On Chanel’s Covent Garden beauty pop-up and the Disneyfication of luxury retail

Latest in the rebranding of Covent Garden is Chanel’s new standalone beauty pop-up, a make-up mecca that will be in situ between now and the end of the year. It’s the first of its kind for Chanel in Europe and suggests they’re trialling the concept for a more permanent set-up. Why Covent Garden? “It’s a light-hearted, fun destination,” I was told, although being positioned slap bang at the entrance of the Piazza and also along the same drag as Apple, Burberry Brit, Rugby Ralph Lauren and Opening Ceremony on King Street (AKA, London’s new shopping destination) sounds much more strategic than that.

For retail tourists, this is heaven. An article by the FT’s Vanessa Friedman ponders the ‘Disneyfication’ of luxury retail, as brands make the in-store experience more exciting and interactive for newly minted visitors (read: Chinese ones). The Chanel store boasts a shape-and-paint nail bar, walk-in make-up counters, and later in the year, beauty vending machines. I imagine there will be something super-snazzy planned for Fashion’s Night Out. When I visited for an early look on Tuesday, there were Chanel-logoed taxis stationed outside (painted in key Chanel shades obv) and I’m told this store will carry most of the limited editions and preview the autumn collection before others in August.

Will all this hoopla cheapen the brand? I doubt it. There’s a fine line between availability and ubiquity and Chanel treads it pretty well. See for yourself, the store is now open…

Lipstick camelia and star displays

Pop-inspired graphic touches throughout

Discussing new season colours and with Kay Montano

Nail artist Sophy Robson Chanelled up from head to toe. (PS, news just in: Sophy’s Nail Porn company has collaborated with P&G to do the nails for the actual Olympics)

New season Chanel nail colours from Sophy’s own kit: Vertigo, Suspicious and Frenzy

Colour-matched Chanel taxis