Coco Chanel might not have had the pleasure of experiencing Venice Beach and VHS workout tapes, but she always had a penchant for designing classy casual wear. Generally, Virginie Viard knows how to conduct that for the Chanel buyer. This time around, it got the California treatment.

Does the collection remind me of everything in LA? Yes, it does. I imagine it as a 20-something-year-old woman who wakes up and workouts to Jane Fonda’s videos, goes roller skating as she daydreams of landing a lead role in a Hollywood film, and then returns home to watch the 1976 series Charlie’s Angels. Is it an accurate storyline? I have no idea; I’ve never been to the States. Does the collection present a romanticized version of the city suited for the silver screen? It does. But that’s my bias, so I leave the rest to you.

The Soundtrack

The music selection for the show added an intriguing nuance to the presentation that perfectly reflected a more realistic image of Hollywood. From film scores like Basic Instinct and Chinatown’s love theme to Felix da Housecat’s upbeat tracks such as Madame Hollywood and Silver Screen, the music brought in the duality of LA as a city. The combination of sinister score music and funky house beats resulted in an engaging experience oscillating between two atmospheres.

The Set Design

The show was set in the heart of Hollywood at the Melrose Gate of Paramount Pictures Studios. The catwalk was a black-and-white rubber tile surface spelling out Chanel, resembling a roller skating field. The electronic scoreboards at both ends of the plaza added to the overall sporty aesthetic. Altogether, the set was playful and complimented the theme well without going overboard.

The Palette

The combination of blacks, beiges, and sunset blends effortlessly into each other. The black and beige act as a palette cleanser, while the sunset shades are a delicate statement. Overall, the colourway is versatile and works for any time of day, which is a great function for a cruise collection.

Tailoring & Details

Chanel has once again demonstrated tailoring excellency with their latest collection. This season’s styling choices were particularly impressive; as always, the cruise bags remain a crowd-pleaser.

Detours

While the collection is about the relaxed fit, some looks appear unflattering – the outfit is wearing the model instead of the other way around. Unfortunately, looks such as the dress featuring large, colourful text detract from the collection’s inherent playfulness. Additionally, the turquoise tones used in the collection are the least flattering, as they come off as too harsh. A more pastel shade would have been a better choice.

Notes on Codes

You can’t summon Chanel without some tweed and an iteration of the little black dress. Similarly to all her Chanel collections, Viard moulds the tweed within a range of casual to chic. Besides the apparent codes of the brand, Viard’s designs are heavily reminiscent of Coco’s – simple and refined silhouettes for the classy, modern woman. Does everyone agree that the modern woman wears Viard’s Chanel? Debatable, but the Chanel buyer does, and that’s what keeps it going.

KHAMSA’s Top Looks

Final Note

The overall show presents itself to be an appropriate one-stop destination for a mother-daughter pre-summer shopping spree. It’s like an assemblage of wearable trinkets suitable for all ages, but that’s its double effect. The majority of the collection is heavily carried by the cool, breezy Barbie and sunset aesthetic, yet still wobbles between youthful and kiddish. At times, it shies away from embracing the fun of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. That’s not to say I expect Moschino’s theatrics, but I would’ve hoped for more: at least some flirtation with bouncier hair, bold makeup, and a touch of attitude. Does Viard design youthful? Yes, she does – as seen at Chanel’s SS23 Couture. Could she have more fun doing it? I’m sure.

Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at rand@khamsa5.com or follow her on social media @rundoozz.
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