Making fashion history, Chanel launched its latest collection in a digital-only presentation on June 8. Titled ‘Balade en Méditerranée’ (A trip around the Mediterranean), the Cruise 2020/21 collection was initially intended to be presented in Capri, Italy as a traditional runway show. Due to growing concerns of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy and the rest of the world, the highly-awaited show had to be called off.
“Initially I had Capri in mind, where the show was supposed to take place, but didn’t happen in the end because of lockdown,” said creative director Virginie Viard of the presentation. “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.”
Exuding to notions of carefree days spent in the sun, there was a fresh and youthful mood to the collection. Perhaps as a message of hope, ‘Balade en Méditerranée’ is made for the vacation we have all been dreaming of. For the jet-setting modest Arab woman, the collection offered a remarkable choice of long-sleeved options ideal for layering as well as its signature tweed jackets and wide-legged trousers. According to Viard, the collection was conceived to travel light with “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels, a shopper and an embroidered handbag”.
It is worth appreciating the way the luxury label managed to bring the Mediterranean summertime magic to a studio in Paris —where models were shot by photographer Karim Sadli — at a time when things are certainly difficult. This isn’t to say that Chanel had not been affected by the pandemic; it had halted production for the longest period before it directed factories to manufacture protective equipment instead. And now, pushing through further as a testament to the fashion industry’s strength as a whole, the French label successfully presented it’s Cruise 2020/21 collection digitally.
However, the label hopes to return to traditional runway shows by the end of this year. “I hope we can return to the runway in October,” shared Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS with WWD. “Whether it’s behind closed doors or with a small audience. A fashion show is still the best way to narrate a collection, and it’s very important for us in stores afterwards, because it’s the beginning of the story.”