In October 2015 an iconic luxury brand historically linked to individuality, elegance, innovation and expertly melding the classic with the contemporary, presented with the use of technology a scintillating fashion tour de force with heightened consumer interactivity. Through the use of clever experiential marketing the House of Chanel developed active spectator participation and a palpable synergy between the French couture maison and technology. Using elements of gamification the 'Chanel Mademoiselle Privé ' exhibition was a retrospective guided tour of the French couturier Coco Chanel's life, inspirations and bon mots.
The House of Chanel went all out with the free-of-charge Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition in London hosted at the Saatchi Gallery, taking over all three floors of the gallery. Spectators were invited to a multi-sensory tour guided by the Chanel Mademoiselle Privé App. With Chanel pieces currently bedecking the halls of the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the exhibition allowed the brand to show its essence through "just-in-time learning".
The Chanel App connected through Bluetooth, using interactive content delivered at points of interest to be digested at the "right moments" - traversed a journey that revealed the origins of Chanel's creations. A memory retention system redolent of Pearson’s School of Thought - A Vision for the Future of Learning, using a number of technologies such as geo-location and instant notifications at significant points of interest enables learning in context which is place and situational based.
Gamification of learning and learning experiences that let adult-learners use technology to direct their own learning path that are hyper-connected and contextual with assessments that occur during optimum times of learning and the memory retention process. The learning is completed with augmented reality, learning that can happen anywhere and anytime.
The Chanel App focused on visitor pleasure and satisfaction. At the flick of one's IPhone one was able to tap in to the satellite Métiers d'Art and the brand's trademark camellia-making workshop and live talks on the brand's signature fragrances. Special fashion films were produced for the App allowing one to peer though Coco’s Rue Cambon apartment in Paris.
The ‘Big Data’ collected from the Apps will indubitably allow future Chanel event-planners to make informed decisions on bottlenecks and the popularity of workshops and may well lead to the creation of algorithms for perfect fashion exhibition experiences.
With Chanel being reactive throughout the course of the exhibition, the App also monitored spectator engagement culminating in early reviews of the exhibition that monitored the lack of staff which resulted in higher staffing, greater number of roaming guards and ushers controlling spectator traffic.
A maison insider revealed that Chanel were cautious and hired plain-clothed yet well-dressed undercover agents to roam round in circles as spectators so as to protect the Bijoux de Diamants, as the influx of visitors intensified. The haute jewellery diamond collection was originally supposed to be displayed in London in 1932 but was historically disallowed due to British customs regulations. There was no chance of a Thomas Crown Affair type of scenario happening here as I found with the super-sensitive invisible electronic fence setting of an onslaught of security guards when my frizzy hair caught in the line of a sensor! Although I was already at a distance from the diamonds I was firmly asked to step back for my own safety.
Doors open into the origins of Chanel's first hat boutique in Deauville, with spectator experience developed with immersion illustrations of a 2-D Coco Gabrielle Chanel cartoon and 3-D cut-outs of the hats, while a voiceover informs you of one's environs as one is inundated with brisk Parisian street noises adding to the allure of the hat boutique.
The ground floor is dedicated to the house's iconic scent, Chanel No. 5, with vats that open like oysters fermenting the room with the legendary perfume. Next a fabric room envelops a library of Chanel's signature fabrics, which waft above your head as you walk through a collection of textiles in partial darkness.
Delving into Gabrielle Chanel's inspirations and Karl Lagerfeld's creations of more contemporary Chanel codes, symbols and icons. A few bugs in the App meant that I was not able to comprehend the full context of certain segments. Who said App development was an exact science anyway?
A Short Film
A premise of the film was the rather bizarre encounter and argument between the ghost of Coco Chanel (played by Geraldine Chaplin) and Karl Lagerfeld over the notes left by Coco, known as the 'Codes of the House' with Chanel accusing Karl of somewhat missing the point as regards the ethos of the house, with Karl replying that he was limited by scant amount of notes yet kept the brand unique for 34 years, seeing himself as a innovator while keeping the brand alive through modernization.
Similarly in September, Louis Vuitton held its own Series 3 exhibition, a multi-room exhibition that will take visitors on a journey through LV's A/W 2015/16 collection. Louis Vuitton delivered its travelling Series 1 exhibition in Shanghai and Tokyo and its Series 2 visited Beijing, Los Angeles, Seoul and Rome.