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Denim Has a Starring Role in Chanel’s ‘Travel Light’ Cruise Collection

Chanel created a virtual trip around the Mediterranean in a video presentation last week for its Cruise 20-21 collection. Though luxury vacations are not a reality for most as the pandemic has grounded travel, the collection called “Balade en Méditerranée” offers “travel light” pieces reminiscent of nostalgic images of getaways on Italy’s Isle of Capri.

Capri has been on the mind of Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard. The island was supposed to be the setting for the Chanel’s Cruise 20-21 runway show in May, which was cancelled due to the lockdown in Italy. Instead, the brand adapted its Capri concept by focusing on looks that represent a trip around the Mediterranean, using fabrics already on hand.

The result is an escapist collection that smacks of the free, laid-back allure inspired by the legendary actresses of the 1960s snapped holidaying on the Italian and the French Riviera, Viard said.

Pieces are based on “a wardrobe that can be carried in a little suitcase on wheels, a shopper and an embroidered handbag” and focus on easy-to-wear, versatile garments that can be worn all together or be transformed with accessories and a little imagination. Long skirts can be worn as a strapless dress; chiffon jackets can be worn as a beach cover-up.

“Bougainvillea pink illuminates suits in leather as supple as a second skin, and in tweed that’s been left unlined for more fluidity,” the brand describes.

Denim also plays a key role in the wearability of the collection and serves as a nod to the coastline’s blue waters. Vintage-wash flare jeans are exaggerated with printed side panels that boast Chanel’s signature camellia flower. Straight-fit jeans with crinkled surface details are accented with pink tweed pockets and belt loops. Capri jeans feature front patch pockets.

High-waisted flare ecru jeans are punched up with gold hardware. Front pocket lines feature stitching that replicates Chanel’s double C logo. The classic Chanel tweed suit is re-imagined the as a long-line denim cardigan and flare bottoms.

The collection also emphasizes belts and chain details as a key accessory for cruise. Though chain belts are a Chanel hallmark, the brand chose to style them higher on the waist—often above the jeans—or layered for effect.