Inside the epically surreal Chanel show in Dubai.
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