Chanel recently opened its expanded boutique at South Coast Plaza. On the first floor in the Nordstrom wing, it’s now larger by 2,000 square feet and filled with not only feasts for the eye, but many visual aperitifs. Modeled to look like a sophisticated coastal home, the Peter Marino-designed space is divided into rooms, each spotlighting a segment of the collection. The décor incorporates Chanel’s legendary métiers d’arts partners and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s love of art. At every turn there is something beautiful to see, from the witty and whimsical window display featuring Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection, to the rock crystal-and-bronze chandeliers, to the Chanel tweed-covered couches, to a vintage sunburst mirror. I recently had a chance to chat with Barbara Cirkva, division president of fashion for Chanel. …
What was the inspiration for the new boutique?
Peter’s concept when he first started designing Chanel boutiques was to reference Coco Chanel’s apartment in Paris. As the concept has evolved, what has been important is that each region has its own personality, therefore, each store has its own personality. The whole idea of this store is very residential, so clients feel as though they are in someone’s home in Southern California. You will see nods to Coco’s apartment, whether in the use of rock crystals, which she loved, or the modern interpretation of her apartment’s Coromandel screens. These are all reinterpreted by Peter in a modern and fresh way, and then fused with the inspiration of the Californian sun and the ocean.
This space is bigger now, so what’s new?
The larger space allowed us to create a boutique that flows from room to room like you are in someone’s apartment. It features a Watches and Fine Jewelry Salon, with its own beautiful crystal-and-bronze Goossens chandelier. Sleek control panels in the try-on rooms give clients the ability to personalize the ambience by tailoring the lighting and climate—even the type of music. We always aspire to create an environment that has the same level of luxury, sophistication, and attention to detail as the creations the House of Chanel is known for.
Why did you choose to expand here?
It’s a very sophisticated market, and it has always been an important one for Chanel since we first opened in 1990. The new layout gives us the ability to highlight and showcase product categories such as shoes, costume jewelry, and watches and fine jewelry in a more extensive way.
How would you describe Orange County’s Chanel customer?
Our South Coast Plaza clients are international, and shop at Chanel boutiques around the world. We want to surprise and delight them, and this is why it is important for each boutique to have its own personality.
Were the chandeliers made specifically for this boutique?
The ones that hang in the entry gallery, the Watch & Fine Jewelry Salon, and in the Shoe Salon were each created especially for this location. They’re inspired by a Goossens chandelier that hangs in Coco Chanel’s apartment.
The new space boasts a lot of work by prominent artists. Why was that important and how does it connect to your clientele here?
Coco Chanel was a patron of the arts, so art has always played an important part in our boutiques. Each one features selected artwork, some of which is specially commissioned for that particular project. At South Coast Plaza, guests enter and are immersed in a stunning gold mural by abstract painter Nancy Lorenz, located in the main gallery. There are also amazing pieces of art in each of the try-on rooms, by artists such as Michael Wilkinson, Chris Succo, Gregor Hildebrandt, and Anthony Pearson. Each of these pieces was commissioned for this location.
How would you describe the Spring/Summer 2015 collection?
Karl Lagerfeld’s designs are inspired by beautiful, strong Parisian women. The collection is colorful, playful yet bold, and full of feminine silhouettes.
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St.
Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.