Chanel Cruise: California Dreamin’ in Paramount Studios
The abundant and eternal optimism of California wafted through almost every look in Chanel’s latest cruise collection presented on a chilly Tuesday, inside the modern movie mecca, Paramount Picture Studios.
An active sport, beach blanket babe inspired collection, that was nevertheless a great expression of modern movie star liberated chic, shown before a gal pack of award winning actresses.
“California and America, from Jane Fonda to Cindy Crawford,” smiled Viard, who took her bow in silver sequined track pants.
The set was a cunning mixture of several American sports. An enormous roller-skating rink court, though of course in black and white. At its center, a giant double CC logo; at its ends two huge Chanels. On its stands were electronic basketball score boards, with Paris locked in battle with Los Angeles at 23-24.
An opening quartet of running shorts, sporty bras and swimsuits worn by fit models, with big flowing Barbie hair, bobby sox and platform sneakers. Lots of glittering metallic and sequin skirts and cocktails, worn with shorter and narrower classic bouclé jackets in sherbet hues. The biggest single color was pink.
Viard also played on lots of deft of hand visual puns, like the CC logo skateboards and the Number Five white boarder crop top. All backed up by snippets of movie soundtracks. In an audible pun, it included Restless by Abel Korzeniowski from Nocturnal Animals, the neo-noir thriller directed by former designer Tom Ford.
A brilliantly realized production courtesy of producer Keith Baptista, where the backdrop was a giant screen alternatively projecting sunset and nighttime images of downtown LA, or graphic black and white videos of Chanel gals amid boulevards lined with palm and magnolia trees.
Some 900 guest perched on ergonomic bleacher seats, entering between two sets of protestors. Several score of die-hard G-Dragon and K Pop fans, several tearful on one side. On the other, members of the Writers Guild of America giving out handbills demanding a “fair deal… and residuals for the content they create.” And, we thought it was only the French who go on strike.
Inside, K Pop stars extolled how much they “simply loved” the collection, one attired in a wool bouclé, embroidered bien sur with white camellias, loosely tied red silk tie and Lina Wertmuller worthy white shades worn backwards on his head.
Though, the most intense paparazzi play was over Margot Robbie, in high-waisted Chanel denim flares, skimpy golden gilet made of faux gold watches, medals and coins and flat as a pancake abs. Embracing the chicest dresser of the evening, Rose Byrne in a black turtleneck and silvery anthracite tulle skirt.
Sitting not far from Elle Fanning in a silver jacquard waistcoat; newlywed Sofia Richie, in a white bouclé blazer and hot-pants; and Kristen Stewart in broken pattern check pants suits.
Post-show, Snoop Dogg played a great set of his classics, doing his own DJing, before being joined in a couple of duets by Bruno Mars. Performing behind a white racing fence, like those at the nearby Santa Anita racetrack. Though the cold unseasonable weather meant the crowd exited early for a Chanel soirée. But at least all the rain has left the city verdant, trees burgeoning and birds singing.
Few designers love their models more than Virginie Viard. She even listed the name of each model as they appeared on the LED screens, all the way to the final look, where she wished Happy Birthday Vivienne Rohner! Viard is like the very cool big sister every gal dreams of having.
One of her inspirations, the cinema of Agnès Varda. Sometimes described as the Mother of the La Nouvelle Vague, the groundbreaking cinematic movement. The first female to win an honorary Oscar, Varda actually shot five significant films in California, back in the 70s and late 80s when optimism reigned supreme on the West Coast.
Ranging from Black Panthers, a remarkable documentary on the revolutionary movement with firebrand speeches and impassioned oratory by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, to the beautifully filmed documentary Uncle Yanco, about a rediscovered uncle who lives and paints in the alternative boho paradise of the Sausalito houseboat community. To Murs Murs, a loving reportage of wall murals in Los Angeles.
And there was a whiff of Venice Beach murals in the magnificent mashup tropical flower print matching shirt and harem pants. Or of Uncle Yanco in a witty color chart lace 60s cocktail dress; or high-color logo tube dresses and shaggy tops.
From Sausalito chic to Melrose Avenue mode, a homage to California, and an almost effortless triumph for Viard, and Chanel.
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