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Maureen Chiquet, president and COO, Chanel, Inc., addressed a packed house at New York City’s Harmonie Club in January to inaugurate the second year of CEW’s Beauty Series presentations. Chiquet, who cited her love affair with France as the original impetus for her career, told of her journey from an internship at L’Oréal in France to positions of increasing responsibility at Gap in San Francisco, Old Navy, Banana Republic and now Chanel.
“Chanel has a commitment to creative,” said Chiquet, noting that the company truly combines traditional artisanry and modernity. “We grow our own roses, and there’s an incredible attention to detail.”
Chiquet spoke of the unique heritage of Chanel and its position as “the ultimate house of luxury.” Since the creation of Chanel No. 5 in 1921, Chanel has “articulated luxury in all its products as well as relevance and modernity.” She noted that all of the Chanel products are held together as an iconic brand, and the company has retained its identity as a house with exclusivity and top quality. “For customers of Chanel, it’s more about an attitude than a consumer’s age,” she said, adding that creating “killer pillars” (i.e., amazing products in the Chanel portfolio) requires a balance “showing people how relevant your history is today,” in the context of luxury, individuality and shared values.