Embodying the feelings of wanderlust many of us are currently experiencing, Chanel’s Cruise 2020/21 collection is an indulgent escape into the joie de vivre that often encompasses summer travels, if only momentarily. For the first time in the maison’s lauded history, Chanel unveiled a digital-only presentation for its latest Cruise collection titled ‘Balade en Méditerranée’ (A trip around the Mediterranean) on June 8.
Foregoing the originally planned runway show in Capri for a wholly virtual experience in light of the ongoing pandemic, Chanel still managed to successfully transport viewers to the charismatic heart of the Mediterranean from behind a screen. Each photographed ensemble was imbued with the essence of escapism. Embellished swimsuit tops and flowing silhouettes punctuated by gold chains appeared as the heroes of the collection while reimagined heritage pieces of trademark tweed jackets and quilted handbags epitomized the allure of the Italian and French Riviera in true Chanel fashion. Championing the exquisite craftsmanship of Chanel’s famed Ateliers as well as the label’s expertise in the intricacies of layering, Cruise 2020/21 reinterpreted casual standalone pieces into glamorous eveningwear for an ideal summer getaway wardrobe.
In an exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia, Chanel creative director Virginie Viard reveals the inspiration behind her second Cruise collection and how she adapted to unforeseen circumstances to create this history-making presentation while we await its highly-anticipated release in boutiques this November.
What was your overarching inspiration behind this collection?
The inspiration behind this collection is the Mediterranean, the South, and what we take with us when we travel. We don’t need that much. The most important thing is to feel good.
How did Covid-19 and the pursuant lockdown affect the creation of Chanel Cruise 2020/21?
I was about to go on holiday when lockdown was announced. I’d just discussed my ideas for the Cruise collection with my team. From then on, we had to adapt. We decided to use what we already had. So we used fabrics that we had in stock; I had jeans made with pockets and appliqués in tweed, that can be worn with suit jackets from previous seasons.
How would you describe the spirit of this collection?
What is important with this collection is the fluidity of movement: when you climb aboard a boat, or when you access a secret beach, it needs to be easy.
In which ways did the art of layering play a role in creating outfits steeped in such subtle sophistication?
There are swimsuits for the evening, swimsuits embroidered with sequins, to be worn under a black chiffon jacket. Long jackets to wear in the plane or on the train, something slightly masculine yet sophisticated. I don’t like ostentation.
Chanel Cruise is renowned for its transformative day-to-night approach. How did the outfits this season encapsulate this chic versatility?
We created outfits that are both casual and refined, like these kimonos, these transparent suits, these chiffon jackets that can be slipped over a swimsuit at the beach, or worn over jeans to go out in the evening…Everything can be worn in different ways.
What imagery was running through your mind when designing this collection?
I was thinking of the summer, the scent of the eucalyptus, holidays, of Porquerolles, the islands, a beautiful pair of sunglasses, an embroidered swimsuit, a pair of shorts in crêpe worn under a chiffon jacket.