Saint-Tropez. Chanel Resort 2011

On Monday, May 1st, the 2023 Met Gala will take place. This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, “A Line of Beauty,” will celebrate the oeuvre and life of Karl Lagerfeld. The exhibition will see Andrew Bolton and Wendy Yu, curators in charge, examine the work of Karl Lagerfeld (1933–2019). Throughout his lifetime, Lagerfeld worked at prominent fashion houses such as Balmain, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, in addition to founding his namesake brand.  More than 150 pieces will be on display in the exhibition, many of which will be accompanied by Lagerfeld’s sketches. In the following days, I will look back at my all-time favorite Chanel collections, designed by the one & only Karl. Hope some of these magnificent looks will end up on the red carpet on the first Monday in May…

The resort 2011 scene was like something out of a quintessential Riviera movie. With the sun setting over the sea, hundreds of Chanel’s invited guests sitting in the red wooden chairs of Saint-Tropez’s famous Sénéquier, and many more onlookers piling onto balconies and pressing against barricades, Natasha Poly, Anja Rubik, Abbey Lee, and the rest of Karl Lagerfeld’s cast arrived at Quai Jean Jaurès via speedboat. And like the carefree starlets and jet-setters they were channeling, the models traipsed down the street-cum-runway often barefoot, wearing 70s-inspired diaphanous caftans, long crocheted dresses, ruffle-lapelled silk jersey trouser suits, and patchwork denim skirts. Tanned and toned midriffs peeked out beneath a cropped sweater here or a button-down there, its hems tied in a saucy bow. Freja Beha Erichsen’s white silk Mick Jagger tuxedo delivered some sun-drenched rock & roll to the French idyllic. The Rolling Stones front man, of course, married Bianca in just such an outfit in Saint-Tropez’s town hall back in 1971. Magdalena Frąckowiak, doing the brilliant Brigitte Bardot cosplay, danced her way toward the photo pit in a black and white checked maillot. And for the finale, there was Georgia May Jagger, with her dad’s tune “Let’s Spend the Night Together” for an accompaniment. The model got to take a spin in a beaded minidress and thigh-high boots on the back of a tricked-out Harley with Sebastien Jondeau. To be sure, there was a nostalgic mood to the affair. What prompted these witty nods to the past from a designer who famously had no patience for such fusty concepts as the “good old days“? The location surely had something to do with it. Though Lagerfeld pointed out that “Chanel was spotted here once in ’34 by Colette,” Saint-Tropez feels much more like his kind of town. “I spent many years of my life here,” he said. “I know Saint-Tropez like I know Paris. The collection is very casual, very down-to-earth.” Key, of course, is that lightness of touch, the sense of enjoyment and ease.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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That Girl. Celine SS23

As usual, don’t expect novelty in Hedi Slimane‘s Celine collection – rather, an attitude. There is literally nothing fashion-forward about the spring-summer 2023, because Slimane rather styles wardrobe classics than reinterprets them. The designer has infused his classic rock and roll DNA into the nautical nature of Saint-Tropez. Yet most of the looks felt more like a look-back at Kate Moss’ Glastonbury style or Anna Delvey’s attire in her New-York-scammer-peak-point era. But the sun-drenched view in the backdrop was pretty. 2022’s fashion won’t free itself from Y2k aesthetic, that’s for sure, and Slimane also celebrates it. Why not – he’s the king of the indie sleaze aesthetic. Best evidence? In the curation of the music for the Saint-Tropez collection, Slimane has tapped his longtime friends, The Libertines, for their song “Music When the Lights Go Out” from their cult-classic album The Libertines that was released in 2004. What about the clothes? In true Hedi fashion, the jeans are skinny and the boots are high. The core of a Slimane collection is solid; rock & roll chic looks run deep in the hand of the designer who pioneered putting underground rock styles on the runway. Yet in the presence of his foundation, Slimane toys around with these two conflicting narratives of the town; relaxing on the beach versus tearing up the dance floor. The spirit of the ocean is present in nautical sweaters, matching pinstripe sets, and a brilliant captain’s hat that features the house monogram. Sailor button closures are seen in trousers and mini shorts, paired with loose gauge oversized knits that are ideal for yachting season. You know how I feel about Hedi Slimane’s Celine: I don’t really care for it, but I’m always curious to see where the designer’s stubbornness goes next.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Saint Tropez

Everybody’s heard of Saint Tropez, but the stereotype we all know is quite misleading. It’s imagined to be a sort of place you learn about through the amniotic murk – an iconic coastal town barnacled with Mediterranean hedonism. But to be honest, in fact this place is rather calm and peaceful. At least off-season. With its rolling countryside, long, golden beaches, and breathtaking light, Saint-Tropez is one of the French Riviera’s most gorgeous destinations. This picturesque peninsula on the Côte d’Azur still embraces its history as a quiet fishing village and artists’ enclave – it lured painters such as Henri Matisse long before it was made famous by legendary beauty Brigitte Bardot, who has called it a “little nook of paradise.” Here are the two places I’ve especially loved in this town:

The Dior Villa. If you read my site for a while, then you know I’m not a Dior person (especially Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior). But somehow, in Saint Tropez, it all clicked – the intricately embroidered eveningwear, the pearl jewellery, the glassware… this is the French way. And of course loved the delightfully furnished store, which as well serves coffee in its yard.

13 Rue François Sibilli

Lots of huge, old cypress trees and yes, Brigitte Bardot is everywhere…

L’Atelier 55 specialises in vintage, restored design and it has a branch of stores located in Paris, Megève and other French destinations. Their boutique in Saint Tropez is kept in matching, Mediterranean style and its filled with original 1960s posters, Pierre Jeanneret armchairs and plates illustrated by Jean Cocteau. The staff here knows pretty much everything about 20th century French design, so you can always treat this place like a sort of encyclopedia. And if you’re planning to move to Saint Tropez… you know where to get your furniture!

29 Boulevard Louis Blanc


All photos by Edward Kanarecki.