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Fashion & Style

Chanel disses Danforth after fake storefront surfaces

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / May 5, 2014

chanel torontoWord spread this weekend of a new Chanel boutique opening in Toronto, though its neighbours were more baffled than excited by the news. The location of the French couture house's latest showroom? 1822 Danforth Ave., between Coxwell and Woodbine - right next door to the neighbourhood pest control business.

An image of the new storefront, bearing the iconic interlocking-C logo and the words "opening fall 2014", ended up posted on Reddit. "Look up gentrification," one Redditor remarked. (A Chanel boutique in your average residential neighbourhood would probably be filed under 'seriously?', but we digress.)

Others floated the possibility that the incongruous location was a pop-up shop for the brand's grocery-store-inspired Fall 2014 collection, which debuted on a Paris runway flanked with shelves of Chanel-branded cotton swabs, detergent and potato chips. (If that were true, the unusual location, more suited to a real-deal corner store than a Mink Mile-style boutique, would have been a pretty fantastic choice.)

As it turned out, the sign was indeed phony. Art of the Danforth is currently underway in the neighbourhood, and the imaginary Chanel storefront appears to be an offshoot of this project, which asks residents to reimagine what the area would look like after undergoing heavy gentrification.

Upon hearing of the signs, representatives from the brand were up in (boucle-jacketed) arms. "We've advised our legal services and we'll be investigating this," Chanel's public relations director, Virginie Vincens, told Canadian Business. "We would never go in that area." (Danforth residents, don't take that too personally; brands like these avoid being associated with anyone who's not an heiress, a very famous actress, or Cara Delevingne.)

Expansion within Toronto likely wouldn't have been in the cards for the French fashion giant. With existing boutiques in high-end spots like Yorkville and Yorkdale, Chanel's as visible as it currently needs to be in the city - if you're about to pick up a new 2.55, it's really not a problem to venture out of your neighbourhood. But if Chanel Marts ever really do materialize in cities worldwide, I would clean up in aisle No. 5.

Photo via Reddit.

Discussion

34 Comments

Alexander / May 5, 2014 at 03:55 pm
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They wouldn't go to Jane/Finch either...is it really shocking that a high end retailer would opt not to go to an area with no high end shops? The Danforth is upmarket real estate wise because of the subway, it's not a location for high end boutiques.
Todd Toronto replying to a comment from Alexander / May 5, 2014 at 03:58 pm
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Maybe so, but there are perhaps more artful ways of stating that you have no current intentions of opening up a location in a particular neighbourhood.
Harold Pinter / May 5, 2014 at 04:01 pm
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Aetna pest control is a neighbourhood prize and Chanel should be so lucky to be situated beside them.
Jamie / May 5, 2014 at 05:03 pm
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"We would never go
In THAT area" really? Good
News as I'm sure residents of "our area" wouldn't want you here now anyways. Not
To mention how you've now tarnished your uppity, snobbish brand in my eyes
Coco Chanel replying to a comment from Jamie / May 5, 2014 at 05:36 pm
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None of the residents can even afford to go, so no worries there.
Steven / May 5, 2014 at 06:15 pm
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Art? Were they given $$$ by the government?
Maston / May 5, 2014 at 07:09 pm
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Coco go find another sugar daddy!
Perry Como / May 5, 2014 at 07:18 pm
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Rob Ford will be making a statement shortly
Francis / May 5, 2014 at 08:10 pm
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The Danfoth shoukdnjust stand up for the fact its Greektown and they want no part of a French business from overseas. Don't worry Chanel I can get you're products at the Eaton Center and Yorkdale Mall if I really need them. Goodbye
Sunny / May 5, 2014 at 08:22 pm
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Shrug. I wear Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld's stuff and I live in the area. And my family has been in the area since the 70s so... Speak for yourself.
BM / May 5, 2014 at 08:45 pm
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Perhaps there is a better way of pointing out that a certain neighborhood is not your target market. But the response seems in line with this brand.
Does anyone really wear these bags anymore? Every Susan, Barb and Mary on the subway has a fake one.
David / May 5, 2014 at 08:55 pm
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"We would never go in that area"

Seriously? People actually buy crap from a company that speaks about others like this? I feel sorry for them.
Vern Johansson / May 5, 2014 at 08:59 pm
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The Pest Control probably treats animals way better than Chanel.
Moaz Ahmad / May 5, 2014 at 09:13 pm
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Bigger question to ask is why is this street front shop empty?
Coxwell Queen replying to a comment from Francis / May 5, 2014 at 09:32 pm
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The Danforth hasn't been Greek for a long time, let alone the strip of land the storefront this article is about is situated.

