Now we know how Karl Lagerfeld is able to pull off such grand fashion shows each season. It’s because they’re rich. On Thursday, Chanel released its yearly earnings for the first time in the luxury French fashion house’s 108-year history. The big reveal? Mademoiselle Coco Chanel’s label earned a whopping $9.62 billion in 2017, an 11% increase from the previous year. This figure puts Chanel just above Kering’s Gucci ($7.1 billion), and neck and neck with LVMH’s crown jewel, Louis Vuitton (LVMH has not released Louis Vuitton’s earnings, The New York Times is speculating that figure is estimated to be €8 billion to €10 billion, or $9 billion to $12 billion).
And we’re glad to see that Chanel is really enjoying its money. Because, of course a brand who launches an actual rocket into the sky has $10 billion in their pocket. It also explains how they were able to send its models down a runway fashioned after a river canyon in Provence, France. Then there was the time they marched straight out of an igloo with a miniature iceberg imported from Sweden. And honestly, nothing was more satisfying than watching beautiful people in beautiful clothing pick out produce. It also explains why creative director Karl Lagerfeld feels so comfortable offering customers an abundance of ridiculous, useless luxuries like Chanel-branded hula hoop bag, surfboards, and a $1,375 boomerang. The latter drew the internet’s ire most recently, with people crying cultural appropriation (this was the second time the brand released this item).
It’s no wonder Philippe Blondiaux, Chanel’s chief financial officer, told The Times during a phone interview on Thursday: “We are very proud of who we are at Chanel and how much we have achieved while always retaining a core vision and creative heritage. This will remain the same in 10 years, 50 years — centuries — to come. This is what we want to communicate.” The company is releasing these figures now in preventative measure to ward off negative speculation. “It was time to let the strength of our balance sheet speak for itself,” he added — and numbers don’t lie.
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