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Chanel explains founder’s calculated design with latest Inside Chanel chapter

French couture house Chanel is sharing the personal inspiration behind its color codes with a new social video.

Chanel’s “The Colors,” the eleventh chapter of Inside Chanel, focuses on the shades that appear as a common theme throughout the label’s fashion, accessories and beauty lines. This video will help Chanel showcase the consistency it has maintained, even with multiple designers at the helm.

“The Inside Chanel series looks at the house and gives an enhanced picture on why it is iconic and remains relevant from Coco Chanel herself to those who continue to carry her torch such as personalities like Marilyn Monroe to Karl Lagerfeld, who continues to weave her aesthetic to the brand,” said Kimmie Smith, accessory expert and co-founder/creative director of Accessory2, New York.

“Those who wear Chanel or who follow the brand know that it has iconic hues that are essential to the brand,” she said. “The house is explaining that nothing with the brand is there simply because it just happened.

“There is a method and a reason and by understanding this it transcends to the dominance of the brand. This video is illustrating that it is more than clothing but that it changed social norms and has become the fiber of all brands in many ways by Coco making calculated choices.”

Ms. Smith is not affiliated with Chanel but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Chanel was unable to comment by press deadline.

Primary colors
Chanel began teasing its video on social media May 17, almost a week before the video premiered.

On Facebook, Chanel kept the text short, first posting its brand name logo with the various colors mentioned in the video, and telling consumers it would come soon.

Each day, a new color was featured, with a short sentence giving a hint to why that color was special for Chanel.

Chanel The Colors Facebook
Facebook post from Chanel

The fashion label provided different content and bits of information about each color on Twitter. This likely helped build more anticipation among loyalists who follow the brand on multiple platforms.

Chanel The Colors Twitter
Tweet from Chanel

Chanel also posted two Vine videos to its Twitter, one that focused on red lipstick, and one that promoted the video as a whole, flipping through all of the colors before landing on text that shared the premiere date for the film.

Vine video from Chanel

On May 23, Chanel did not post its video to social media at first, allowing for organic views and shares from consumers who knew the video would be posted and visited its Web site to see the film. Before posting directly to social media, the video had gathered about 16,000 views on YouTube.

The video details the colors black, white, beige, gold and red. Opening the video and introducing the topic, the colors appeared on screen in text placed on a background of a Chanel item, while a voiceover read their names.

Chanel The Colors ss1
Video still from Chanel’s “The Colors”

Following that, each color had its moment. Black first shows paint as the narrator tells that Ms. Chanel was inspired by the monastic uniforms at the orphanage she grew up in.

As more information is revealed, the video continues to play a slideshow of imagery, including little black dresses. Some quotes from Ms. Chanel mentioned by the speaker are emphasized by artistic text.

Chanel The Colors SS2
Video still from Chanel’s “The Colors”

White mixes references of fashion and beauty, showing both feathers and compacts, while talking about how it illuminates the face and is a reminder of the communion dress the label’s founder received from her father.

Chanel The Colors SS3
Video still from Chanel’s “The Colors”

Red focuses on Ms. Chanel’s use of lipstick as a pick-me-up.

After giving each color time, The Colors cycles back through the array, giving different insights about the hues.

This time, white is said to pop against black to form the iconic Chanel tweed.

Chanel The Colors SS4
Video still from Chanel’s “The Colors”

Chanel’s video ends with black and white together, “because one cannot exist without the other.” For the first time, current creative director Karl Lagerfeld is mentioned and shown, as the voiceover tells consumers about his pen.

The Colors – Inside Chanel

“There are many touch points within this video that engage the viewer whether you wear the brand or not,” Ms. Smith said. “With rich visual texture, which is an essential when communicating with others, the voiceover and the rhythmic nature of the video, this will be one that is easily shared through social networks.

“For those that dig deeper into the content, it strikes a unifying feeling within the fashion community as well as bridging the symbiotic relationship it holds with its counterparts within the categories of accessories and beauty, which is touched upon within the video,” she said. “It also reminds us that when it comes to core fashion components black and white is at its base; however, it is joined – as well as further enhanced – by its counterparts of beige, red and gold.”

History lesson
Inside Chanel is a microsite on the label’s Web site that works to inform consumers about the house’s history and heritage through video and multimedia content.

The previous installment dealt with another personal icon for Coco Chanel.

Chanel gave consumers an inside look at its founder’s spirit animal and inspiration, the lion, with a short social video.

The video, which shows a live lion, is chapter 10 in the brand’s Inside Chanel Series, which examines different aspects of the label’s heritage. This video looks at a more personal muse than previous films from Chanel, examining why Coco Chanel felt a kinship with lions, leading her to use them in her work (see story).

Other brands have created separate microsites to look into the house’s codes and timeline in a detailed format.

For instance, French fashion house Lanvin added a heritage-focused microsite to its digital presence that will educate consumers about the brand’s 125-year history.

Lanvin’s microsite organized content on a timeline, and will be updated weekly during the brand’s anniversary campaign to include later events in the house’s past. Prior to this the brand’s Web site content was focused solely on the present day, so this microsite rounds out its digital presence and helps raise awareness of the brand’s history (see story).

This type of in-depth brand content is aimed at loyalists who want to know everything possible about a label, but it also has its place for an audience beyond a close circle of followers.

“Chanel is speaking to those who are fans of the brand, those who wear the brand and those that are fashion lovers in general,” Ms. Smith said. “This video serves as a manifesto to the house as well as a mantra in fashion.

“[Coco Chanel’s] innovations have had wide ranging effects that all fashion brands have included within their assortments in many ways.”

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York