Ruling the waves
Where better for Chanel to show its latest Cruise collection than on board a replica liner?
IN DECEMBER, Karl Lagerfeld staged a Chanel catwalk show in the port city of Hamburg, where the models wore a very chic take on rough-and-ready seamen’s uniforms: gaberdines, sou’westers, lots of rope details, bags shaped like accordions. One model emerged smoking a pipe.
Now, he has shown us what his gilded passengers will wear when they step aboard HMS Fashion.
Chanel’s annual Cruise collection show is the biggest event in the label’s calendar. The clothes on this runway sell better and stay in store longer even than the ready-to-wear collections of spring/summer and autumn/winter. This despite the fact that its light cottons, diaphanous chiffons and cropped sequin tops arrive in November, just when we’re battening down the hatches before Christmas. But then, Coco Chanel herself invented the concept of a Cruise collection in 1919, presenting customers in the autumn with a holiday wardrobe of unlined jersey skirts and light jumpers. All perfect inspirations for her wardrobe on-board her lover the Duke of Westminster’s yacht Flying Cloud. Whoever said fashion has to bow to the rigours of the British climate?
Lagerfeld had wanted to hire an actual cruise ship for his show, but when he found out that they were all booked up two years in advance, he shrugged his shoulders and commanded his team to build a gigantic 148m replica inside Paris’s Grand Palais. With the sound of seagulls and foghorns drifting over the shotsilk sea, the audience could make believe they really were embarking on a voyage to the wilder shores of fashion. — Sasha Slater
Above: Chanel’s new Cruise collection on the runway at the Grand Palais in Paris last week
Below left Captain Karl takes a bow at the show’s finale
Left A gigantic faux cruise liner fills the Grand Palais in Paris