WHOLE NEW WORLD Karl Lager­feld rolls out his magic car­pet for an ex­tra­or­di­nary ride through a new fash­ion ad­ven­ture in Dubai. Natasha Kraal hops on to dis­cover Chanel Cruise 2015.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - THE NEWS -

o know Dubai, you’ve got to ex­pe­ri­ence its con­trasts. One mo­ment you’re tak­ing an abra, a tra­di­tional wooden taxi-boat, on a one-dirham ride across the Dubai Creek, black smoke spew­ing all the way to­wards the spice and gold souks of the old city, where you can savour a cup of goat’s milk tea in be­tween rough-hag­gling for a brace of 22k ban­gles, the 42-de­gree blaz­ing sun burn­ing through your cot­ton voile blouse. Next, you’re in a souped-up Mercedes SUV speed­ing down a six-lane high­way to Dubai Mall, the world’s largest with 1,200 shops, drink­ing 20-dirham mint tea be­tween lo­cal women in blacked-out abayas and tourists in cut-off shorts while watch­ing a USD220 mil­lion foun­tain dra­mat­i­cally dance 500 feet up to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”, back­dropped by the mag­nif­i­cent Burj Khal­ifa. From be­ing a hum­ble pearl-fish­ing town in the 18th Cen­tury, to be­com­ing the ma­jor oil port of the UAE in the ’70s, Dubai in just the last 10 years is de­fined by the tallest, big­gest, most ex­pen­sive … its ex­trav­a­gances and ex­tremes know no end.

The crys­talline sky­scrapers of Dubai, framed by the Ara­bian desert and heat­shim­mer­ing blue sky are phe­nom­e­nal. “Dubai is the world of to­mor­row,” says Karl Lager­feld, who saw the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate yet another fash­ion fan­tasy on his favourite posit­ing of tra­di­tion/fu­tur­ism, every­day/ex­ces­sive, Ori­ent/Oc­ci­dent. The Chanel Cruise col­lec­tions have al­ways been spaced in jet-set des­ti­na­tions that frame the aes­thetic – in pre­vi­ous years, they’ve taken on the water­front panora­mas of St. Tropez, Los An­ge­les, Venice, and most re­cently, Sin­ga­pore – and Dubai with its out-of-this-world hol­i­day cul­ture (big boats, desert polo, ski­ing, ev­ery­thing un­der the sun!) was to be checked off.

Dubai is be­lieved to have been named after a woman, Dabya; though many also think it’s the moniker for money. And the mon­eyed women of Dubai are in­deed as fas­ci­nat­ing as the city: ex­otic beau­ties with kohl-lined eyes in their dark cloaks sighted step­ping out of blacked­out Range Rovers to shop for the sex­i­est de­signer dresses in the bright­est prints and ex­trav­a­gant de­tail­ing, which they would wear in the pri­vacy of their women-only par­ties. Is this lover of su­per lux­ury Lager­feld’s muse or his pa­tron for this col­lec­tion? Or both? Th­ese con­trasts of the Emi­rate state with its old soul and mod­ern spirit, and mes­meris­ing com­plex­i­ties of a 21st-Cen­tury mega­lopo­lis set in an an­cient sto­ry­book land­scape clearly came alive on this fan­tas­ti­cal Ara­bian night.

And what’s a Chanel show with­out its spec­tac­u­lar stag­ing? Held on The Is­land, a swatch of ar­ti­fi­cial land in the bay of Dubai, a mas­sive sand-cov­ered pavil­ion dec­o­rated with mashra­biya – tra­di­tional Mid­dle East­ern lat­tice­work, in situ as in­ter­lock­ing Cs – was cre­ated to host 1,001 guests. Inside, date palms, wrought-iron lanterns, and sunken sofa seat­ing made the set for mod­els to weave through for an up-close-and-per­sonal view of Lager­feld’s new master col­lec­tion. Come sun­set, guests in their best in­ter­pre­ta­tions of desert chic, in­clud­ing Freida Pinto, Vanessa Par­adis, and Tilda Swin­ton, along with big-name ed­i­tors, and the in­cred­i­bly stylish princesses and heiresses of the Arab world, met at the pier to take those charm­ing abras from the shores of Jumeirah beach, 650 me­tres from the pavil­ion. Far from the Chanel-es­que canapés and cham­pagne be­fit­ting a clas­sic Rue Cam­bon pre­sen­ta­tion, here, Be­douin tents dressed with needle­point cush­ions and rugs, serv­ing shishas and mint tea, un­veiled this ut­terly ex­oti-chic ex­pe­ri­ence.

Chanel Cruise ’15

Best dressed in eclec­tic fash­ion

Inside the

mashra­biya- dec­o­rated pavil­ion

Pearl dom­i­na­tion

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