Store openings at CityCenterDC (particularly those of brands that don’t already have other outposts in the area, like at Tysons Galleria, for example) often come with the fanfare of grand-opening parties and red carpet events—the Carolina Herrera opening in 2015, attended by Herrera herself, comes to mind—but one of the luxury shopping destination’s most recent boutiques opened decidedly under the radar. In July, Chanel quietly opened its doors in DC for the first time in 17 years (an outpost in the Willard Hotel closed in 2004.)
The skipping of the grandeur around a store opening in the midst of a pandemic is no major surprise, but, this particular opening plan may have been simply on brand. It’s “very Chanel,” is something we’ve heard more than once. Officially, Chanel says, the boutique will be celebrated with events over the next year. Since its July 14 opening, there’s been exactly one Instagram post about the brand on the CityCenterDC account—and it garnered significantly more attention than any other post that month, including more than 34 times the number of likes as the posts on either side of it.
The lack of celebratory optics has apparently done nothing to thwart the shop’s success: Instead, we hear that the 8,000-square foot store below the Conrad Hotel is doing very well. In fact, shoppers were entering the store the moment the doors opened one drizzling morning last week, and we’ve heard that at various times there’s been a line outside the shop to get in—and undoubtedly, the designer-dressed subset of Washingtonian shoppers that once flocked to New York City to shop such boutiques have secured private appointments.
It’s one of only 23 Chanel fashion stores in the United States (there are additional Chanel eyewear, fine jewelry, and beauty and fragrance stores, including one of the latter in Tysons). And while the CityCenterDC luxury shopping center itself is both a destination for tourists and a virtual case study in the demand for local-to-DC luxury retail, a line to get into a quietly opened Chanel may be the most compelling anecdote yet.