Chanel usually takes its fashion-loving audiences to faraway destinations for its Cruise fashion shows — but this year, the escapism has gone digital only. Brands big and small have taken new approaches to debuting collections as restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic continue, and for Chanel’s Cruise 2021 collection — which was originally planned to debut in Capri, Italy this May — the French fashion house instead brought the coast to the computer screens of its followers.
While brands are still settling into tech-friendly fashion presentations, testing live-streamed fashion shows and Instagram press rooms, they're also finding ways to adapt to changed working conditions that make production a challenge. “We had to adapt,” Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, said in a statement. “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 collection, titled “Balade en Mediterranée” — which translates to “A trip around the Mediterranean” — is inspired by the iconic actors who would travel to the Italian and French Riviera in the 1960s. This sense of relaxed glamour comes through clearly in the collection’s versatile, easy-to-wear designs that can quickly transform depending on how they’re worn. Such pieces include long skirts that can be styled as strapless dresses and chiffon jackets to wear over a bikini or top and jeans.
The versatility of the collection also nods to the idea of packing light. For Balade en Mediterranée, Chanel has created what they consider a a capsule wardrobe that can be stuff in a carry-on suitcase or tote. This refined simplicity carries on the attitude that Viard has brought to the label since she took the helm last year. While much of the 51-look collection feels understated, there are also pieces made to stand out. Think sequin-laden swimwear, vibrant pink tweed jackets and skirts, bold striped cardigans, and colorful accessories.
While the idea of jetting off to a new and exotic location may not be on the table for the foreseeable future, Chanel’s cruise collection offers some inspiration to hang onto as you wait for the day when you can begin to think about travel again.