As Major Cities Around The World Reopen, Chanel Is Eager to Resume Business As Usual

The announcement came with Cruise 2020/21 collection that the brand presented online.

While some brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent are starting to question the traditional fashion week calendar in light of global coronavirus pandemic, Chanel has a different approach to the matter in question. With its barely-there e-commerce strategy, the brand that has been hit hard by the closure of its brick-and-mortar locations around the world and is eager to resume operations and go back to the normal pace of collections and runway shows as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“We prefer to have six more focused collections rather than two endless collections,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS, in his interview with WWD. “We chose this rhythm and we like it, and we believe it’s what our customers want to see in our stores. So we are sticking to this schedule, and in parallel, the fashion show remains the best way to express the brand’s creativity and know-how,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the renowned luxury label has unveiled its Cruise 2020/21 collection in a lookbook and video that went live on Chanel’s website and social media platforms on Monday, June 8. “This is really the first time at Chanel that we’re showing a collection without a runway show,” Pavlovsky added. “We’re trying to compensate for this, in a different format of course, with this presentation.”

“Initially I had Capri in mind, where the show was supposed to take place but didn’t happen in the end because of lockdown,” the House’s creative director Virginie Viard said of the collection. “So 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.”

Next up for Chanel is a digital version of Paris Couture Week that is set to take place on July 7. With store closures still in effect in countries like the U.K. and U.S., the company made a decision to keep its spring range on racks for longer than usual, while the launch of its Métiers d’Art line rescheduled from May to early July. Consequently, the pre-fall collection presented to Chanel store buyers in early February will be delivered from mid-July until September.

Starting with the aforementioned cruise line, which will arrive in stores on November 15, Chanel is determined to make a return to ‘business as usual.’ “This cruise collection has been a way to get everyone back into the life of the company, and we will continue with couture,” Pavlovsky explained. “I was with Virginie [last week] when she brought the first 25 sketches to the heads of the couture workshops, and I can tell you, everyone was smiling from ear to ear. Life goes on.”

However, Virginie Viard has admitted that going forward, all of the runway shows will take place on a smaller scale — no more space rockets, waterfalls and real-life icebergs we saw in Grand Palais during the Karl Lagerfeld era. “It will necessarily be on a smaller scale,” Viard said. “It was great with Karl – it was an extraordinary period, but now it no longer makes sense. But I do want to go back to fashion shows. It’s such fun. At the end of the day, fashion is about fun: the models, the fittings, all of that will be back as soon as they can travel again.”

Discover More