• 1 minute Read

Tanking Economy Shutters Chanel’s Artsy Pavilion

Even tony brands like Chanel are trying to cut corners in this merciless economy, which means indulgences like the traveling art pavilion face the budget ax.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid’s swoopy spaceship pavilion, designed to give the Chanel brand a little artsy cred has fallen victim to the economy.

A Chanel spokeswoman told Agence-France Presse  that the 700-piece installation, conceived by Karl Lagerfeld and Hadid as a tribute to the luxury house’s iconic 2.55 handbag, would skip its next two stops, which were scheduled to be London and Moscow.

“In the current context we have to arbitrate. We prefer to refocus on our strategic investments in terms of development,” she said.

Luxury brands have longed claimed to be immune to downturns in the economy, often insisting that the higher end holds up even when the middle rung is suffering. But this economic debacle is sparing no quarters. The Wall St. Journal reported that luxury sales dropped 34.5% in December, and said that LVMH even cancelled the opening of its new store in Tokyo. The Japanese are among the world’s most passionate devotees of designer goods.

When the tour first launched, Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s head of fashion, says the project was designed to “surprise customers, communicate the brand’s heritage, and energize one of its iconic products.”

Seems that even rocket boosters can’t move the merch if customers are too spooked to buy.


About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.