A deserted sun-kissed beach, the warm, salty sea air, the shaded alleys of a little southern town, and two women, alone and aloof. For the CHANEL 2016/17 Cruise Collection shown in Cuba in May 2016, Karl Lagerfeld has photographed Scottish model Stella Tennant, a loyal friend of the House, and the Argentinian model Mica Arganaraz beneath the light and warmth of summer. In a nonchalant ambiance, the two heroines delight in their blissful liberty as a soft sensuality breezes over these colours and monochrome images.
It’s a boyish aesthetic for Stella Tennant who wears a masculine-cut jacket and shirt pulled in with a wide belt over turned-up trousers in ivory with black pinstripes. For the evening version a fitted spencer jacket and tie frame the extravagant volumes of an immaculate tiered petticoat re-embroidered with stylised camellias by Lesage. Slightly tilted over the face, the Panama hat revisited by the Maison Michel imbues her look with a hint of gangster. The two-tone derbies worn for both night and day, with trousers, full skirt or flared pencil skirt, emancipate the silhouette and liberate movement.
The colours, inspired by the vibrant facades of Havana, play around with the great CHANEL classics. The jacket is embellished with a multi-colour braid, the tweed of a generously fringed midi skirt worn with a “Coco libre” t-shirt, marries black and ivory with the tropical exuberance of turquoise. A smokier palette of tobacco and khaki adorns a dress in crochet knit that hugs the contours of the body, a masculine-feminine jacket and a military-inspired jacket worn over a gold and black bikini.
Under the hot southern sun, sequins with their festive insolence scintillate over a black beret – a playful nod to Che – an evening dress with whimsical balloon sleeves swollen with fringes and feathers, but also, on Mica, a mischievous fanny pack worn over the shoulder, a sunshine yellow dress and a sweater re-embroidered with green, blue and red plant motifs. We see the emblematic pearls and camellias on sautoirs worn around the neck and the waist, while XXL hoop earrings light up Mica’s face with a sensual and youthful energy.
Bathed in light, sunshine and rendered sublime by Karl Lagerfeld’s camera, these silhouettes celebrate both an assumed ultra-femininity and the raffish insouciance of a tomboy allure.
Parisian, contemporary and open to global influences, the 2016/17 Cruise Collection is a joyous and virtuoso tribute to the spirit and the know-how of the House of CHANEL.