CHANEL: CRUISE 2023
Has there ever been a more relaxed Chanel front row? Guests reclined on sun loungers in beach cabanas for the house’s Cruise show, held on the shingle of the Monte Carlo beach club. Monaco has always had a special place in Chanel’s heart. Coco Chanel one of her first boutique here in 1913 and made it her playground in the 1920s, building a villa at nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. She met her lover the Duke of Westminster in Monte Carlo and honed her own version of riviera chic at the Beach Club, which was built in 1928. Its culture of water sports and sunbathing inspired the elegant modernity of her aesthetic. Karl Lagerfeld also lived in Monaco, and counted Caroline of Monaco as a friend and muse. Virginie Viard holds the place dear. “I will never forget the times I spent there,” she said of Lagerfeld’s Villa Vigie, perched above the show venue and the setting for the post-show dinner. Viard recalled “the terraces and balconies, big umbrellas, baskets of flowers – so much beauty.”
Her collection paid homage to Monegasque style, opening with models wearing racing driver onesies in the red and white of the principality’s flag. They came in glittering tweeds and sequins and were worn with No5 baseball caps adorned with the black and white checks of the finish-line flag. The sporty theme continued with tennis looks complete with covetable leather racquet holders and trainers, whilst a fruit machine chain bag winked at sport of a different nature – the principality’s casino culture.
Viard also paid homage to the glamour of Monaco’s royals, particularly Caroline and her daughter Charlotte who have a close relationship with the house. “The first time I saw Caroline was on the beach in Monaco. She was wearing a draped black dress, very thin tights and heels,” recalled Viard, who paid tribute to the rebellious royal with abbreviated cocktail looks worn with tights. She even sent out models wearing sheer black tights and swimsuits – a reference to Helmut Newton’s racy Monaco aesthetic. This is a place where high glamour and high rollers are baked in the DNA, but it also has that breezy, riviera sense of ease, which is extra appealing in these anxious times. Viard’s Chanel girls know the score. Nonchalance 5, nerves nil.
Photography courtesy of Chanel.