Bruno Pavlovsky, CEO of Chanel Fashion, talks to Global Citizen on the eve of the opening of their Little Black Jacket exhibition at the base of the Burj Khalifa.
Can you tell us why this photographic exhibition of the iconic black jacket was conceptualized?
This exhibition is the perfect illustration of the creativity of the brand. It’s not a fashion show–we wanted something else besides a fashion show. Karl Lagerfeld photographed 143 celebrities and friends of the brand who were wearing the black jacket, styled in their own unique way. It shows a lot of different attitudes; you see a lot of different types of people who are playing with the jacket: men, women, kids. The message is that Chanel is for everyone.
Dubai is one of 11 cities in the world that the exhibition has traveled to. What is the significance of emirate for the company?
Dubai is an important city. We are very pleased to be here. We have a long relationship with customers in Dubai, having first come in 15 years ago with Chalhoub. Business is booming.
Will you do any special lines just for the Middle East?
Creativity is worldwide, it’s global. We are not creating anything for any one region. Whether they are from the Middle East or Brazil, our customers want the same thing. The best sellers are the best sellers everywhere, including here in Dubai. Through an alteration process we can offer to our customers something more specific to their needs. If they want something longer, we can do that. It’s very important and we are quite respectful of what they want. However at the same time we want them to enjoy the Chanel creativity. We are not here to deliver any other message. It’s the same message of creativity everywhere.
Where do men fit into the brand ethos for Chanel?
It’s a big question for Chanel (smiles). We are not a menswear company. We have to be clear. Men’s is more about clin d’oeil (a wink). Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and Mr. Lagerfeld both say they have been inspired by men, but it’s for women. It’s another business. It’s much better to be focused on what we know. We have too many things to offer women. We do have products for men, of course. We have fragrances and we have ties. We also do some bags which are for both. But we are not trying to be a serious player in menswear. We have enough to just surprise people.
What’s next for Chanel in Dubai?
We have a new boutique opening in the Mall of the Emirates. This will be our second wholly owned boutique in Dubai. We look forward to offering our customers a wider assortment. It won’t be the same as Dubai Mall. We want each store to offer something unique.