Chanel’s 2021 resort collection hits the digital runway during lockdown

The powerhouse International designer, Chanel unveils its new cruise collection 20/21 without a runway show for the first time in its fashion history.

Chanel is known for its runway flamboyance,  flying well-heeled guests to far-flung destinations such as Cuba and Seoul,  for its storied sets in which airplanes, supermarkets and even an activated rocket ship has been recreated.

Image Courtesy Chanel

However, this year, the plan of the luxury label’s Cruise 2021 collection, was to showcase  the collection in Capri May 7.

But with most of the world on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the French house

cancelled the show and instead opted for a virtual event that was unveiled on 8th May in Paris.

Named “Balade en Méditerranée (a trip around the Mediterranean),” the show went on — but without its signature IRL flair. No runway cameos from Pharrell, no tweed-clad catwalk crashers, no front-row only seats so that all guests could catch close-up glimpses at those signature quilted purses.

Instead there were photos of 51 looks, all with a view to traveling with “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels,” said Virginie Viard, the director of Chanel.

Shot against a backdrop inspired by the Mediterranean, the clothes are easy, effortless and multi-purpose: off-shoulder tops paired with high-waisted jeans, slouchy sweaters styled over hot pants and bra tops (said sweaters can be subbed with a sheer, black chiffon dress for night), long skirts that can be pulled up, transforming into a strapless dress.

Signature tweeds have been coolly remixed into matching crop tops and pants, or a bright pink skirt suit styled with a sequined bikini top underneath. Some of the looks have been accessorized with unsold items from the spring 2020 collection — a move almost unheard of for a brand so deeply rooted in its ways.

Image Courtesy Chanel

Viard is slowly moving the brand in a quieter direction. Gone are the playful, beach ball-shaped purses dreamed up by her predecessor Karl Lagerfeld, who was Chanel’s creative director for over 35 years until his death in 2019. But with the state of the world, simplicity — and the quiet beauty that comes with it — might be just what we need amid so much uncertainty.

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