Chanel Cruise 2021/22 Collection Is a Study in Contrasts

Chanel Cruise 2021/22 Collection Is a Study in Contrasts

Chanel Cruise 2021/22 Collection Is a Study in Contrasts

The collection plays with shadow and light, inspired by the graphic artistry of filmmaker Jean Cocteau.

The collection plays with shadow and light, inspired by the graphic artistry of filmmaker Jean Cocteau.

Text: Siena Ballotta Garman

When designing the Chanel Cruise 2021/22 collection, creative director Virginie Viard reflected on the French cultural icon Jean Cocteau – filmmaker, writer, and friend of Coco Chanel's. The new collection and accompanying virtual show draw on Cocteau's film Testament of Orpheus. Viard referenced a scene in which "a man with a black horse's head descends into the Carrières de Lumières, his silhouette cut out against the very white walls." It was only natural that the resulting fashion show should take place in the Carrières de Lumières as well. The art center and former quarry forms a dramatic backdrop for the collection. Its dramatic architecture produces an interplay of light and shadow that is reflected on the clothing itself.

Several black-and-white looks make the focus on contrast explicit, but it's also evident in the varied materials at play. Neatly tailored blazers meet tweed textures and fringe that cast their own shadows across the garments. Yet, the collection is impressively coherent, and uniting motifs include modern graphic prints and line-drawn doves. These doves made a moving appearance in the show's finale, as models released them into the sky above.

Some of the clothing is gamine and elongated – there's a perfect set of overalls that comes to mind – but other pieces feature puffed sleeves and delicate modernizing cutouts. Allover prints add a mod '60s touch, and bold graphic tees nod to rock and roll. Floral designs welcome spring; paired with fishnets and chokers, they take on a darker tone. The whole collection strikes a careful balance of light and dark. The film sometimes cuts to a darkened set, illuminated by glowing stars projected on the walls of the Carrières de Lumières – which is loosely translated as "Quarry of Light."

A series of black-and-white photos by Inez & Vinoodh – the photography duo who worked on our Chanel Book – captures six outfits in another special setting: Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's apartment, where she gathered her visual inspiration and hosted Jean Cocteau, along with other distinguished guests.

The full show (below) is a breathtaking display of sunshine, shadow, and impeccable style.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Chanel

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