Chanel rouge noir collection: the big facade 

opinion piece

Following the legendary nail varnish release 20 years ago, Chanel has relaunched a whole rouge noir collection for Christmas 2015. There is nothing innovative about the ‘new’ collection, it’s an imitation of past products. We ask why?
Words: Michelle Whitney, Subeditor: Christie Bannon

  

Chanel is renowned for classic glamour; its cosmetics and perfumes are no exception. The quality of their products is notoriously high, but does this mean they are consequently permitted to be lazy?
If we look at the rouge noir collection, there is no ‘bang’, nothing innovative, and certainly nothing new. There is nothing wrong with reinventing classic products, or appreciating them for that matter. But when it’s a relaunch of the same nail varnish colour every year it does become somewhat tedious. The only remotely new item is the glittery top coat designed to go on top of rouge noir polish. Well, mid-range/budget make up brands have sold gold glittery nail varnish for years now.
Chanel has certain brand values, and that’s perfectly understandable. They know what works and they stick to it. On the other hand other luxury brands who are just as classic; have reinvented legendary cult products and have been hugely successful. YSL’s Opium perfume a few years ago would have been seen as unsuitable for anyone under the age of 45. Once YSL relaunched it in a glittery bottle, and changed the formula to a fresher, sweeter smell – et voila! A reborn classic. Estée Lauder too, have recently launched a lipstick range with Kendall Jenner; typically they aim their products at the older woman, but utilising Kendall as a spokesperson has opened up their demographic to a younger audience.
If these brands are capable of modernising their classic products, why can’t Chanel?
It seems as though Chanel aims products at an elitist demographic, and that’s perfectly reasonable; clearly they want to uphold luxury connotations and an air of exclusivity. In the long run though, all they are doing is depriving themselves of reaching out to a younger demographic. The elitist audience they aim their products at now does seem deliberately exclusive. Chanel also doesn’t cater for ethnic skin tones. Their foundations have a limited range of colours; this is discriminatory, and it seems as though it’s because they are already a popular established brand. They feel no need to alter this, and to enter 2015.
Undoubtedly the collection will be a success, there are so many avid Chanel fans who will buy just because of the label. This is wrong, and complacency is in danger of causing them to become a stagnant brand. But it’s also disrespectful to our expectations. And I think as consumers we should demand more. How about launching a brand new classic, and expanding the current range so that everyone can enjoy the high quality of Chanel which we all appreciate?
We need future classics.

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