Beauty Sales: $2 billion (estimated)
Olivier Polge, Chanel’s new perfumer.
Major Products: Fragrances, skin care and color cosmetics.
New Products: Jeux de Regards Eye Collection, Bleu de Chanel deodorant, Le Blanc brightening makeup base, Coco Noir, Les Beiges makeup.
Comments: Not everyone can afford an iconic little black dress or a nubby jacket from one of the world’s most coveted fashion houses, but many of them get the thrill of the brand from pulling out an intertwined C-embellished cosmetics package from their purse. Or feel like a million bucks just by lathering on the creamy formulations or applying a richly hued lipstick.
As demand in the luxury marketplace broke records last year, Chanel reaped the benefits—in part, because the eponymous originator of style continues to reign. In 2012, at the annual Fragrance Foundation Awards, the evening’s ceremony included the posthumous induction of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel into the (then) FiFi Hall of Fame. Christine Dagousset, U.S. executive vice president, fragrance & beauty, Chanel delivered a tribute.
Chanel continues to rev up its beauty division in the U.S., with a long-range plan and a number of executive appointments. Early in the year, it was announced that Christine Dagousset, then executive vice president of fragrance and beauté at Chanel Inc. in the U.S., had been named as the successor to Andrea d’Avack, who had served as global fragrance and beauté president since 1998. D’Avack will relocate from Paris to New York in 2015 to “take on a key new role in defining and developing the Chanel strategy for social responsibility and sustainable development,” according to Maureen Chiquet, Chanel’s chief executive officer, to whom d’Avack will continue to report. Dagousset is scheduled to return to Paris by January 2014 as global deputy general manager for fragrance and beauté, working with d’Avack in a transition phase. In 2015, Dagousset will be named global president, fragrance and beauté, with strategic authority for the division.
Just last month, Chanel Inc.’s U.S. Fragrance & Beauté Division announced that Julien Gommichon was named executive vice president of Fragrance & Beauté, succeeding Christine Dagousset.
At the same time, Aude Appolinaire was named senior vice president of sales, Fragrance & Beauté.
While the U.S. division seems to be spreading its wings, Chiquet, speaking at an Asia Society event in January, said the brand is not in a hurry to expand in China, because they want to remain “exclusive.” She said they wanted to take their time and do it right. The brand currently has 12 stores in seven cities in mainland China.
Following a lukewarm campaign featuring Brad Pitt—the first man to feature as the face of the brand—Chanel, in April, tapped actress and former fashion model Diane Kruger to front the Chanel beauty campaign.
This summer, Chanel made a change in its key perfumer—but not a name change. Olivier Polge entered Chanel as a perfumer, joining his father, Jacques Polge, and Christopher Sheldrake in the brand’s laboratory. As perfumer at IFF since 1998, Olivier Polge has developed internationally successful fragrances for a number of leading luxury brands and houses. His father, Jacques Polge, creator of Chanel fragrances, has served in his role since 1978.
The company also hired well-known dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler to consult on skin care.
The brand continues with its exclusivity and appeal: Chanel was named the most-wanted luxury brand in 2012 by Chinese women, according to Boston-based consultancy Bain & Co.