It was February 2006 when Victoria Beckham took to the slopes of the Baqueria ski resort in Spain, sporting head to toe Chanel skiwear. Haters criticized the fashion queen for looking so shamelessly branded, while others clamored to get their own Chanel ski wardrobe, complete with a pair of Chanel ski poles and matching skis. From an advertising perspective, Victoria was doing what she does best and this was product placement at it’s finest.
Now, I don’t claim to be a master of marketing, but it is my understanding that the role of publicity is to ultimately sell a product. So naturally, I expected Chanel’s well-modeled ski equipment to be accessible for purchase for those who could afford such an extravagance. I mean, surely Chanel could have predicted that Beckham’s walking billboard might elicit some sort of consumer response and would have stocked their merchandise accordingly.
Regretfully, their skiwear line proved to be highly exclusive even for those with solid connections. Chanel have used this consumer trick several times before,with celebrity endorsement, then it is reported that fashion editors around the globe are desperate to get said item for themselves, thus creating even more publicity for the brand. However, all this press has to lead somewhere. Usually it leads to the item eventually becoming available long enough for Chanel to make a healthy profit margin. Yet in the case of the ski line, I seem to have been left high and dry.
Over the years, I have purchased a few prized pieces from the Chanel ski series and I was extremely excited when one elite concierge company finally found me a pair of the Chanel skis. Yet it is incredibly disheartening to share that they currently lay unused in their original box, as to this day, I am still Chanel pole less. Not even the magic of the Centurion American Express card could make those black and white ski poles appear for this snow bunny.
Which begs the question: when exactly did it become fashionable for companies to make it impossible for customers to purchase their products?
You see, Chanel have an irritating habit of rotating their sporting lines. One year they’ll be peddling unavailable ski wear and the next, they’ll have moved on to surfboards. With all due respect, there is something to be said for consistency and dependability. Prada and Ralph Lauren for instance, are far more reliable when it comes to their annual winter sports collection.
It is also worth pointing out that while Chanel ski wear ranks high on the fashion scale, it is certainly low on function. As someone who started slope life in her childhood, I know that comfort and practicality are key ingredients to a happy holiday in the snow.
For the past few years, my Chanel skis have been like a Romeo without his Juliet. And since Chanel have stated that they have no intention of producing any more ski poles in the near future, I recently made the decision to turn to the dark side. I moved on to snowboarding.
And while I confess that I have had my eye on the Chanel snowboard, you can be sure that this time, I have a very long list of stylish alternative and available options.