Chanel’s latest collection captures the essence of fresh French chic, evoking images of leisurely days in Provence, relaxed beachside lunches, and stylish shopping excursions in St. Tropez.
At the heart of this collection is the iconic Villa de Noailles in Hyères, renowned for its modernist architecture and beloved by the fashion elite. This historic location, where artists, filmmakers, and writers found inspiration in the 1920s, marked a significant moment when sports gained popularity among the public and intellectuals.
The result is a collection that exudes a vibrant and carefree summer spirit, offering easy-to-wear pieces designed to subtly appeal to a younger audience.
Setting the stage, the invitation, captured by Inez & Vinoodh, features Dutch model Rianne Van Rompaey against one of the villa’s windows, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Shot in May, Rianne dons a black swimsuit, symbolizing the anticipation of the collection yet to come.
The actual show unfolds against the same picturesque backdrop, enhanced with oversized flowers and petals, inside the Grand Palais Ephemère.
Models grace the all-black runway in sophisticated yet bohemian plissé dresses and blouses, effortlessly paired with plaid blazers. Light bouclé caftans provide ease and comfort, while clever culottes and shorts pair flawlessly with crystal-embroidered tops. The collection introduces aged denim jeans and tunics, a novelty for Chanel, adorned with pearly belts. A standout feature is the asymmetrically wrapped bouclé skirts, with one side subtly lower than the other.
Practically every model sports flats, from diamante slippers to logo flip flops and pearl-encrusted shoes with black ribbon bows. Eveningwear takes a daring turn with a series of beautiful black chiffon negligée dresses, paired with high-heeled knee boots in varying lengths, from mid-thigh to just above the knee.
The collection takes a psychedelic turn with whimsical floral patterns adorning pant suits, blazers, and plissé skirts, reminiscent of the carefree spirit of Villa de Noailles in its heyday, where luminaries like Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, Piet Mondrian, and Giacometti gathered for intellectual amusement.
Backstage, Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, shares her inspiration: «What I like about the villa is that it is not a huge monument, but an intimate place, where you sense a certain magic.» The collection receives praise from celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Usher, Nicky, and Paris Hilton, making it a standout finale for Paris Fashion Week.
While Coco Chanel’s connection with Marie-Laure de Noailles remains somewhat enigmatic, a photograph of them at a black-tie soirée reflects Coco’s radiant presence in a small bonnet hat.
Today, the villa serves as a contemporary art center and hosts the prestigious Hyères Festival, a sought-after prize for young designers in European fashion, strongly supported by Chanel.
In Viard’s words, «Above all, I wanted a sense of fun and ease about this collection, drifting from beach to café, enjoying life.» Her final bow features black anthracite bouclé trousers and a black T-shirt with a touch of irony, reading «Hectic Glamour.»