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See All The Looks From Virginie Viard's Cruise 2021 Collection For Chanel

For her second Cruise collection since taking over the reins as artistic director of fashion collections, Virginie Viard dreams up a collection that's about building a practical wardrobe around youthful irreverence and deshabille chic.

Embellished bikini tops are layered with the maison’s iconic tweed suits and gypsy skirts. Photo: Karim Sadli

At a time when fashion houses are finding themselves at an existential moment when it comes to the state and future of a fashion calendar and the relevance of a fashion show, Chanel’s ship is par for the course. Earlier today, the French maison dropped a release to showcase its latest Cruise 2021 collection by the artistic director of fashion collections, Virginie Viard, proving that for now, everything is status quo for the fashion behemoth.

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Originally planned to take place in the Mediterranean isle of Capri, the show was meant to be a big homecoming party for Viard had it not been shut down due to the lockdown brought upon by the coronavirus pandemic. For one, it would be her first show staged walls of Paris’ Grand Palais. Also, the show would have marked a year since Viard showed her first collection in May 2019 since she took over the reins after Karl Lagerfeld’s passing.

The fresh and youthful collection speaks to Virginie Viard’s approach to ready-to-wear. Photo: Karim Sadli

With disruptions to the production chain and the show production, the team “had to adapt” stated Viard in a press statement. “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.”

What that means is a Chanel outing that’s quintessentially Viard – fresh, youthfully irreverent, unfussy and made for the modern-day Chanel customer. Of course, with this being the Cruise collection, the transeasonal element of the clothes was not neglected. In fact, the clothes are purposefully designed to be lightweight, travel-friendly, and multifunctional, or as Viard described it, “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels, a shopper and an embroidered handbag”.

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The pragmatic design philosophy is evident in the way the designs are primed for layering and made to be taken apart – think long skirts that can be transformed into vacay- and tropical weather-appropriate strapless dresses when they are pulled up; and sheer lamé dresses that can be untied and thrown over shorts, denim capris, and flare pants. Sensible footwear like espadrilles, slides and flats anchor the collection.

The 51-look collection is meant to be part of “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels, a shopper and an embroidered handbag”. Photo: Karim Sadli

Two key items in the collection are the heavily-embellished bikini tops and bandeaus which hark back to the halcyon days of youth of the ’60s-era Capri crowd. Here, they are worn with the maison’s iconic tweed skirt suit and gypsy skirts for a new proposition to cocktail dressing that comes with a dash of deshabille chic. Swipe above for a full look at the 51-look collection.