ara­bian ad­ven­ture

In­side the epi­cally sur­real Chanel show in Dubai.

ELLE (Canada) - - Storyboard - BY LAURA deCARUFEL

Fash­ion fea­tures direc­tor Laura took in the lav­ish Chanel Cruise show in Dubai (page78). We know, sounds rough.

as the global author­ity on big­ger, bet­ter, more, Dubai eats lux­ury hy­per­bole for break­fast. Take the Dubai Mall, which has more than 1,200 stores, or the city’s 830-me­tre Burj Khal­ifa, the tallest build­ing in the world. Then there’s the Burj Al Arab ho­tel, a self-billed seven-star ho­tel on a man-made is­land, which of­fers an $8,200 drink: Served in gold glass, it fea­tures pas­sion-fruit-scented sugar, 55-year-old Scotch and more than dash of nerve.

Dubai, in short, is sur­real enough. But when you add Chanel, the world’s big­gest fash­ion brand, and its leg­endary Cruise show to the Emi­rati city, the col­li­sion is bound to be heady—a lux­ury cock­tail stirred, a lit­tle shaken and top­ping out well above $8,200.

The first clue to the im­pend­ing ex­trav­a­ganza oc­curred at the Dubai air­port, where the cus­toms of­fi­cers wore white head scarves em­broi­dered with faint dou­ble Cs. A sleepy Dakota Fan­ning stood in line, as did Vanessa Par­adis, with her newly cropped hair and French-singer boyfriend Ben­jamin Bi­o­lay. The celebri­ties were among the 1,000 in­vited guests to Chanel’s Cruise 2015 run­way show and star-stud­ded af­ter­party. Ru­mours swirled like desert dust: Chanel had taken over a man-made is­land; Janelle Monáe would per­form; Tilda Swinton was en route. All of them were true.

“The big ques­tion is, Why come to Dubai?” asked Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s pres­i­dent of fash­ion, the morn­ing of the show. “In 2013, we held the Cruise show in Sin­ga­pore, and it was a first step into the new world. Dubai has the same kind of spirit. We thought per­haps this lo­ca­tion— with its weather, its tourism—could be the new Riviera.”

Dubai may not have the hal­cyon Fitzgeral­dian glam­our of Cannes or An­tibes, but it cer­tainly has the money— it ac­counts for 30 per­cent of the Mid­dle East’s lux­ury mar­ket—and the mo­men­tum. Pho­tographs from just 20 years ago de­pict a desert land­scape bi­sected by a lone high­way; to­day, Dubai is a h

Chanel de­signer

Karl Lager­feld

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