target carries, as well as practical beauty tips. Word has it that if the test is successful it will roll out to about 450 Target stores.

Overcoming shopper confusion in categories where decision-making is complex is a challenge modern big-box retailers have wrung their hands over for years. The industry has pursued increasingly sophisticated POS and tech solutions for delivering shopper information and education at shelf.

Kudos to Target for realizing there’s nothing like the human touch, a live person/advisor who can listen to my concerns then give a personalized answer, hopefully with reassurance and a smile – especially in a category as emotional and personal as beauty.