There was no sand on the runways this time — but that didn’t stop Chanel from channeling Muscle Beach.
Retro fitness was the through-line of Chanel’s cruise ’24 collection, which the French luxury fashion house presented Tuesday night in Los Angeles to a star-studded audience at Paramount Studios.
It was a fitting homage to L.A., nodding to the birth of American physical fitness in the 1930s at the Santa Monica Pier and later, Venice Beach, with its muscle-y ’80s and ’90s imagery. But Chanel managed to make it sparkle even more (literally and in star power), outfitting guests like Margot Robbie in bikinis and jeans and adding glittering tweed garments and heels to the runway.
“Between a tribute to the glamour of great film stars and evoking the world of fun to be had with aerobics, sports and roller skating, between the dream on one hand and what you want to wear on the other, it’s all a question of balance,” said Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard in the collection’s show notes. To WWD, she added: “From John Travolta to Jane Fonda, so many actresses, the body, the gym, aerobics. Un peu sport, un peu tweed.”
The show opened with a series of swimsuits, done in black, some with cutouts including a maillot with oversized interlocking double C’s creating a hole in the midriff of the suit. The swimwear was paired with white sneakers with thick rubber soles, which were partially covered with black sparkly leg warmers, a look that immediately called to mind the gym craze of the ’80s, a là the 1985 film “Perfect” — whose dance aerobics scene with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis has become something of an evergreen meme coursing through social media every now and then.
It wasn’t all bikinis and leg warmers in the collection (though the latter continued on the runway, paired with other footwear, such as daintier lace-up leather boxing-style shoes and crystal-encrusted ankle strap high-heeled sandals. The less sporty looks (mostly Chanel’s classic tweed sets) were paired with either holographic round-toe ankle-strap heels or white patent leather ballet flats, outfitted with black bow-ties across the front of the ankle.
In ready-to-wear, Viard went all in, showing everything from cotton-candy-colored terrycloth beach sets and bucket hats to gold bikinis and basketball shorts — the last of which was paired with perhaps the most quintessential Venice Beach accessory of them all: a skateboard.
The show proved to live up to its star-studded hype and with its hints of Barbiecore, is more than likely to provide plenty of wardrobe opportunities for one of Chanel’s biggest faces and key summer stars: Margot Robbie.