You should come out this way from your cul-de-sac in 905 sometime. We're good people.
Ruth Treloar / May 5, 2014 at 09:34 pm
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That was funny, Vern! At least kills them humanely, without torture.
Ai We We / May 5, 2014 at 09:37 pm
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No shit they would never open up 'round there — that part of town is a dump, lol
Jay replying to a comment from Coco Chanel / May 5, 2014 at 09:37 pm
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You're an idiot.
That area is so up-and-coming. Maybe not forrest hill kind of money but a lot of people with money/good jobs are moving into the area. That being said .. no its not a chanel area or even much of a shopping area except for a few shops here and there
Thoughtsonthis replying to a comment from Vern Johansson / May 5, 2014 at 09:38 pm
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Good one. Haha.

Seriously, though, am I the only one who wishes that pest control company would relocate? It's an eyesore on the Danforth. And I took the same picture as BlogTO (or wherever they got it from) with my phone. The juxtaposition says as much about the pest control group as about Chanel. They have giant plastic rats and fake snakes in the window, for goodness sake.

As for Chanel, several owners of nearby stores told me that they were looking forward to the new store in their midst. They hoped it would increase traffic and retail sales.

Gentrification is coming to the east side of Danforth. I just hope that the development falls between vermin on one side and princesses on the other. What about some healthy, multicultural, family-friendly, creative enterprises? We've got some and we need more.
YO replying to a comment from Thoughtsonthis / May 5, 2014 at 09:40 pm
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Psst: Your MPP is right across the street. Go complain to him.
Donald replying to a comment from Jay / May 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm
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Idiot? You wrote "forrest hill". That sounds like a cheap knock-off of Forest Hill, which is a big stretch for the Danforth!
janine / May 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm
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its art people. full stop.
kam replying to a comment from Heathrow / May 6, 2014 at 07:44 am
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AGREED
Bob replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / May 6, 2014 at 07:59 am
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Ahh I see, you like to be lied to, handled and patted on the head. Well, good for you!
Bobo / May 6, 2014 at 09:43 am
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What's sad is that the comment "We would never go in that area" is exactly what the average Chanel customer wants to hear. A collective sigh of relief was heard coming from the mega-mansions of York Mills and Bayview.

The PR rep Virginie Vincens is concerned about the brand image being tarnished. A woman whose skill set is likely nothing more than being a stylish sycophant. That, and her following of 36 people on the Twitter feed she has not updated for 2 years.

That's what makes this artistic statement so brilliant. It highlights the soulless emptiness of associating one's self worth with material things, and feeling superior to others for no good reason.
Ian / May 6, 2014 at 10:49 am
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Who cares what chanel thinks The real question is who put the sign up? I bet its just one of those knock off cheap perfume places opening up trying to create hype.
The RealNESS / May 6, 2014 at 11:48 am
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Fake Chanel store might yield a Chanel suit — a lawsuit

Artist's bogus boarding suggests new luxury retailer in unlikely area.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/05/05/fake_chanel_store_might_yield_a_chanel_suit_a_lawsuit.html
Jules / May 6, 2014 at 11:51 am
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You've all been had by Art Of the Danforth. Great job Danforth in creating your own controversy and making a global brand respond at a feeble attempt at art.

http://www.artofthedanforth.com/
LaryOly / May 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm
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My mother always said that wearing a logo makes you a walking billboard.

Only a fool would pay a super-rich company to become a walking billboard for them. It makes far more sense for the company to pay YOU to be its billboard.

