A Gentleman’s Guide to Cruise
Chantilly. The Riviera. Arles. A longtime fashion editor influences his way through the cruise season’s tony tour.
The major luxury brands' big cruise shows are for clients, and it's no secret that this is where brands make an enormous amount of their money. They're selling more than the clothes, however; they're selling the lifestyle the clothes represent. To do that, they have to create an experience. And while editors, journalists and influencers are by no means the clients (though most may aspire to be), we are integral to the brands in helping create this exclusive experience. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the cruise shows for Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, my first such outing in my new reality as a fashion freelancer and aspiring influencer.
So, for seven days, one of the most coveted vacation destinations in the world became my playground, as editors, clients and influencers were whisked to Paris and the South of France. Instead of movie stars walking the red carpet, models walked the runways as we were treated to a whirlwind of meals, festivities and, of course, the main events: the shows themselves. Here, one lucky insider's guide to the major cruise circuit.
I board my business-class flight to Paris. It's 10 p.m. so I should probably get some sleep. Instead, I accept a Champagne and settle in to watch “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” How does Kate Hudson always get herself into these messes? A Mercedes S-Class is waiting for me at the airport, and a driver physically helps me into the car. At first, I'm offended that he thinks I need assistance, but by the time I pull up to the Hôtel de Crillon I wait patiently for him to help me out of my seat. How did I ever get out of a car on my own before?
I am whisked to the hotel restaurant, L'Écrin, for a lunch of salmon tartare, charcuterie, king crab and avocado and, yes, more Champagne. After, I am treated to a massage, which I follow with a light nap to sleep off the stress of the day. A mini fleet of Mercedes is once again lined up to take us to dinner at Chez Dior. You've never heard of it? That's because Dior built it for one night only, below the stunning Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. I mingle with celebs like Paris Jackson and Alexandra Shipp, while artists paint our portraits (who knew watercolor was my color?) and Dior-clad waiters serve us hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. The next day, on the way to lunch on a boat docked on the Seine, I walk through the Tuileries where I'm inspired to try my hand at influencing (840 likes, 10,257 impressions). At lunch, I sit with Daria Strokous, model and Dior ambassador. I listen patiently while she bemoans the difficulties of age...she's 25. (Instagram post: 1,365 views)
That evening, it's on to the historic Chantilly stables, the oldest horse stables in Paris. It's pouring rain, but this stops no one. The show opens with eight escaramuzas, a group of fierce Mexican women who ride side-saddle while wearing ensembles created by Maria Grazia Chiuri. The whole event is exceptional, and as Maria Grazia Chiuri takes her long runway walk in the rain, Bernard Arnault, the chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, stands in applause. Meanwhile, the muscular horses and riders take a bow as well. The after party is next door and, once again, the rain has stopped no one. We are indulged with mounds of parmesan, prosciutto and mozzarella and endless cocktails while we party late into
Guests at the Gucci cruise 2019 show were treated to a mini concert by Sir Elton John.
Eight escaramuzas opened the Dior cruise 2019 show.
A Joan Miró sculpture in the Fondation Maeght.