Leather. Chains. Fringe & Flowers: Cracking CHANEL’S Code To Success

If you don’t know who you are in business – you’ll have a hard time creating killer products & services that sell, baby sell.

So today, I’m showing you how 3 successful brands – including CHANEL – have cracked that code to success.


Meryl Streep

Meryl does something that every great entrepreneur does to achieve long-term success.

She’s mastered the art of reinterpretation.

Think about it – actors are the ULTIMATE entrepreneurs – because their business requires them to sell themselves over and over again.

To remain fresh. To remain relevant. And yet still be themselves. In a highly competitive market.

If you spend any time watching Inside the Actor’s Studio, you’ll hear actors say repeatedly that for each role – especially challenging ones – they found something inside themselves that related to the role, and began working from that point.

They didn’t create new people for each role. They reinterpreted themselves.

That’s how Meryl Streep can be so versatile – and so successful.

Every part she takes – Miranda Priestly, Julia Child, Donna in Mamma Mia – has one thing in common, and it’s Meryl Streep.

She’s got a basepoint for the role, and then reinterprets herself from there.

The ability to reinterprets oneself is something EVERY successful entrepreneur does for longevity.


Marilyn Manson

1990’s glamrock/goth rocker Marilyn Manson has been busy reinterpreting himself to critical acclaim with…

: A recurring role in Sons of Anarchy.

: Songs in the edgy thriller: John Wick.

: And a brand new album The Pale Emperor.

… Which according to Chris Sosa from the Huff Post is getting “the best reviews the band has received in over a decade and is currently putting on a stage show that wouldn’t have been possible two years ago.”

I’m not going to say that Manson has particularly ‘cleaned up’ (though he may be sober) – I mean, LOOK – the eyeliner, the lipstick, the ATTITUDE are all still in place.

He’s shifted himself into a new arena. High fashion. Edgy television. New album.

He’s reinterpreted himself (with the help of genre bending YSL Creative Hedi Slimane) into an icon of High-Glamour Grunge.

And if there wasn’t such a thing before, there certainly is now. Thanks to Marilyn.


CHANEL: The Queen Bee of Reinvention

CHANEL always has a basic look, going back to 1909, when Coco Chanel herself invented it.


: Chic unfinished edging and trim on jackets

: Feminine bows combined with a sporty cut of clothes.

: Textural woven fabrics, with an impeccable cut and couture finishing. If you have a CHANEL jacket, you could wear it inside out, the finishing is that good.

: Loads of unabashedly fake gold chains and fake pearls, mixed with real, like Mademoiselle Coco herself.

: The quilted leather handbags – because the modern girl of 1909 needed a place for her lipstick and cigarettes.

Fast forward 107 years. Yes! One. Hundred. Seven.

And you still find jackets with trim, the bows, the fabrics, the quilting, the chains, the pearls.

Even the impeccable finish remains the same – in fact, the seaming and tailoring is still done by the same Parisian workshop that Coco started with more than a century ago.

CHANEL isn’t reinventing a thing. They’re REINTERPRETING the look that made them famous.

And Bruno Pavlovsky, chairman of Chanel’s Fashion Division, credits both the freshness and the longevity of the brand to this ability.

Check out this excerpt from an interview he did with the Business of Fashion digest.

BoF: Chanel has an incredibly rich heritage, but somehow still feels very modern and contemporary. Some luxury brands can be weighed down by their history, while others don’t know how to retain it as they grow. How do you manage this balance?

Bruno Pavlovsky: It’s about creativity. And the beginning of creativity is the codes of the brand. These codes are now quite iconic because eight times a year — for two haute couture and six ready-to-wear collections — we ask Mr. Lagerfeld and his studio to come up with new interpretations. These incredible creative people, collection after collection, start the story again.

Today, Chanel is perhaps one of the most successful business models based on creativity. We let these creative people go to the next step in designing the collection. And, on the other hand, we maximise the impact of the collection at every point of sale.

I LOVE this!

‘The beginning of creativity is the codes of the brand.”  – Bruno Pavlovsky

Especially because it comes from knowing who they are, and what they have to offer – then using those CODES to remain fresh and relevant.

For 107 years.

Just like Meryl Streep. Just like Marilyn Manson. Not for 107 years, but you get the point.

Reinterpretation is your best friend & the key to long term success.

Madonna does it. Oprah does it. Apple does it.

But you can’t reinterpret anything – if you don’t know your basepoint.

And knowing your basepoint starts with knowing who you are.

: Meryl Streep said, “I AM curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you.”

: Coco Chanel said, “I don’t do fashion. I AM fashion.”

: Even Russell Simmons says, “I AM hip hop.”

With statements like those, can you see why it’s soooo easy for Meryl and CHANEL to reinterpret themselves decade after decade?

So who are you?

What’s your I AM statement?

I AM Design.

I AM Writing.

I AM Coaching.

I AM Soul.

I AM Rock n’ Roll.

OWNING your genius in business is one of my most strongly held viewpoints. Maybe even the strongest. Because that’s how you stay fresh, interested, and abundant for the long haul.

Grip your potential in two fists – and crack the code to your success.


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