Chanel unveils its Cruise Collection 2020/21 inspired by the Italian and French Riviera with a 7-minute short film, available for viewing on the official website.
A few days before the online debut, the French Maison had released a Youtube teaser video that anticipated the collection. The teaser, shot by Massimiliano Bomba, offered clues to the inspiration, colors and atmosphere of the new collection. The sound of the waves on the rocks, the song of birds, the wind among the flowers and Casa Malaparte illuminated by the sun.
The iconic villa was the setting for “Il Disprezzo”, the 1963 film by Jean-Luc Godard. The movie was inspired by the novel written by Moravia and saw starring Brigitte Bardot alongside Michel Piccoli. Karl loved the film, and in 1997 he made a five-day trip to the island of Capri and immortalized the villa with his shots. The references to the memories of Karl and to the icons of 60s cinema are clear.
With this introduction, the Cruise Collection looks like a daydream, complete stranger to the events of the past few months. The short film, directed by Julien Pujol, see the models showing off their clothes against the backdrop of the Mediterranean coast. The video was obviously shot in a studio in Paris, perhaps due to the recent limitations imposed by the pandemic. Then, the details of the Riviera were added. Indeed, you can see the Gulf of Naples and the villa of Emperor Tiberius in the background.
The models are then virtually transported to a luxury terrace or along the shore on the beach, in what has all the air of being a “Journey on the Mediterranean”, in French Balade en Méditerranée, which is the title of the cruise.
The lookbook, shot by photographer Karim Sadli, allows us to tighten the lens on the clothes. Each piece produced has Chanel’s signature in every detail. Elegance meets the bold and sparkling spirit of youth: open bolero jackets combined with sequin beachwear, black chiffon dresses, and brightly colored skirts that recall the color of bougainvillea flowers. There are also bell-bottom jeans with embroidered flowers that recall the coordinated top with ruffle sleeves. The inspiration from the 60s divas does not end here: to enrich the summer atmosphere on the Mediterranean coast there are mini or quilted handbags in denim or raffia, gritty chain belts with crystals tied at the waist and the unmissable earrings with pearls CC.
In Suzy Menkes’ article for British Vogue, Viard talked about the inspiration behind the collection, underlining that the light mood that transpired did not want to overlook the current situation: “I didn’t want Cruise to be the opposite of the current [coronavirus] situation, [but also] not something too sad, that is not the essence of Chanel. For me, Chanel is a treasure, a refuge that looks after you and does you good, like life itself “.
Moreover, the length of the video makes up for the lack of a physical fashion show, previously scheduled for May 7, and then canceled following the new health regulations. Indeed, the leaders of the Fashion Weeks have announced the arrival of digital fashion shows. In any case, the cruise collection will be available in Chanel boutiques from November 2020. It, therefore, seems that the pandemic will not hinder the intentions of the French Maison, nor the latest statements from the world of fashion that announce a change across the board, to start with the number of collections to be produced. The Chanel led by Virginie Viard remains firmly in the six collections a year: two Haute Couture, two Prêt-à-porter, the Métiers d’Art, and the Cruise.
A choice that surely could be discussed, as well as the whole Balade en Méditerranée campaign, whose setting so refined and far from the current summer situation that lies ahead, certainly makes you dream, but perhaps also think of the Maison’s communication strategy. Chanel remains an eternal rebel, just like Coco was.