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The little black jacket is one of Chanel’s enduring symbols. It’s also now the subject of a Steidl book of photos by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld, as well as a traveling exhibition of those images, on display in New York through Friday. WWD caught up with Paris-based Bruno Pavlovsky, the house’s president of global fashion, at the show’s opening party last week.
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WWD: How do you think the “Little Black Jacket” exhibit will impact the perception of the Chanel jacket?
Bruno Pavlovsky: More so than just the black jacket, Chanel is a lot about creativity, and what Karl [Lagerfeld] is doing with six collections a year. In every single one of them, you can see a lot of different jackets. And I think that the jacket has become, in the past 10 years, something key for Chanel. It’s already an icon. We have the bag, and we have the jacket. And for us the jacket is even more important because it is all about fashion and luxury.
WWD: Is the jacket the most successful item at Chanel?
B.P.: It’s difficult to break down, but for me, in terms of image and what our customer says, I think the jacket is probably the most important piece in the Chanel assortment today. We have more and more new customers coming to us for it.
WWD: What’s the secret of its success?
B.P.: You can wear it anytime — day, evening or cocktail, with any kind of clothes, even with jeans.
WWD: What’s the next stop for the exhibit?
B.P.: It will be in about 20 cities. Next is Taipei, then Hong Kong, and in September, Berlin, followed by London and Moscow. We started in Tokyo; now we’re in New York. You see the exhibition through different angles in each city.