The Chanel Cruise Collection Happened In A Glass Oasis In Dubai That Took Two Months To Build

Because let's be honest, Karl doesn't cut corners.


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

Have Karla broken up? Cara was busy last night attending a gala dinner at Windsor Castle, since you ask, but Karl still put on a show for Chanel Cruise in Dubai last night with Dakota Fanning, Vanessa Paridis, Freida Pinto and Tilda Swinton in attendance. For all those confused, Chanel Cruise is a yearly extravaganza that happens in ritzy cities in order to fill wardrobes of 'those who cruise'.

It's an outdated term, given how few people (even the mega-rich) actually go on an annual cruise, but it essentially translates as anyone with enough moolah to buy high fashion out of ready-to-wear or pre-order season. Previous locations have included Dallas (Rodeo, obvs), St Tropez (with Georgia Jagger looking much like Brigitte Bardot – again, obvs) and Scotland, where everyone couldn't have really looked more clichédly Scottish if they tried.

This year's cruise season kicked off last week with Dior's cruise show in New York, with Chanel following suit last night on 'The Island', aka Dubai, aka the home of people with major, major moolah. 'It's a new world, and fashion is about new. The highest building in the world used to be in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and then New York, and now it's in this part of the world, in the Far East, so we follow the movement,' said Karl, a designer famously obsessed with the new, the shiny and the young. He's also just being savvy. Since the flagship opened in Dubai in 2009, Chanel has sold like hotcakes.


'It couldn't be some basic show in a hotel,' he noted before the show – as if anyone in attendance might not be familiar with the all-out grandeur of a Chanel show, or, indeed, the all-out-grandeur of a man-made Dubai. Instead, the show was held in a super-modern glass pavilion – a lush green oasis (which took two months to construct), filled with fake palm trees and henna plants, with a performance by British R&B star Janelle Monáe. Attendees were rowed around in local wooden boats and even the toilets were purpose built.

Meanwhile, the collection itself couldn't have been more different to Karl's ready-to-wear collection for Autumn 2014, which had a Vicky Pollard-meets-punk vibe. 'A romantic idea, without any folkloric touch, of an Orient of my imagination of the 21st century,' is how Karl cryptically described the inespcapably bohemian collection of full-length and billowing silhouettes, which were a homage to colour and intricate print. There were plenty of riffs on the location, with a quilted leather handbag shaped like oil-cans giving a nod to the immense oil-based wealth of the Middle East and the loose tunics reminiscient of those worn by Arab men.


That doesn't mean it was dowdy, though. It was insouciant high-glam, with '80s disco a clear influence. Model Charlotte Free opened the show, with her candy-pink, back-combed bouffant offsetting metallic blouson pants (gold lamé was prevalent) and with Chanel's signature tweed woven into monochrome short coats, worn belted over sheer embroidered trousers. There were plenty of pretty printed blouses (normally the domain of Isabel Marant – a designer with whom Chanel has little in common) that we wouldn't mind snapping up to wear poolslide, while Karl's new penchant for streetwear was manifested in a chunky silver chain, worn unexpectedly with a three-piece tweed ensemble and ladylike gloves. Curious toe-less, thigh-high, ribbed socks were juxtaposed with floral swing coats – a safe bet for Chanel's older audience.

Which sums up the whole Chanel ethos, really. Karl – always about the juxtapositions.

Follow Pandora on Twitter @pinsykes

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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