Chanel Expands E-Commerce Business With Sunglasses

Chanel will now sell eyewear on its site, where it previously only offered fragrance, makeup and skin care.
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Chantal Fernandez
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Chanel will now sell eyewear on its site, where it previously only offered fragrance, makeup and skin care.
Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel eyewear. Photo: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel eyewear. Photo: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

Chanel surprised the industry back in March by announcing plans to launch e-commerce in some form by the end of 2016. Had the luxury brand finally come around to the idea of selling its collections online? The company kept mum on exact details, but just one month later it launched a buzzy, successful test on Net-a-Porter with the limited sale of a small jewelry capsule collection. It marked the first time Chanel sold anything other than its licensed beauty products online.

On Wednesday, the brand took another significant step in its digital business and started offering its entire sunglasses collection to US shoppers on Chanel.com. The licensed category — produced by partner Luxottica Group SpA since its debut in 2000 — will potentially lay the groundwork for the sale of additional accessory categories in the future, according to an interview with Fashion President Bruno Pavlovsky in WWD. (A representative for Chanel could not confirm.) Chanel has been selling fragrances, makeup and skin care online in the US since 2005.

A behind-the-scenes image of Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel eyewear. Photo: Leila Smara/Chanel

A behind-the-scenes image of Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel eyewear. Photo: Leila Smara/Chanel

John Galantic, president and chief operating officer of Chanel Inc., told WWD that the company has reduced the number of US third-party distributors of the eyewear by 20 percent in 2013 and 2014 — meaning that the company has been anticipating this announcement for several years. Pavlovsky also told WWD that Chanel will probably bring eyewear e-commerce to Europe next, followed by Asia. (A representative for Chanel could not confirm.)

The new sunglasses shopping vertical on Chanel.com is accompanied by the buzzy campaign released in July featuring the brand's newest and youngest muse, Lily-Rose Depp, as well as behind-the-scenes images of Depp shooting with Lagerfeld and visiting Coco Chanel's famous Rue Cambon home (see above). According to a representative for the company, Lagerfeld has already shot the spring 2016 eyewear campaign with Chanel favorite Cara Delevingne — a bold-faced name that's sure to spur online sales of the brand's most price-accessible fashion category.