Chanel reopens SF store in grand style

Few people would ever guess that Chanel plays a part in San Francisco’s history.

Celebrating its renovation and grand reopening on Maiden Lane on Friday, the store is more than a purveyor of designer fashion. It also has been a partner in making San Francisco beautiful.

Back in 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake, Maiden Lane was not the charming walking street it is now.

Chanel undertook the task of enclosing the lane and paid to make it a gated street. The change has made a difference to retailers in the area.

Linda Mjellem, executive director of the Union Square Merchants Association and Maiden Lane Committee, says, “Chanel made a significant contribution to Maiden Lane by underwriting the designing and installing of the historic Maiden Lane gates. It literally branded
the lane.”

If you look closely, Chanel’s name is on a plaque near the gates.

Chanel Inc. President and CEO John Galantic is bullish on San Francisco. “Chanel has been a part of the San Francisco community since first opening in 1988,” he says. “The redesigned Maiden Lane boutique is now one of the most beautiful Chanel boutiques in the world, and we are proud to reopen here in San Francisco.”

At almost 8,000 square feet, the Peter Marino-designed two-story boutique is being targeted to the next-generation Chanel customer.

In addition to stocking apparel, handbags, sunglasses, deluxe accessories and fine jewelry, the boutique also premieres Chanel’s first costume jewelry display, inspired by Coco Chanel’s cherished coromandel screens in her Rue Cambon apartment in Paris.

Also debuting is Chanel’s cruise collection, inspired by Coco Chanel’s travels to Venice and its Byzantine gold “treasures” from museums and churches, translated into modern times by Karl Lagerfeld.

Barbara Cirkva, Chanel fashion division president, says, “Through the fashion and accessories of this season, he took us on a journey like no other.”

Two runway looks from the cruise collection and key accessories will be shown exclusively in the San Francisco boutique, which showcases a dramatic, luxurious interior design.

A travertine gold floor area highlights items by Metiers d’Art, which creates pieces for Chanel haute couture, and a 25-foot wall of black metal and glass lined in sheer gold fabric unites the two floors and provides a backdrop for highlighted items.

Even the stools at the handbag area are covered in a replica of Chanel tweed fabric.

Beyond the boutique, Chanel’s Maiden Lane gates stand guard.

IF YOU GO

Chanel reopening

Where: 155 Maiden Lane, S.F.
When: 10 a.m. Friday
Contact: (415) 981-1550

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