A Gen­tle­man’s Guide to Cruise

WWD Digital Daily - - The Reviews - BY MICHAEL CARL

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.

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