Chanel extends its VIP boutiques to the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou

Launched discreetly during the confinement period, the Chanel salon concept has been extended to two new cities in China: Shenzhen and Guangzhou.


Less well known to the general public than Beijing and Shanghai, these two destinations have the advantage of being home to the Middle Kingdom’s great fortunes, to the extent that in recent years they have been among the preferred locations for luxury brands to set up their boutiques.


Two new destinations


Since the pandemic, Chanel has once again opted for discretion to open two new points of sale in China.


These are a new kind of boutique, the Chanel Salon, accessible by appointment only and reserved for the crème de la crème of the Parisian fashion house’s clientele, its VICs (Very Important Clients).


Following the inauguration of its salons in Beijing’s SKP department store and Shanghai’s Plaza 66 shopping mall, Chanel has now moved on to two new destinations: Shenzhen and Hangzhou.


The first Chanel Salon, located in Shenzhen’s MixC shopping center, not far from a more conventional Chanel boutique, offers 399 m² of space. It occupies the former site of a boutique of the American tailor Brooks Brothers. According to local media reports, the boutique’s renovation cost nearly $6 million.


The second Chanel Salon is located on the second floor of Guangzhou’s Taikoo Hui shopping center.


Behind a discreet black-and-white entrance, the 297 m² salon reveals no less than four fitting rooms and a public lounge, according to photos posted on Chinese social network Xiaohongshu (RED).


A social club, emblem of the Quiet Luxury era


Last October, during a conference call on the group’s results, the Maison de la rue Cambon revealed its intention to roll out its VIP Salons concept, starting in Asia.


A decision in keeping with the era of Quiet Luxury. Also known as Stealth Luxury, this historically recurrent trend in times of economic recession and uncertainty consists in not revealing too much about one’s wealth, opting instead for outfits that would blithely pass for what they are not, namely pieces purchased from fast-fashion specialists such as Uniqlo or Zara.


This camouflage dimension for obvious self-preservation purposes – in the face of rising social tensions and the “Eat The Rich” movement – is coupled with a cultural dimension, enabling the wearer to signify his or her distinction through something that only the well-born can master: elegance.


The heroes of the Succession series (HBO) – from the world of Old Money – have adopted this approach, recreating the gap between themselves and the nouveau riche and other upstarts with their garish logos.


What was striking about the opening of the Chanel Salon at Shanghai’s Plaza 66 last year was the frontage.


On the pediment of the Salon Chanel, there’s no mention of the brand; instead, there’s an enigmatic “31 Cambon”. The aim is to appeal to connoisseurs only, and to avoid the misplaced curiosity of tourists who are more likely to buy perfume than a piece of haute couture from the House.


At least, this is what emerged from a presentation by Philippe Blondiaux, the group’s CFO, at the publication of the annual results in May 2022 and relayed by the specialist media Jing Daily.



Our greatest concern is to protect our customers and in particular our existing customers. We will invest in highly protected boutiques to serve customers in a very exclusive way“.


This mysterious approach, where nothing – or very little – filters through, has intrigued Internet users on the Xiaohongshu platform, who refer to these boutiques as “Little Black Rooms”. A reference both to the little black dress – created by Gabrielle Chanel in 1926 – and to the opacity of the premises.


Sheltered from prying eyes, a whole series of events and rituals can freely take place here, such as very intimate collection presentations, exclusive priority pre-orders, gatherings of quality people, birthday parties or high-flying educational courses…


While the space is spacious, with large, comfortable tweed sofas, it remains accessible only to a handful of the Maison Chanel’s most loyal existing customers.


This concept, which aims to dissociate and better target UHNWIs and HNWIs – individuals with investable assets of $50 million and $1 million respectively – is reminiscent of Gucci’s latest initiative.


Feeling the pinch following the hasty departure of its maximalist artistic director, Alessandro Michele, the Kering Group’s flagship brand this year inaugurated the concept of Gucci Salons in Los Angeles, where only those able to put down a minimum of $40,000 can enter.


Before Gucci, Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton had also deployed their VIP Salons.


If Chanel can afford to invest in its retail network, it’s thanks to record results for fiscal 2022, with sales of $17.2 billion. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for almost 50% of sales, offsetting the slowdown in the US market.


Strategic cities


Chanel’s choice of these two cities is no accident.


In fact, Chanel has announced Shenzhen as the future destination for its Cruise 2024 fashion show, succeeding the very Hollywood setting of Los Angeles.


Shenzhen is none other than China’s Silicon Valley, home to the finest in high-tech talent.


It is home to the headquarters of Tencent – parent company of Wechat – as well as those of cell phone manufacturer Huawei and carmaker BYD.


This city of 12.59 million inhabitants (2021) is well known to the luxury industry, since it was here that Hermès set up its latest boutique, and it was here that Burberry proposed its social boutique concept in collaboration with telecoms giant Tencent.



According to Henley & Partners’ World Wealthiest Cities Report 2023, the city also boasts the fastest-growing number of HNWIs: +98% between 2012 and 2022, representing a total of 45,700 individuals.


Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley, Unsplash


According to the Hurun Rich List, Shenzhen is home to more billionaires than London (94). For Henley & Partners, the city is home to twice as many millionaires as cities such as Monaco, Abu Dhabi or Riyadh.


Guangzhou – or Canton in its French version – is much better known. With a population of 15.31 million in 2019, Guangzhou is the city that has associated Hermès with the revenge spending trend in China. On the day its 510 m² flagship reopened in April 2020, the brand had achieved 19 million yuan in sales ($2.69 million).


Indeed, it was there that the Maison du Faubourg St Honoré achieved record sales on leaving confinement. With a more modest growth in the number of HNWIs than Shenzhen, the city nevertheless boasts 23,500 HNWNIs. In addition, there will be 8 billionaires and 64 multimillionaires by 2023.


Chanel has no intention of stopping its expansion in China: it is already planning to open two new points of sale in the city of Chengdu by October 2023.


On that date, a new Salon is due to open alongside a completely renovated boutique in the IFS Chengdu shopping center.


Chanel is thus reinforcing its customers’ sense of exclusivity through retail outlets, as it has recently done through its pricing strategy, following the upward trajectory of Hermès’ Birkin for its Timeless bag.


Read also > Chanel launches its nail art collection 

Featured photo : © Press


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Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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