What’s Your Definition of Vintage?

Click image to access farfetched.com

Is it farfetched to call ten-year-old (or younger) items vintage?  Or to think that Chanel is involved in resale of its own items? Both seem to be happening at farfetch.com.

A section on “Chanel vintage” is featured at the farfetch website right under the menu for “vintage.” Promo emails push older Chanel items. The question is how much older. Take a look at this Chanel grocery basket from the supermarket collection. Cool, edgy, funky… lots of adjectives work.  But vintage? The supermarket collection was Fall 2014 – four years ago. Same for the Lait de Coco bag.  What about the big Chanel pearl, wasn’t that just a few seasons ago?There’s even a pearl lego clutch from Spring/Summer 2014 too. And there are Boy bags, a style which wasn’t introduced until Fall/Winter 2011. 

It would seem that in this market “vintage” is synonymous with “pre-owned.” For each item on the website has the disclaimer: “Please note that vintage items are not new and therefore might have minor imperfections.”  In other words, you could think of farfetch.com as just another reseller of Chanel items.

Except it isn’t. Earlier this year, Chanel invested in farfetch.com and entered into some sort of undisclosed strategic partnership (read Chanel Invests in Tech Unicorn).  At the time, Chanel executives proclaimed that this was part of Chanel’s digital strategy but that bags and ready-to-wear still would not be sold online. Bruno Pavlovksy, Chanel’s President of fashion, insisted that “We are not starting to sell Chanel on the Farfetch marketplace- I want to be very clear on that.” He spoke about a transformation to affect the boutique experience but did not further disclose plans, other than to say the partnership will be unveiled at one of Chanel’s boutiques in France later this year.

As far as we know, there has been no such unveiling. However, we wonder whether at least part of the plan is now disclosed.  A way for Chanel to capitalize and control the resale of its branded goods.

What do you think?