Can you dream of a Capri sunset while battling this never-ending lockdown? Designer Virginie Viard and her Chanel team did that and so beautifully in a photo studio in Paris. The result was a breathtakingly sumptuous Cruise 2020/21 collection titled ‘Balade en Méditerranée’ (a trip around the Mediterranean) shot by photographer Karim Sadli and featuring models Mica Argañaraz, Karly Loyce, Camille Hurel and Cris Herrmann.
Picture a young Brigitte Bardot in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris and you kind of capture the mood and vibe of this sun-kissed outing. Caviar-soaked travel and laid-back chic have been the core elements of DNA of the French luxury house, which has often transported us to exotic locales over decades with its charming cruise outings. Sometimes recreating the Versailles fountains (Resort 2013) and other times, ferrying us to the ultra-luxe Hotel du Cap in Antibes (Resort 2012) – Chanel knows how to seduce its lotus-eating clientele with its fantastical escapades.
Even though the planet has been under the lockdown and most brands have cancelled their resort and cruise shows, Chanel decided to go charging ahead with its cruise plan. “Initially I had Capri in mind, where the show was supposed to take place, but didn’t happen in the end because of lockdown,” shared Virginie, “So we had to adapt: not only did we decide to use fabrics that we already had, but the collection, more generally, evolved towards a trip around the Mediterranean… The islands, the scent of the eucalyptus, the pink shades of the bougainvillea.”
Showcased on the label’s Instagram account, the digital show evoked visuals of a carefree holiday spent in and around the cinematic Casa Malaparte (a villa in Capri, constructed in the Italian rationalist style). Ensembles in buttercup yellow, bougainvillea pink and pristine whites seemed perfect for an outing on the French or Italian riviera which have always been the playground of the jet set. One of the standout looks was a pink tweed lunch suit layered over a striking bandeau, which had gleaming embroidery inspired by the branches of bougainvillea flowers. Swim separates layered over soft cardigans, wide-legged trousers, handkerchief hem skirts were accessorised with statement oversized sunnies, cross-body logo pouches, ornate handcrafted jewellery and quilted shoulder bags. A white multi-pocketed tunic looked tres chic layered with a pouch necklace, a monochrome blazer was teamed with a pair of leather shorts which married elegance with insouciance.
The holy grail of couture – the Chanel jacket was reinterpreted this time in light tweed and denim, while the denim pieces came patchworked and kissed with logos and florals. The line-up’s mix and match appeal was amped by versatile separates like chiffon jackets and cardigans. In a scenario where our collective optimism seems to be in paucity, trust Chanel to enchant us with the much-needed whiff of escapism.