Chanel’s cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille was ‘a breath of fresh air’

Chanel’s cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille was ‘a breath of fresh air’

With its gritty vibe and raw beauty, Marseille couldn’t be more different from fashionable and chic Paris, or pretty neighbours such as Cannes and Saint-Tropez. The port city on the Mediterranean coast of France was in the spotlight this week as the location of Chanel’s cruise 2024-25 show, which took place on a slightly chilly, wet and windy Thursday at the Cité Radieuse (Radiant City), a Unesco World Heritage site.
The Chanel cruise 2024-25 show embraced the grittiness of the Mediterranean city of Marseille. Photo: AP

Designed by Le Corbusier, the celebrated French modernist architect, and built between 1947 and 1952, the housing complex pioneered the idea of a vertical town to provide comfortable accommodation to its residents, with features such as a nursery school, a playground and a plenty of green space.

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“For the French, Marseille is the capital of the Mediterranean,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, in an interview before the show. “It’s the second biggest city [in France] and it’s so different from Paris – probably because of the sea, but also because of so many communities and cultures.

“The reason we came here is that we’re always trying to find what’s most appropriate for the brand and not just the unexpected, because it’s not just about that. There’s not direct link between Marseille and Mademoiselle Chanel. Marseille is all about this mix of people and communities and is very urban. Marseille is a city of paradoxes and a very vibrant city.”
Models present creations by Chanel on the roof of the Cité Radieuse building designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, in Marseille, France. Photo: AFP
As in previous destination shows – such as a memorable one held in Dakar, Senegal, in 2022 – Chanel engaged the local art community. In Marseille, the brand opened a temporary outpost of La Galerie du 19M within Mucem (Museum of Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean). La Galerie du 19M, which has a permanent location in Paris, showcases the works of artists who collaborate with Chanel’s Métiers d’Art – workshops such as embroiderer Maison Lesage and feather maker Maison Lemarié – to create pieces that often incorporate upcycled materials.

For the Marseille exhibition, Chanel worked with a series of creators hailing from countries such as Venezuela and Ivory Coast, some of them based in the French city.

A white dress paired with flip-flops at the Chanel cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille, France. Photo: AP

A long-time supporter of dance, Chanel also collaborated with the Ballet National de Marseille – and dancer and friend of the house, Marion Barbeau – for a short video directed by Ladj Ly filmed at city landmarks such as the Vieux Port and the Cité Radieuse.

The collection reflected the seaside vibe of Marseille with fish, nets and shell motifs drawn in a childlike pattern; prim-and-proper white lace dresses; and plenty of swimwear. The looks were worn with foam and terry-cloth platform flip-flops or patent leather men’s slippers.

A casual look with a hoodie at the Chanel cruise 2024-25 show, in Marseille, France. Photo: Chanel
Sportswear, inspired by scuba diving and water sports, was also in the line-up. Chanel’s signature tweed jackets were paired with hoodies, while bottoms included practical running and cycling shorts.

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“I was inspired by the codes of lifestyle, of everyday life and by all the things that invite movement. The sea and the wind made me want to play with wetsuits,” said creative director Virginie Viard in the collection notes.

A model wearing a Chanel logo-shaped silver accessory at the Chanel cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille, France. Photo: AFP
The accessory that is certain to be on countless wait-lists as soon as it hits stores come November was a mini silver minaudière in the shape of the Chanel double-C logo – far from functional and yet another one of those whimsical offerings that the brand delivers every season to inject a dose of fun into its collections.
Hong Kong-based star Angela Yuen at the Chanel cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille. Photo: Handout
Chanel ambassadors such as French actress Marion Cotillard, American actress Sadie Sink, and Hong Kong-based actress and model Angela Yuen were at the show. “I loved the Mediterranean influences and the ocean patterns like the fish printed on the clothes – it’s something I would definitely wear to go to the beach,” said Yuen after the unveiling. “And the super chic swimwear with the hoodies. I loved the harmonious colour palette and all the pastels and the white.”

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The Chanel cruise 2024-25 show in Marseille featured plenty of swimwear. Photo: AFP

While Chanel’s haute couture and Métiers d’Art collections always stand out for their intricate workmanship and need to be seen up close to truly appreciate them, the cruise range is more about creating a vibe and offering customer-friendly pieces that please both the label’s loyal customers and are able to attract new and younger ones.

As Viard put it in the show notes, this collection was meant as “a breath of fresh air” – and Marseille was the perfect backdrop for this lighthearted and energetic outing.

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