There sure are a lot of fools out there.
Anna / May 6, 2014 at 03:24 pm
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this project isn't about Chanel. it's about the levels of gentrification and community ownership.

and judging by the dialogue, people have a lot to say about the trials of urban development.

http://www.artofthedanforth.com/mahmood-popal
Nefandus / May 6, 2014 at 04:48 pm
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Chanel is a highly desirable luxury brand, defined by exclusivity and also by the company it keeps. Of COURSE it wouldn’t locate in that area (today) anyway – everyone who lives there knows that. The juxtaposition is the thing that makes it interesting – as well as the discussion it instantly provokes.

Is it art? It is at least “design”, that is posed or arranged in such a way as to evoke some strong emotions and reflection about what’s “right” for the neighborhood whose flavour is changing. To me, that's close enough to give me an experience I associate with art.

But would Chanel “never” locate in that area? Lets not forget posh Yorkville’s humble beginnings (where I believe Chanel is located today). According to the Bloor Yorkville BIA website, Chanel’s present Toronto home started as a brickworks and breweries. By the 1960’s, it had become “shabby and rundown” and home to Toronto's bohemian cultural centre – and the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Margaret Atwood.

Kudos to Chanel for being such good sports about it so far in the Star article in asking to be consulted so they could fix their logo and make it more realistic. Sounds like they are more concerned about not being invited to the party than they are about shutting it down.
Greg / May 6, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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Ohh now everybody seems to speak up for this project and its value. 12 hours ago every one was pissed off that Chanel wasn't coming to the Danforth anymore. Simply a hoax on the neighborhood by an artist trying to make an attempt to be relevant. If you have to explain to me why this "art" piece is relevant and how it represents gentrification then its a fail,ypou already confused the neighborhood and guess what the gentrification already happened further west on the Danforth with the Starbucks, Tim Hortons etc. etc. The fact that it maybe moving further east now means nothing really it was only a matter of time....
Christina / May 11, 2014 at 12:26 am
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Regarding Chanel – agreed that the rep’s comments were lame and poorly worded to say the least. But in terms of not opening up on the Danforth in that particular area…nobody that lives in this area should be offended or surprised. It would make no business sense for any store that was that high end to open up there and we all know that. And for those of us who care, we should be able to openly discuss the fact that the Danforth does look like a dump in that area and does not properly represent this community at large – families who are working hard and who hold themselves to high standards, values and morals – people of all cultures, backgrounds and classes.

I would like to say that if we really want gentrification, we should get together as a community and find ways to make that happen. For example, I would like to see the store fronts cleaned up a little – store windows to look a little more inviting, marketable, relevant…store signs looking a little less dingy and cheap than they appear now. But let’s face it, most of these store owners are probably barely making enough in sales to pay their rents, keep their businesses afloat and put food on their tables. So it’s a bit of a catch-22. If we were all shopping locally and supporting these stores, they could probably afford to polish up their images a little, which would improve the community’s image overall and entice other businesses to move into the area. But most of us probably don’t shop at these stores because of their images, appearance and also due to unawareness. I can honestly say the general ‘feel’ or ‘mood’ in that area brings me down to the point that I don’t even want to venture into the stores there and see what their products or services are. And that’s the shame of it. So what do we, as a community do to help ourselves?

I’m going to look into this because this article has got me curious and maybe somebody here can answer these questions:

Does the BIA regulate what types of businesses open up here? Because I think there should be more regulations regarding variety – meaning many different products and services offered as opposed to a line of bars or fast foods, for example.

Also, the businesses should represent all of the cultures that live in this community, in other words more diversity – something for everyone.

There should also be some basic standards regarding store fronts, display windows, signage – not so as to infringe upon people’s rights but to hold business owners to a standard of keeping up the image that we want to represent us as a community. That is very important and not enough emphasis is placed on that by the looks of things. Stores along the Danforth, their products, services and images represent this entire community – at least at first glance, don’t they? People do make judgments on a community based on the look and feel of their main streets.

So, I’m wondering what is done at that level in this area.

To summarize, I think that despite the difference in opinions here, it is important and good that we talk about it and this art piece initiated that conversation, so it did what it was supposed to do.
Christina replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / May 11, 2014 at 12:37 am
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Perfect point.

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