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A photograph of the Brazilian model Mica Argañaraz wearing a vivid pink tweed jacket and tiered skirt with a sequined bikini bra top and a thin metal belt – a bare midriff look that was a key silhouette from the Chanel Métier d’Arts show in Paris last December at the Grand Palais – was one of several teasers that included several short videos of waves hitting the rocks released a few days prior as a preview of the much-anticipated digital presentation of the Chanel 2020-21 cruise collection via Instagram. Just past 6 a.m. Monday in New York or moments after noon time in Paris, pictures of the collection photographed in Paris last week with backdrops of the seaside to reflect the resort theme of holiday travel to the French and Italian Riviera as seen from pictures of actresses from the 1960s, flooded Chanel’s digital platforms in the first of its kind presentation for the house.  

“Initially I had Capri in mind where the show was supposed to take place but [it] didn’t happen in the end because of the lockdown. So, we had to adapt. Not only did we decide to use fabrics we already had, but the collection, more generally, evolved towards a trip around the Mediterranean, the islands, the scent of the eucalyptus and the pink shades of the bougainvillea,” said Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, via press notes sent immediately following the online live viewing. Because of the closure of the factories, reusing existing fabrics and materials facilitated not only making the collection in a short time span and the production for store deliveries in late November but also aligned with Chanel’s commitment to sustainability in value and practice.   

The 51 looks collection in shades of pink and white classic jackets and loose pants for day wear, and black for streamlined evening light dresses are a positive reaffirmation of the brand’s signature looks and products. The looks conveyed the more casual and relaxed atmosphere of cruise clothes that focused more on making clothes that have longevity and can mix in with any existing wardrobe. Among the standouts were the white safari jacket tied at the waist with matching flare pants, the light pink, silk, short-sleeve, patch-pocket jacket with tailored cigarette shorts, and a long black coat with silver buttoning with a cropped top and hot shorts. Denim patch pocket capri shorts jeans paired with a simple white turtleneck, logo sliders as the footwear of choice and smaller bags capped off the low-key approach. A crisp ice-blue leather 2.55 bag will sure spark consumer demand, especially among the brand’s younger crowd.  

As the image and video montage came alive online, my first impression was that this digital presentation of the collection was a success. Background moods – the orange lighting at sunset, the waves of the ocean background, and the old concrete railings of a villa terrace overlooking the sea – gave the requisite “live” dimensions and ambiance to the digital show from a major luxury fashion house. However, there is no doubt that an actual live fashion show with models walking at the seaside resort town is preferable to an alternate reality of visuals that provided an approximation of the real thing. Chanel’s pledge for live fashion show bodes well for the future of shows however, the formats will be despite calls for changing the seasonal calendar. 


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