The Chanel cruise 2021 collection was originally intended to be shown on Capri, the mythically beautiful Italian island a ferry ride from Naples. It remains, however, a place that Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard still has yet to visit. Instead, as Viard explained from her desk in the Chanel atelier on the Rue Cambon, where I joined her for a “virtual accessorization” (the styling ritual just before the full looks are documented), she traveled there in her mind to create the collection that she calls Balade en Méditerranée [A Mediterranean Jaunt]. Meanwhile, photographer Karim Sadli, working with Viard’s sometime-muse, the uber cool model Mica Argañaraz, created the illusion of a Caprese sunset in Chanel’s Paris photo studio.
Viard spent lockdown in her French country house, a time, as she says, for “rest and family time,” that was no holiday. In addition to preparing this resort collection (which she had begun before lockdown), Viard was also working on a capsule haute couture offering, which will likewise be presented virtually. Viard returned to Paris and the Chanel studio on May 4, when the city partially reopened, but in the depths of the countryside she was thinking and dreaming, as she told me, about “summer in Capri—or the South of France,” and the kind of destination wardrobe of “easy clothes” that “a sophisticated but also cool girl would want to travel with.” Her proposal includes swimsuits to wear as bodies under cardigan jackets, wide-legged pants, or handkerchief-hemmed skirts, and no-nonsense iterations of the classic Chanel suit or saharienne jackets in cotton tweed.