As you have likely already read, Chanel recently posted on Instagram for the first time ever, and after only one active day on the social media platform, Chanel has racked up 1.8 million followers. The Paris-based design house posted its first Instagram photos and videos on Monday evening during its screening of its latest short film, "The One That I Want," which was directed by Baz Luhrmann and stars Gisele. A snippet from the Chanel No. 5-themed film, along with eight photos of launch party guests (think: Karlie Kloss, Derek Blasberg, Lauren Santo Domingo, Soo Joo Park, Binx Walton, Anna Wintour, Lagerfeld, and Luhrmann, etc., most of which were snapped by Caroline de Maigret) make up the brand's first Instagram content.
Interesting to fashion sites and advertisers alike, is Chanel's ability to grow an Instagram audience in the absence of any activity prior to Monday evening. Some sources have claimed that the Karl Lagerfeld-helmed house established its account just this week and amassed nearly 2 million followers in a number of hours (which seems highly unlikely). AdWeek seems to have the more plausible story, writing, "It appears that the brand opened its account some time ago, built up a considerable backing organically and then finally saw fit to post content."
Chanel is quite obviously a bit late to the party. Most fashion show and party-goers have established Instagram accounts. As the New York Times's Matthew Scheier wrote this past April, "Nearly every show attendee, from the front row to the standing section, now arrives with phone in hand and Instagram account primed." And brands are very much the same, maintaining active social media accounts with the help of social media managers. (Yes, that's a full time job). Thus, a social media presence, including an Instagram account, is pretty run of the mill for most fashion brands.
Other brands are notably taking things a step further. Danielle Sherman, the creative director of Edun, for instance, commissioned a director and a fleet of 20 borrowed iPhone 5's to create a video of her Fall/Winter 2014 show. London-based Burberry, one of the fashion brands leading the fashion x tech movement, teamed up with Apple for its Spring/Summer 2014 collection, using the tech brand's (then) new iPhone 5's slow-motion mode to create Instagram videos. Not surprisingly, Burberry has over 2 million Instagram followers.
Paris-based Givenchy, with its 1.1 million followers, is also a proponent of social media as a more direct line of communication between designers and their fans. “I want to share with people,” said Riccardo Tisci, the house's creative director, who maintains an account for the house and a personal account, as well. Leading the pack, however, is fellow LVMH-owned brand, Louis Vuitton, which boasts over 3 million followers. Louis Vuitton has been utilizing its account for the past several seasons, in particular, to prepare for its runway shows. For S/S 2015, the LV social media team posted a series of images on its Instagram feed ahead of the show in Paris, and encouraged fans to "Follow Nicolas Ghesquière [via the house's Instagram] ... for an up close and personal view on the final preparations of his show."
It is difficult to compare Chanel to any of these brands, with their relatively consistent and long(er)-standing activity on an array of social media platforms. One brand that we can use to a gauge Chanel's position is Yves Saint Laurent. The house, under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, has active Facebook and Twitter accounts (much like Chanel), and while it has an Instagram account (@YSL), it has not posted anything. The account has 116,000 followers. Slimane himself appears to have an account, also devoid of any posts, which has 70,000 followers.
So, why the disparity? Is it that fans were simply more curious to see what it is that Chanel would post, when it did, in fact, begin to post, in comparison to Saint Laurent? The difference in followers between the two inactive accounts Chanel and YSL is for you to debate. What we do know is this: Chanel has quite a substantial following, especially when you compare it to a number of similarly situated houses that have been active on Instagram for over a year. Here are is a list of few of those houses (and some others like Michael Kors, Zara, etc., which are included purely for that comparison purposes) we put together …
Forever 21 has 4.99 million followers.
Louis Vuitton has 3.03 million followers.
Michael Kors has 2.9 million followers.
Gucci has 2.5 million followers.
ASOS has 2.34 million followers.
Burberry has 2.02 million followers.
Prada, with its 1.81 million followers, is just above Chanel.
Dior comes close to Chanel with 1.78 million followers.
Valentino has 1.72 million followers.
Versace has 1.3 million followers.
Zara has 1.2 million followers.
Givenchy has 1.1 million followers.
Karl Lagerfeld has 919,000 followers.
Fendi (which is also under the creative direction of Karl Lagerfeld has nearly 760,000 followers.
Lanvin has 662,000 followers.
Balenciaga has 574,00 followers.
Hermès has 521,000 followers.
Alexander Wang, a significantly younger brand, has 405,000 followers.
Maison Martin Margiela has 321,000 followers.
YSL has 116,000 followers.
*These values have been rounded slightly.