Chanel Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: A Man and a Woman

At her Chanel show on Tuesday, Virginie Viard paid tribute to classic French film “Un homme et une femme” (“A Man and a Woman”) with a short film starring Brad Pitt and Penélope Cruz.

A Chanel brand ambassador since 2018, Cruz set off a swarm of flashbulbs by arriving at the show with the original movie’s director, Claude Lelouch. They posed in front of a screen erected in the middle of the runway, which was designed to resemble the boardwalk in the French seaside town of Deauville, where the 1966 movie was set.

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The black-and-white remake, directed by Inez and Vinoodh, showed the Hollywood stars walking on the beach and flirting at the restaurant of the Normandy hotel, as the film’s iconic “da ba da ba da” song plays in the background. It marked the launch of a new campaign for Chanel’s classic 11.12 handbag, the brand said.

“I said, ‘I want Brad and no one else,’” Viard said in a preview.

Chanel’s relationship with the actor stretches back to 2012, when it tapped the “Ocean’s Eleven” star as the first male ambassador for its bestselling No.5 perfume. “It feels as if he never left, because we don’t have a lot of male ambassadors outside of our fragrance campaigns,” she said.

The product placement in the cult film happened organically. Founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was friends with leading lady Anouk Aimée, who plopped her own handbag on the table during her restaurant scene with Jean-Louis Trintignant.

“Penélope is a huge fan of the movie,” Viard said of the Spanish actress, who brought her mother along for the surprise unveiling.

Having started her career in costume design, the designer is a film buff, and Chanel is a partner of the Deauville American Film Festival, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, so the timing of the homage made sense.

Beyond that, Deauville was where Chanel launched her business in 1912, revolutionizing fashion with her sleek, fluid designs that helped to liberate women from their corsets.

For fall, Viard channeled that relaxed allure with slim belted tweed coats in sunset shades and cozy sweaters, ranging from matching sets with pearl buttons to a sailor-collared cardigan depicting the Normandy coastline’s blue-gray skies and long beaches.

Heightening the heirloom feel of the knits, cream cardigans looked gently worn, while navy ribbed tops featured vintage Chanel labels.

The collection hopped between decades, from 1920s-style blouses with middy collars to pastel-colored tweed skirt suits that could have come from the closet of Aimée herself. Viard is fond of a puzzling pant, so there were also Bowie-esque culottes with platform boots, alongside a gold lamé skirt suit and cool sheepskin coats.

It felt eclectic, with something for everyone, from boho printed chiffon maxidresses to a sleek black leather jumpsuit.

Despite this — and the floppy hats that distracted from some of the looks — the lineup came across as Viard’s most cohesive to date, with a confident, androgynous allure that still feels current, more than a century after Chanel sparked the masculine-feminine trend. After five years at the helm, the reclusive designer appears ready for her close-up.

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Launch Gallery: Chanel Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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