Fashion & Style: `The Name of Coco Chanel, God Rest Her Skinny Old Soul, Is Being Ever More Abused'
Frankel, Susannah, The Independent (London, England)
What does a multimillion-dollar brand do when it has become so famous that its name enters into common usage? In the case of Chanel, clearly miffed by such licence - common is not a good look - the answer appears to be to take out a full-page advertisement on the prestigious back page of the US fashion trade bible Women's Wear Daily.
Here's the wording. It appeared as simple black text on a white background, mimicking the by now legendary first-ever Chanel shop front in Deauville, and in signature typeface, just to hammer the message home. "A note of information and entreaty to fashion editors, advertisers, copywriters and other well-intentioned mis- users of our Chanel name..." it began.
Be afraid, be very afraid. And follow this special lesson on the world of Chanel carefully, s'il vous plait.
"Chanel was a designer, an extraordinary woman who made a timeless contribution to fashion. Chanel is a perfume. Chanel is modern elegance in couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, watches and fine jewellery. Chanel is our registered trademark for fragrance, cosmetics, clothing, accessories and other lovely things."
Other lovely things? Surely, given the circumstances, the copywriters should have been a little more specific?
"Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not `a Chanel jacket' unless it is ours, and somebody else's cardigans are not `Chanel for now'. And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as `Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels and Chanel-ised', PLEASE DON'T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously."
I suppose "Chanel-eroony" is out of the question then...
The text closes with a terse little "merci". You can almost hear the formidable and famously tart Gabrielle Coco Chanel herself saying it. Whatever, that's us well and truly warned. …