Although the CHANEL Resort Collection 2021 was supposed to be presented in magical Capri, the recent pandemic led to a total change of plans. The island’s glamor, natural beauty and mythical ambience were the elements, both visual and emotional, Virginie Viard thought would ideally contextualize the house’s new collection until covid-19 made it clear that no such production could realistically take place. However, the inspiration of CHANEL’s artistic director remained the same and generated a beautiful, effortlessly cool result, through a more esoteric and remote strategy and procedure.
Since the island of Capri was no longer an option, CHANEL’s Paris photo studio was transformed into a seductive illusion by photographer Karim Sadli, giving the impression of the actual location. In front of a virtual Capri scenery, the models showcased a series of subtly sophisticated clothes, emitting a feel of laid-back luxury and elevated casualness. Swimsuits, cardigan jackets, wide-legged pants, handkerchief-hemmed skirts, summery interpretations of the classic CHANEL suit, 70s denims with branded prints, vivid colors and a playful aesthetic formed a modern sort of wearable mood board that channels the timeless CHANEL legacy while giving it a new age touch.
Interestingly enough, the new collection was produced using pieces and accessories already in stores (!) as well as fabrics that were already in stock, a fact that results in an important sustainability statement. Come to think of it, style and elegance are more of an inspiration matter rather than a matter of maximalism and over the top consuming. Once more, CHANEL leads the way towards a new fashion culture.
To be creative means to be in touch with the arts. Knowingly or unknowingly, every creative person in history has had a special connection, or even some sort of subliminal relation with a certain artistic movement or one of its derivatives. The influence of art is a process that can happen in various ways and timelines and on different levels, giving the creative person everything they need to shape their own vision.
Gabrielle Chanel’s legendary affair with Russian composer Igor Stravinsky back in the 20s served as a milestone in Gabrielle’s life and career. Stravinsky’s stylistic transition from modernism to neo-classicism influenced Gabrielle in a manner that affected her creations too. Her friendship with Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso infused her view on style with elements deriving from the vast universe of surrealism and cubism, and led to fashion trends still relevant today (remember the striped blouses established by Coco and Pablo at the same time?). Meeting Jean Cocteau and Pierre Reverdy and developing a rather close relationship with them, gave Gabrielle’s body of work a poetic flair and reinforced her admiration for literature. Cocteau’s characterization of her work as “a kind of miracle” built “according to rules that would seem to have value only for painters, musicians, and poets” is an accurate depiction of the matter.
Gabrielle Chanel’s ingenious cultural diversity is the reason CHANEL evolved into the thriving empire it is today. Keeping an open mind to all means of inspiration is the key to timeless success.