As post-Covid normalcy resumes, so has the power of U.S. retailer exclusives.
Following Marc Jacobs’ announcement that he was only going to be selling his brand’s fall 2021 runway collection with Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel has tapped Saks Fifth Avenue to be the exclusive U.S. retailer for its limited-edition Chanel Factory 5 collection, launching July 6. Factory 5’s line of 17 personal care products launched at Chanel boutiques and Chanel.com on June 23. The collection, made up of shower gel and body cream is meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the house’s iconic fragrance in an unexpected way.
“[The idea was] to go back to the beginning of N°5 — to go and find, as Gabrielle Chanel did at the time, a new, offbeat, unexpected inspiration. Through this concept, we want to return to the creation process of the first No. 5 packaging. At the time, it was a simple laboratory bottle — a functional object that became luxurious and iconic. There was already this notion of transforming a common, ultra-functional object into a precious one. Chanel Factory 5 celebrates this approach, this step to the side, in its own way,” said Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s head of global creative resources fragrance and beauty, in a statement.
Pre-pandemic, retailer exclusives had largely fallen by the wayside or were for shorter monthly time periods, due to demands for fast brand growth. But in 2021, the right partnership adds a level of cache for all parties.
“Both Chanel and Saks represent timelessness, and we’re proud to celebrate our legacies with this exclusive collection. Chanel Factory 5 collection reinvigorates one of the most iconic fragrances in the world. Through our partnership, Saks customers have the opportunity to rediscover Chanel No. 5 on their terms, whether it be digitally through custom social media content or in-person,” said Kate Oldham, Saks svp and gmm of beauty, jewelry and home.
Chanel will launch immersive Factory 5 pop-ups in select cities around the world, but none will be available in the U.S. On a local level, Saks will play the part. In New York, six window displays will be allocated to Chanel’s Factory 5 collection, plus there will be three immersive in-store installations throughout the flagship and a pop-up beauty experience on the retailer’s second floor. Smaller variations of this experience will be available in 15 U.S. Saks stores, including stores in Atlanta, Bal Harbour, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dadeland and Houston, among others. A 360-degree marketing campaign will run across Saks’ digital platforms. There will be a shoppable article on its editorial site The Edit, and an influencer partnership with creative directors and content creators the Young Emperors will be used to promote the launch.
“We’ve never done a takeover of this magnitude with a beauty partner, [but] Chanel created exceptional products that we’re honored to offer to Saks customers across the country,” said Oldham.
Oldham expects the experience will give shoppers a reason to return to stores. “As our customers return to stores, we want to surprise and delight them with experiences that go beyond the transaction,” she said. “The Chanel Factory 5 Fifth Avenue window display and installations within our stores throughout the country allow our customers to connect with a legendary 100-year-old fragrance in a modern and memorable way.”