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Can Chanel create a fragrance classic with Gabrielle?



Chanelle Gabrielle

Chanel is really going for it with its new fragrance, Gabrielle. Which is not at all surprising, given it’s its first big fragrance launch in 15 years. Reviews so far have been mixed. Some describe it as smelling like a room diffuser from Next (ouch), while others love its fruity-floral effervescence.

While the ad campaign positions it as bold, groundbreaking and dynamic, it’s really not a power scent. To me it’s more of a pleasing ‘feminine’ floral fragrance that’s uncomplicated and easy to wear. There’s certainly nothing about the mandarin, grapefruit and blackcurrant top notes combined with a white floral heart that could possibly offend, especially not the young Asian Chanel customer who adores her clean, light florals.

But I think with all the hoopla and the ultra-sophisticated faceted bottle (designed by Chanel’s head of packaging and graphic design, Sylvie Legastelois  – *Googles her immediately*), the expectation was for something, well, unexpected, different, challenging even.

It’s a big ask to to create an instant classic. And it must be far trickier when you’re Chanel, with the world’s most iconic fragrance under your double-C belt. So perfumer Olivier Polge has had his work cut out, aiming to appease every type of Chanel customer, from the 70-something to the young millennial mademoiselle. And let’s be honest, that’s the customer Chanel needs to capture now.

The Guardian reports that sales of perfume are down between 5 and 10% a year as those pesky millennials shun legacy fragrance brands. I’m not a millennial by age but I am by mindset and right now it’s the cool young niche brands that are capturing my imagination. For the old school brands that’s a hard pill to swallow. For so long they held the power and as with every other creative industry, that power has been diminished in recent years by young disruptors.

Chanel has attempted to capture newer noses before, most recently with Chanel N°5 L’Eau. That was fronted by Lily-Rose Depp and given a lighter, citrus-y twist. For Gabrielle, the masterstroke was getting Kristen Stewart as its face of the fragrance. Her tomboy demeanour but classic features are right for our androgynous moment, yet she scrubs up well. Her fan base is the one Chanel wants to capture, the effortless cool girl who cares about how she presents herself without spending hours contouring her nose. Kristen represents the young Gabrielle Chanel, whose independent spirit it hopes to bottle.

While I quite like this fresh, Chance-y scent, I think a more gender-neutral type of fragrance could have been a bolder success, pinpointing this moment in time while still having the potential to be a future classic. Commercially though, while not necessarily breaking new ground, I don’t think Chanel has anything to worry about. It certainly looks and feels special, luxurious and desirably Chanel.

To help things along, Chanel is amping up the promotion with an experiential concept called Espace Gabrielle Chanel. With typical Chanel-style brand immersion, it has taken over a store at 27 Old Bond Street, W1 to create a discovery world for Chanel aficionados. Open until September 24th, you can enjoy a workshop on Gabrielle Chanel, an ‘olfactory discovery experience’ (book here) and leave with a Gabrielle perfume sample and a special one-off Chanel tote.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Not Your Standard
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

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Come to my Grenson London meet-up



DisneyRollerGirl X Grenson

This Wednesday, I’m hosting a jolly get-together at Grenson’s lovely Soho store in London. It’s all an excuse to step away from the social media screen and meet IRL, just like our old blogger meet-ups back in the day. As much as I love making connections online, it’s good to meet face to face, and I particularly want to get to know some of the people I’ve been talking to on social media for the past couple of years.

That includes readers who have discovered the blog via my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman, so if that’s you, please come down and say hello! And if you don’t have a copy of the book, I’ll also be signing a few on the night (hey, Christmas is coming)…

It should be a fun evening, with drinks and nibbles and a cheeky 20% discount on Grenson’s excellent women’s collection. Don’t forget to RSVP (to press@grenson.co.uk, subject: Disneyrollergirl) and I can’t wait to see you there.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

 

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Burberry photography exhibition: Here We Are



Martin Parr Burberry photography exhibition

I always look forward to the Burberry LFW show but September’s show is going to be even better than usual. Christopher Bailey has curated a Burberry photography exhibition called Here We Are, celebrating some of our British photography greats. On display to the public from 18 September – 1 October it’s co-curated by Lucy Kumara Moore, director of Claire de Rouen Books and gives a hint to the theme of the autumn collection. (more…)



Everything you need to know about The Postal Museum and The Mail Rail



Postal Museum - London

Anyone remotely geeky is going to love The Postal Museum. Philatelists, trainspotters, fascinating fact addicts – come one, come all! London’s new destination lets you immerse yourself in British history, taking you on an experiential trip down the memory lane of the world’s first postal system. It’s interactive, steeped in detail and very good fun. I went to experience it in its first week. (more…)