Finally, Chanel has become a sensation among Gen Z for a new release that wasn’t taken from the archives. Influencer Madeleine White published an Instagram post wearing an embroidered Formula 1 T-shirt from the Cruise 2022/23 collection that sports an image of Sebastian Vettel’s car. Despite the inaccessible $4,450 (31,700 RMB) price tag, the internet is obsessed.
Until now, the brand’s only ever trended on TikTok for nostalgic 1990s throwbacks, from popstar Olivia Rodrigo wearing a ‘90s Chanel suit to the White House to meet US president Joe Biden in 2021, to its beloved vintage handbags.
The Chanel Formula 1 tee is, therefore, expanding the brand’s contemporary reputation among Gen Z.
Along with the hefty price tag, reportedly only one Formula 1 T-shirt in each size is distributed to each Chanel store around the world — making it a covetable collector’s item.
Another headline-generator taking over news feeds this week is Angelina Jolie’s sustainable fashion project Atelier Jolie. The brand has unveiled its first co-branded collection with Chloé, which will be creative director Gabriela Hearst’s final project before parting from the French luxury house.
According to Jolie, Chloé’s B-Corp Certification status was a key driver behind the collaboration — the designation is awarded to companies that meet certain social and environmental criteria.
Alongside these two major news items, this week’s Collabs & Drops delves into a quieter announcement, that of Baunat Diamonds partnering with Tesla on a series of travel events targeting luxury consumers.
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Chanel x Formula 1
Product: Cruise 2022/23 collection T-shirt
Social Context: So far, #chanelf1 has amassed 7.7 million views on TikTok, with the top post by @madeleine_white gaining 2.7 million views alone
Verdict: Made viral by KOLs at the Monaco Grand Prix, held on May 28, and influencer Madeleine White’s Instagram and TikTok posts, the Chanel Formula 1 tee offers a valuable lesson in social media marketing.
Though the extremely limited edition, high-cost T-shirt isn’t for the masses, the online buzz about it is deafening. Good marketing is not always about direct sales; increasing relevance can also be a key goal.
It’s no secret that Chanel creative director Virginie Viard’s collections are not the most popular among Gen Z and millennials, so this tee has ultimately catapulted Chanel to relevancy beyond its ‘90s nostalgia.
Chloé x Atelier Jolie
Product: Clothing collection
Social Context: Chloé x Angelina Jolie’s first two Instagram posts attracted 6,257 likes and 9,293 likes, respectively. For reference, Chloé’s solo posts each receive an average of 2,000 likes.
Verdict: Co-designed by Chloé Creative Director Hearst and Atelier Jolie founder Jolie, the collection is historic as it is Hearst’s last project before she steps away from Chloé.
Coincidentally, the news came the same day as Hearst announced she was leaving her post, resulting in the French luxury house dominating headlines this week.
The collaboration signals Atelier Jolie’s sophisticated, sustainability-focused brand identity (Chloé is a B-Corp company) and is helping the house carve its name in the luxury industry. All earnings will be invested in apprenticeships for tailors and artisans at Atelier Jolie.
The partnership shows the extent to which collaboration can enable a newer brand to carve out its identity through association with like-minded affiliates. It also helps an established name like Chloé to publicize its B-Corp status.
Baunat Diamonds x Tesla
Date: Summer 2023
Product: Series of international events to promote Baunat Jewelry’s new collection
Social Context: There’s no social media campaign, but Baunat has 21,600 followers on Instagram and only 142 on Twitter. Tesla, by contrast, boasts 9.4 million followers on Instagram.
Verdict: An event-focused collaboration is an ideal gateway for both brands to engage their like-minded luxury consumers. Baunat sells rings for upwards of $2,800, meaning its consumers are likely those with the disposable income to afford a Tesla car.
Baunat also strives to position itself as a digitally native brand, and Tesla is famous for being technologically innovative.
Connecting with a brand with the same consumer profile is a reliable way to drum up sales. Furthermore, in-person events allow luxury businesses to intimately connect with VIP consumers.