Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Personal Urban Transporter: Chanel's new mobile art

yatzer via chanel

"Bling is over" and the global economic meltdown calls for “a new modesty” in fashion. So Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld told The New York Times on January 15 - shortly after Chanel laid off 200 staff and pulled the plug on the company’s planned multi-city Mobile Art exhibition, which was housed within a spaceship-like structure designed by architect Zaha Hadid. Which is why frockwriter initially harboured doubts about a story currently whipping around tech blogs about Chanel's supposed foray into the Segway market, with its 'Personal Urban Transporter'. As it turns out however, the story is on the money. First spotted in the January edition of Air France's in-flight magazine, the first online image appeared on February 15th, on the BeautifulMag blog, which noted, "By simply leaning in the direction you want to go, you drive your personal transporter with a maximum speed of 20kph through your city. Shopping, sporting and relaxing has never been so glamorous".

yatzer via chanel

The only source provided is Chanel and frockwriter was unable to find any reference to the product on Chanel’s site, with the only Chanel-branded sport items listed being a tennis racquet, skis, snowboard, bicycle and fishing rod.

Frockwriter has just checked with Chanel's Australian PR director, Susie Stenmark, who confirmed that the product has been in the pipeline at Chanel for the past six to eight months and is available via order.

The Personal Urban Transporter functions in very similar manner to the electronic Segway, said Stenmark. Given that the Segway is an established brand name, Chanel's product had to be given a separate name.

Frockwriter is not sure if that constitutes a knockoff, but we'll get back to you.

Meanwhile Chanel's new baby doesn't seem to have gone down too well in the tech blogosphere - which has overlooked the officially sanctioned product name, and insists on referring to the "Chanel Segway".

Writes Gizmodo:

“Chanel Segway is pretty much inexcusable”

“Will the economic crisis ever affect Mr Lagerfeld?”

And Ecorazzi:
“Chanel Segway May Hint That The End Of The World Is Near”

FYI a Ferrari Segway retails for 7,000 euros (A$14,000).


Anna Wintour said...

My prediction for Paris: Models wear the craziest heels of any show ever, but there are no falls because instead of walking the runway, they're riding these.

Patty Huntington said...

i was kinda hoping that lagerfeld might make his post-show runway bow on one of them.

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