The Chanel Cruise 2023 Collection was an Homage to Monaco and Karl Lagerfeld

What do you think when you hear Monaco? Virginie Viard thinks about the car races, the cassino and Chanel’s Spring 1991 campaign.  The designer also thinks about Helmut Newton’s muses and the many memories she made alongside the late Karl Lagerfeld in the principality.

These memories inspired Chanel’s Cruise 2023 collection. They helped create the prints in the clothes, the silhouettes, the fabrics used… They shaped everything about this collection.

The pieces included in the collection embodied contemporary glamour and beachside sophistication, with sportswear and classic silhouettes from the maison. Let’s break down what all this means:

The Location

The show took place in front of the beautiful sea of Côte d’Azur, at the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel. The luxury resort was first opened during the 1930s and, according to their website, “offers a modern experience combining the spirit of the Riviera’s golden era with the intimacy of a luxury resort”.

Basically, the view was incredible. And the backdrop matched the vibe of the collection.

The history of Chanel and its love for Monaco

Monaco was one of Coco Chanel’s favorite places on earth. Karl Lagerfeld also loved the principality, he had good friends in the region, and even kept two properties there: an apartment and a villa. It was in the villa that one of the most iconic Chanel campaigns were shot.

The Spring 1991 Campaign

Karl Largefeld leased a Belle Époque villa called La Vigie. He loved the location so much that he decided to shoot the now iconic Spring 1991 campaign there. He photographed Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista wearing sequined scuba jackets, bathing suits, bright colored shirts, classic Chanel jackets and matching LBDs.

Fast forward to the Cruise 2023 collection, there were a lot of sequins. They were in more neutral colors, but it is not every day you see someone wearing a sequined jacket or dress on the sand. Or sequined baseball caps (which were also available in tweed).

The Cassino

You probably already heard about Le Casino de Monte-Carlo. It is one of the most well-known landmarks from Monaco. For Viard, the cassino translated into gold tweed jackets and leather pants. There was also a varsity jacket in the metallic shade.

The Car Races

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous and prestigious Formula 1 races. It usually takes place between late May or early June. This was also the most evident inspiration for this collection. There were so many F1 symbols, the most noticeable being a helmet with the number 5 on the side.

Another obvious car race motif was the waving starter flag print. It appeared in jackets, and chiffon dresses.  There were also hair accessories, swimsuit and knit in the same black and white checked pattern from those flags.

The outfits that opened the show (which were also some of the most interesting ones), were mechanic overalls and jumpsuits that resembles the ones worn by the drivers. A less overt emblem was in the form of asphalt gray, a color that was highly present in this collection.

The Principality of Monaco

The Principality of Monaco itself was a big motif for this collection. From the beginning of the show, you could tell that red and white would be two prominent colors. That’s because they are the colors from the Monegasque flag.

The Bal de la Rose

Virginie Viard also has a lot of great memories from the principality. One of them was going to The Bal de la Rose alongside Karl Lagerfeld and Princesses Caroline and Charlotte of Monaco.

The ball was first established in 1954 by Princess Grace of Monaco, and it continues to take place every March at the glamorous Salle des Etoiles at the Sporting Monte-Carlo. Besides being a high-society event meant to create an aura of glamour, and exclusivity, the ball is also a fundraiser for the Princess Grace Foundation.

We can see a reflection of these memories on the beautiful floral embroideries by Lesage and Montex in some of the pieces. We can also identify it in the overall aura of glamour of this collection.

Helmut Newton and his Muses

Helmut Newton’s iconic images also influenced this collection. More specifically the way his muses were portrayed. They had a sexy attitude that was translated in mini skirts, shorts, and dresses. As well as in dresses that slouched and complimented the models’ bodies.


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