Balade en Méditerranée – "A Trip Around the Mediterranean." That was the initial concept for Artistic Director Virginie Viard's original direction for the Chanel 2020/21 Cruise Collection that was set to be presented in Capri. Yet with the realities of a global pandemic looming, the designer had to make several changes to a collection that traditionally marks the beginning of summer for the fashion world.

When reflecting on producing a collection in the midst of a quarantine, Viard shared, "We had to adapt: 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.” The 51 looks produced for this cruise collection, in comparison to the 90 plus looks shown by Karl Lagerfeld in years past, is just one reason the esteemed fashion house considers this collection to be one of “refined simplicity.”

The collection offers a new sense of versatility and practicality, as key pieces are intended to not only transition from day to night, but to have multiple uses and styling options. Each of these looks are meant to go together perfectly, as if part of a travelling wardrobe that can be packed up and unpacked easily. Some of the clothes can even be transformed, per the collection notes. Skirts are strapless dresses, jackets in black chiffon can be worn over swim for day, or with a bandeau and jeans for night. "And if worn over bare skin, it becomes a déshabillé,” adds Viard.

Wide-leg trousers, soft denim, halter tops and cut-out bodysuits are paired with the year-round Chanel mainstays like bouclé, tweed, and suiting, and each embrace movement and ease with loose and simple silhouettes. During unprecedented times, the French fashion maison has managed to share a new vision for the future of Chanel, even if we all weren't there to see it walk the runway on the island of Capri.