Chanel unveils “Balade en Méditerranée”, its Cruise collection

To present its latest Cruise collection – without travelling, due to the health crisis – Chanel has bet on a video shot in a Paris studio and unveiled on the Internet, Monday at noon (Paris time).

Entitled “Balade en Méditerranée”, the collection takes the classic Chanel silhouette and adds a touch of fantasy, in keeping with the young and romantic style favoured by Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director. This is the first time a major fashion house has unveiled a collection on the Internet since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last March. The video lasts seven minutes.Directed by Julien Pujol, it shows four models – Camille Hurel, Karly Loyce, Cris Herrmann and Mica Argañaraz – photographed in a Parisian studio, then integrated into a pleasant landscape of the Mediterranean coast, either on the terrace of a luxury hotel or on a rocky shore, at the foot of the cliffs of the volcanic island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, with the former villa of the Emperor Tiberius lost in the background.

“Initially, the fashion show was to take place in Capri, before the containment measures,” recalls Virginie Viard, “We had to adapt to the situation: not only did we decide to use fabrics we already had in the studio, but the collection more generally evolved towards a journey around the Mediterranean…The islands, the scent of eucalyptus, the pink shades of bougainvillea”.Prior to the presentation, Chanel set the stage by unveiling a series of photos by Karim Sadli, a lookbook featuring Argentine model Mica Argañaraz and Frenchwoman Camille Hurel, watermelon-pink curly tweed suits worn with boleros over sequined bras, flared check pants large and small with matching tank tops, candy-pink cardigans worn with mini-shorts.According to the house, all these elements capture the “free and casual look inspired by the legendary actresses of the 60’s” on holiday on the French Riviera and the Italian Riviera, while for cocktail hour, salmon pink leather trousers with crossover jackets or wallet dresses in transparent lamé with flowers.For the evening, translucent black chiffon bat dresses worn with sequined tops, or transparent coat dresses worn with black bras.on the accessories side, quilted bags in denim or raffia, charming micro-matted pockets, pearl earrings with double C clasps and chain belts adorned with crystals that sparkle on the models’ tanned bellies.

“A wardrobe that can be carried in a small wheeled suitcase, a tote bag and an embroidered handbag,” as Virginie Viard describes this selection of versatile and adaptable outfits. In the video, we also find the Brazilian model Herrmann and the Frenchwoman from Martinique Karly Loyce, who for the occasion had created her most characteristic hairstyle, her hair braided tightly on her head.The video contains no reference to the pandemic, nor to the demonstrations that broke out around the world following the death of George Floyd, who was choked by the knee of a policeman in Minneapolis. At the end of the presentation, it says: “In stores as of November 2020”.In other words, Chanel is not about to embark on the “See now, Buy now” strategy.the house maintains its pace of six collections a year: two couture collections, two ready-to-wear collections, a Métiers d’Art fashion show and, of course, the Cruise.the show was scheduled to take place on May 7th on the splendid Italian island.Like other major houses – Christian Dior, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Max Mara – Chanel had to cancel its show a few weeks before the scheduled date: for Virginie Viard, the event was to be the first to be held abroad since the death of Karl Lagerfeld in February 2019. Generally speaking, the presentation unveiled outfits ideal for a refined holiday, backed by an effective soundtrack that mixed Venezuelan DJ Arca and one of Chanel’s favourite musicians, Sébastien Tellier.but in the end, despite its elegance and the fluidity of its editing, the video showed above all that a “small” alternative clip will never replace a large live fashion show.Especially Chanel’s impressive shows at the Grand Palais or the memorable events held on islands in Dubai, on the main artery of Havana or in isolated Scottish castles are among the annals of recent fashion history. Last weekend, Chanel released a video teaser of the collection: an 18-second film recalling Karl Lagerfeld’s five-day trip to Capri in 1997 for a photo shoot at Villa Malaparte. Directed by Massimiliano Bomba, the short film features the rocky beaches, breaking waves, seagulls of Capri’s wild west coast – and the iconic villa.Famous for its inverted pyramid-shaped staircase, it served as the setting for Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece, Le Mépris (1963), a must-see fashion reference with Brigitte Bardot and the late Michel Piccoli, who dissects a woman’s growing contempt for her husband’s lack of willpower.In a clever visual sleight of hand, Virginie Viard winks at the film’s poster, which shows Bardot lying on the roof of the villa in a pink bikini, just before a furious jealousy scene, but where beauty proves fatal in Godard’s film, it becomes carefree and mysterious in the hands of Chanel’s artistic director.In the spring, Europe’s major fashion capitals – Florence, London, Milan and Paris – all cancelled their Fashion Weeks and have since resurrected their seasons in a new format, and are now planning digital presentations over the next six weeks. The next step – virtual and online – will take place next weekend, for the first London Fashion Week Digital, spread over three days starting Saturday, June 13.

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