Chanel has launched a dedicated microsite that invites visitors to explore the history of its founder and namesake, Coco Chanel, as well as its legacy products.
The site is housed at inside-chanel.com and can be accessed from Chanel’s flagship site. For now, it is divided into two parts: A timeline of the house’s history, dating from Coco Chanel’s birth in 1883 to present, and a section containing a short film and a chronological succession of advertisements about Chanel’s best-known fragrance, No. 5.
There’s not a lot to explore at present, but what is there should engage those curious about the brand and its history. Additional sections accompanied by films will be introduced to the site over time, Chanel tells us.
The site renders well on a desktop, but better on a tablet; the slideshows lend themselves well to hand-swiping gestures. I only wish the content therein was more shareable. There is a general share button that sits in the bottom right-hand corner, but no way to share individual elements on the site — say, to pin an advertisement to Pinterest, or share a video through Facebook or YouTube.
One might think that Chanel, intent on keeping the entire content experience within its own confines, has purposely prevented it, but that’s not the case. The company will be distributing individual elements through its own social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a spokesperson said.
Why launch a separate site? The company says that though one can access news, product information and behind-the-scenes content at chanel.com, until now there has been no destination for learning about the history of the brand.
“Telling our history on the web and making it accessible to as many people as people is yet another way of marking our difference, reaffirming our values and forming emerging markets by enabling them to discover a world to which until now they had little — or no — access,” a spokesperson said. “We have always been an innovative brand — that is what we wanted to get across.”
Chanel, it’s worth pointing out, only sells its fragrance and beauty collections online, but the company has upped its investment in online content over the past couple of years, particularly in the development of short films.
A number of other companies in the luxury fashion space have launched dedicated sites designed to immerse consumers in their respective histories. Burberry’s site, Burberry Heritage is likewise built on a timeline model.
Valentino’s is perhaps the most creative, if somewhat weak technically: The designer launched last year a downloadable, 3D virtual showcase to display its archives.