Cover Photo: Chanel

For her new collection, Chanel designer Virginie Viard marries Monte Carlo glamour with the sporty style of the Formula 1 world

Kicking off the Cruise 2023 fashion show circuit, Chanel made its return to the runway at Monte-Carlo Beach, the lavish hotel at the heart of Monaco. There, guests like Kristen Stewart, Tilda Swinton and Bigbang’s G-Dragon sat on a front row of lounge chairs to take in the sun, the sand, the sea—and the stylish clothes, of course.

In case you missed it: Watch: Chanel Heads to Monte-Carlo Beach, Monaco For Its Cruise 2023 Fashion Show

The choice of setting was deliberate. Although based in Paris, Chanel has always had strong ties to Monaco: Coco Chanel indulged herself in her extravagant La Pausa villa nearby, and Karl Lagerfeld similarly spent his summers at his La Vigie villa that served as the backdrop of several Chanel campaigns in the ‘90s.

Princess Caroline of Monaco and her daughter Charlotte Casiraghi, both descendants of the late Princess Grace Kelly, are also close to Chanel. The latter, who starred in the brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 campaign, was in fact the muse of the Cruise 2023 collection.

“To me, Monaco is a matter of feelings above all,” said Chanel designer Virginie Viard. “That’s Karl, Caroline, Charlotte.”

“From very early on, I knew we would hold a show there, and more precisely at the Beach Hotel. Besides, Karl was dreaming about it. From this magnificent venue, one can glimpse his villa, La Vigie. I will never forget the times I spent there: terraces and balconies, big umbrellas, baskets of flowers—so much beauty.”

Viard designed her collection to suit that breezy locale, picking up from the beachwear inspiration of Chanel’s Spring 2022 collection. She offered striped shirt-dresses, jumpsuits lined with terrycloth, and swimsuits tucked into summery shorts or peeking out from flowing, draped dresses. These relaxed pieces were elevated with sequin embroidery or beautiful floral embellishments.

Read more: Chanel Brings ’80s Glamour to Modern Beachwear for Spring 2022

Aside from its beachside beauty, Monaco is also known for the glamorous lifestyle it offers, courtesy of its casinos and car races.

The latter was reflected in the sporty clothes that came down the runway, evoking images of the upcoming Formula 1 races: racer jumpsuits crafted from silk and tweed in grid-like patterns; biker jackets dyed in blazing Ferrari red; chiffon blouses and skirts covered in the black-and-white check of racing flags; and jackets and caps embellished with race car motifs and Team Chanel badges. Models even carried bags shaped like a driver’s helmets, emblazoned with Chanel’s lucky number: 5.

“Monaco is inherent to the history of Chanel,” said Viard. “We have lived so many happy moments there.”

With her new collection, the Chanel designer captures the essence of the glitzy city that means so much to the French fashion house. And she also succeeds in doing what Chanel Cruise shows do best: transporting its audience to a fantasy through fashion.

Below, we spotlight the most unforgettable looks from the fashion show.

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