Chanel runway shows are usually one of the fashion calendars most extravagant events, featuring over-the-top sets and cameos from both world-famous models, musicians and muses. Just some of the late Karl Lagerfeld's creations included a full-scale Chanel-logo-embossed rocket ship, a recreation of the Eiffel Tower within Paris' Grand Palais and even a supermarket with chic Chanel products, including a can of tuna that read: "Délice de Gabrielle".
For its latest collection, the fashion house has gone virtual. The Chanel Cruise 2021 collection was originally intended to show in Capri, the beautiful Italian island off the coast of Naples. But instead, was forced to go digital due to the pandemic, making it the first time in its history that Chanel has presented a collection without staging a show.
Named “Balade en Méditerranée (a trip around the Mediterranean),” the show went on, but without its signature panache. Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard explained, “Initially I had Capri in mind, where the show was supposed to take place but didn’t happen in the end because of lockdown."
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Viard adds that the label had to "adapt" to the new world order, creating a collection which focuses on sustainability: "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 bougainvillaea.”
The collection was conceived as travelling with “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels,” said Viard.
As well as Capri, the collection takes cues from the “free, laidback allure” of the legendary actresses of the 1960s when they would withdraw to the Italian and the French Riviera for their holidays.
The fashion house's signature tweeds were reworked into matching crop tops and skirts, with some looks being accessorised with unsold items from the spring 2020 collection. Long skirts become strapless dresses when pulled up, long jackets in black chiffon can be worn by day over a triangle bikini, or by night with an embroidered bandeau top and jeans, “and if worn over bare skin, it becomes a déshabillé.”
In addition, fourteen of the fifty-one looks were made with sustainable silk and cotton that have won the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification, which defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
Below, some looks from Chanel's Resort 2021 Collection: