I visited the Chanel store in SoHo the day after Karl Lagerfeld died, and it was clear why the brand has been an icon for nearly 100 years

The SoHo store is surrounded by other luxury boutiques.

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The SoHo store is surrounded by other luxury boutiques.
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Marissa Perino/Business Insider

  • Renowned fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday, February 19, at the age of 85.
  • Lagerfeld was well-known for his role as the creative director of the Chanel and Fendi luxury brands.
  • One day after his death, I visited the Chanel storefront in SoHo to see if they had any sort of tribute set up for the fashion icon.
  • The store’s artful yet classic layout and blend of both historic and trendy pieces contributed to its feel of timeless luxury.

At his time of death, Karl Lagerfeld had worked with the Chanel brand for 36 years.

The Chanel company was founded by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1910, but Lagerfeld, who joined the company 1983 and had a wide impact on the fashion industry at large, is credited with modernizing the failing brand and carrying it into the 21st century.

On a snowy Wednesday, I took the train uptown to SoHo’s Chanel store. The SoHo location is one of three Chanel boutiques in Manhattan, along with the Madison Ave. store and the recently unveiled 57th St. location. I was curious to see if the store would have any kind of tribute displayed for the late fashion icon and to get a sense of how the store felt in person.

Overall, the store’s variety of high-end products and thoughtful layout contributed to its overall feel of luxury. I found that inventory was displayed not just as products for browsing but rather as pieces of art.

Here’s what the SoHo Chanel store looks like.


Chanel has boutique locations scattered across Manhattan. I recently visited the SoHo store, which is in the heart of SoHo’s shopping district and is surrounded by other luxury brands …

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Source: Chanel


… including Tiffany & Co. …

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… and Balmain.

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Wooster St. entrance of Chanel.
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The store sits at the corner of Spring St. and Wooster St.

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From the street, window-shoppers can spy brightly lit displays, even from across the road.

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I visited the store at 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, about a half hour after it opened. Notably, this was one day after Lagerfeld’s death, so I was interested to see if the store would have set up any kind of tribute or homage to its late creative director.


Upon entering the small store, I was greeted by smartly styled mannequins and a display of luxury sunglasses …

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… along with a Chanel makeup counter. When I walked in, I was one of only a few people in the store, but by the time I left, several more groups had also filtered in.

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Products on the makeup counter ranged from foundation to mascara, along with Chanel perfume.

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Chanel’s iconic No. 5 fragrance.
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Source: Chanel


On the opposite side of the store, a counter featured a line of stools where customers can sit while employees assist them with their purchases.

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Shelves behind the counter grouped bags by color, a theme repeated throughout the store.

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Glass displays included carefully curated items in small, neat groups …

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… and always included a mix of pieces, such as sunglasses and wallets.

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Wall displays, including a wall of perfectly arranged red and pink inventory, proved just as artful.

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A fully accessorized group of mannequins marked the entryway to the back of the store …

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… where the clothing racks were distinctly minimally filled. Many of them included only one or two pieces, all of which were color-coordinated to fit a theme. Clothing racks lined the edge of the lounge area.

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A plush black couch had a Chanel bag positioned on it, along with a Cruise Collection look book …

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… with photos by Lagerfeld.

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Unlike the website, which features a black and white portrait in honor of Lagerfeld …

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Karl Lagerfeld was known for always wearing a pair of black sunglasses.
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CHANEL

… the store did not have anything that struck me as a direct homage to the creative director, one day after his death.

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Business Insider reached out to Chanel for comment regarding the store’s lack of tribute for Lagerfeld but did not hear back by time of publication.


Every single item was perfectly arranged …

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A pair of calfskin Mary Jane shoes, which are listed on the Chanel website for a suggested retail price of $850.
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… and mirrors were often used to lengthen clothing displays.

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Some styles were obvious nods to classic pieces worn by people such as Jackie Kennedy …

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Source: CNN


… while other styles were more modern, such as these sneakers with the Chanel logo splashed prominently on the back.

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Read more: A chief marketing officer who works with 12,000 luxury brands says consumers are caught up in ‘logo-mania,’ and it’s helped a famously flashy brand make a huge comeback


Overall, the store was dominated by simple lines and a monochromatic color scheme. Lights illuminated both sunglasses displays …

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On Chanel’s website, sunglasses begin at $445 and increase in price up to $1,100.
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… and shoe displays …

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… while wire-wrapped lights added a modern look above the store’s fine-jewelry display.

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Costume jewelry was found on the opposite side of the store, near the sunglasses display, once again adding to style diversity — but not in overwhelming quantity.

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Chanel fine jewelry can cost upward of $45,000.
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After visiting the SoHo store, Chanel’s status as an icon seemed solidified for me. The store’s clean lines and simple, primarily monochromatic themes — with bursts of color here and there — definitely had a timeless appeal …

The SoHo store is surrounded by other luxury boutiques.

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… much like the brand’s purses, shoes, and coats …

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Marissa Perino/Business Insider

… and its famous, late creative director, Lagerfeld.