In the Eighties, Chanel launched a new division: The Fleurs de Chine, with a special focus on couture, or accessories, specifically handbags. Almost all of those designers became part of the Chanel Couture house, which didn’t want to just offer a few pieces for sale, but a collection of accessories with its own significance and presence. That changed when the division moved to Avenue Marceau.
Instead of replacing that boutique, Chanel decided to scrap it and turn it into a free-standing building. Now, 11 of the original 50 designers are housed in this new landmark. Thierry Mugler’s atelier remains at Avenue Marceau. The remaining designers, including Santi Santamaria, Serge Ruffieux, Pierre Cardin, Veronique Branquinho, Christophe Lecomte, Maria Cornejo, Alexis Mabille, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Fabien Baron, are all housed at the historic building, which will stay as open-air showroom/corridor when it reopens in the spring of 2018. (The building sits at 404 C Street NW.)