Company History
CHANEL, the international luxury goods company, was founded in France in 1911 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Today, after nearly a century of continuous operations, CHANEL remains one of the world’s preeminent fashion businesses worldwide. Under the current design leadership of Karl Lagerfeld, the House of CHANEL remains dedicated to luxury, fashion, style and image.


Case Study Concept
The Beauté division of CHANEL markets makeup to both department stores and specialty stores. Students will present their design for an exclusive beauty product/line and program for distribution in specialty stores. While keeping the company heritage in mind, students must consider the position in the marketplace as well as the competitive set; The CHANEL dedication to quality in manufacturing and service; high quality packaging and attention to detail.


Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
The students’ mission was to design an exclusive makeup and/or skin care product for distribution in specialty stores for CHANEL Beauté. This process has taught the team that integration of brand history is important in building a strong product launch story. Thus students first examined CHANEL sources of inspiration and recurring design elements, such as the star, the quality, and Byzantine art. What moved the project team most was the camellia, a signature and universal emblem of CHANEL creations. The team believes this symbol of perfection was ideally suited to incorporating into a beauty product.

At the same time, the team recognized a gap in the CHANEL Beauté product portfolio – specifically in body care (which comprises almost 10% of the $2 billion skin care market). CHANEL competitors already sold numerous body care products as part of a complete skin care regimen, and the students identified an opportunity for Chanel in this segment. Further research revealed that our source of inspiration – the camellia – is a tea plant. Most importantly, tea possesses many healthy properties for the skin and body.

The Camélia Body line would be launched with three products: Body Intense (a moisturizer), Body Smooth (an exfoliator) and Body Silhouette (anti-cellulite) and would incorporate the camellia into the product and packaging. Ingredients of the product would include ground tea leaves, caffeine and antioxidants to purify and perfect the body. The team drew upon the stopper of the N° 5 bottle by designing a beveled edge for the primary packaging. Based on conservative assumptions, the team believes Camélia Body would capture 2% of the overall body care market. The marketing plan would focus on print advertising and PR events at camellia botanical gardens in key markets around the country, and would also include direct mailings and in-store displays.


The Chanel Project Team
Laurie Chan, Columbia Business School
Pamela Klein, Columbia Business School
Erica Hillman, Parsons School of Design
Beatrice Lafragette, Columbia Business School
Angie Park, Parsons School of Design
Michelle Roque, Parsons School of Design
Christina Young, Columbia Business School