Chanel recently announced the cancellation of its Mobile Art tour, which featured a spaceship-like gallery designed by “starchitect” Zaha Hadid. The fashion-meets-art project probably seemed like a chic intellectual and creative (and marketing) exercise before the economic downturn. The portable building, featuring work by the likes of well-known contemporary artists like Sylvie Fleury, was scheduled to hit London, Moscow, and Paris after New York. Now it won’t. (It already toured Hong Kong and Tokyo). But why not turn the sleek structure into a pop-up store?
When I visited the building when it was installed in New York’s Central Park, that’s all I could think: wow, they should sell their elegant wares here—amidst the art that directly references Chanel’s design legacy. Here’s a video I took on opening day, musing that Hadid’s building really is as much like a store as it is a mini-museum:
And here’s another video I shot, inside. The girl employed by Chanel, just standing there with the Chanel T-shirt on (one of many)? She could have been selling No. 5 perfume. Or imagine a private sale for VIPs in what could be the world’s most stylish pop-up store, rather than, or in addition to, expensive opening-night parties with no direct ROI. Sure, the company could have still celebrated the wonderful artwork featured even if it turned Hadid’s building into a high-end shop. And imagine the sculptures and photographs also for sale. Perhaps part of the commission could go to Chanel? Think of how innovative a store the Mobile Art structure could have been—or could be—mixing art and commerce in an extremely fashionable and inventive way.
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