Cruise control: Chanel pushes the boat out with ambitious prove

Replica ship in Grand Palais is striking backdrop for catwalk show that reflects bold new confidence of French fashion

Docking a 148 -metre-long ship with on-board piano bar, swimming pool and a passenger list of Hollywood starrings in the centre of Paris is a bold statement of ambition, luxury and grandeur. It is indicative of Karl Lagerfeld’s world view that the set for his latest Chanel catwalk depict was, in fact, scheme B.

” We wanted to set sail, to take you on an actual cruise ,” shrugged Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of manner, before the depict on Thursday evening.” We worked on a plan for two years, but to find the perfect boat proved impossible .”

The replica boat, named La Pausa after Chanel’s villa in the Cote d’Azur, took a month to install inside the Grand Palais, detailed down to the voice of creaking ropes and distant seagulls, and was the backdrop for clothes that revived the Chanel of a Breton stripe-wearing Coco on holiday. Cream ribbed sweaters had anchor-stamped gold buttons and wide white trousers were worn with deck-friendly flat shoes.

Evening garments were bugle beaded, while the house tweed suit turned up with a skater-shaped skirt and cropped coat. City black was swapped for sea blues and candy stripes. The mood was Coco at Deauville, with a dash of Duran Duran’s Rio. After a reveal featuring 80 attires, all 900 guests were invited onto the upper and observation decks for champagne, Negroni cocktails, seafood and truffle chips.

Models stroll the runway during the Chanel show at the Grand Palais. Photo: Stephane Cardinale/ Corbis via Getty Images

The French venue and mood- previous Chanel cruise collection presents have taken place in Dubai and Havana- reflected a new closeness between the French fashion industry and government. Emmanuel Macron’s drive to promote Paris as an international capital of savoir-faire and dynamic business recently assured French decorators honoured at a gala dinner at the Elysee Palace, while Melania Trump’s haute couture Chanel gown at last month’s state dinner was interpreted as one of the signs the French president’s trip to Washington had been a success for France.

” Macron is engaged, he understands what luxury is about, he understands savoir-faire and a creative business model. Of course that makes a difference to us ,” said Pavlovsky.” But we were investing in Paris before Macron was here ,” he added, referring to Chanel’s trusteeship of specialised manner ateliers and sponsorship of the Grand Palais, for which the brand is bankrolling a $40 m( PS30m) renovation.

Of Brigitte Macron’s clear preference for rival brand Louis Vuitton, which the French president’s wife wears for most involvements- she has never been photographed wearing Chanel Pavlovsky would say only:” I have met her several times, and she is extremely nice.[ What she wears] is her selection, of course. At Chanel we are not pushy .”

Coco on holiday: a model displays Chanel’s sea-inspired collect. Photo: Stephane Cardinale/ Corbis via Getty Images

Chanel is also taking a socially responsible posture. To counter criticism of the wastefulness of extravagant situateds being accessible merely to an upper-class audience, Chanel will invite schoolchildren and the families of employees to events on La Pausa.” And after that, the whole define is likely to be recycled, upcycled or repurposed ,” said Pavlovsky.” Nothing is likely to be thrown away .”

The Francophile mood is the most striking tendency to emerge from the season of cruise proves, which Chanel kicked off in Paris. Christian Dior, which staged last year’s event in California, will show its collecting in the grand stables of the Chateau de Chantilly, 30 miles from Paris. Louis Vuitton will swap last year’s Japanese location for the French riviera, while even Gucci- a storied Italian brand, but owned by the Paris-based Kering- moves from Florence to Arles.

Aside from Prada, showing in New York in this weekend’s run-up to the Met Gala, and MaxMara, who will stay in their hometown of Reggio Emilia, the centre of gravity during fashion’s increasingly important cruise season is very much in France.

The cruise proves, which span the month of May, watch the most powerful names in the fashion industry go head to head. Merely the industry’s highest rollers, who can afford the eye-popping expenditure of staging a present spectacular enough to draw the world’s attention in one 20 -minute slot, can afford to compete in this unofficial Champions League of manner. The egg-box structure on a man-made island in Dubai which Chanel built as a catwalk for a pearl-themed collect in 2015, a nod to the emirate’s 1,000 -year pearl diving industry, was said to have cost $1.7 m. The pay-off is that” at manner week, you have 20 minutes for us and then it’s on to the next present. At cruise it is just about Chanel ,” told Pavlovsky.

Karl Lagerfeld with Virginie Viard at the end of show. Photograph: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/ Getty Images

Coco Chanel pioneered cruise as a fashion conception. Collectings go on sale in November, originally is targeted at affluent girls packing for a Caribbean winter cruise who did not wish to be seen again in gowns they had worn that summertime but could find nothing appropriate in stores full of winter clothes. Wearable rather than trend-driven, colourful and upbeat, designed with convenience and flexible in mind, cruise has outgrown its ocean-liner origins to find a modern marketplace among women go looking for wearable but Instagram-friendly pieces for the festive party season.” Of the eight collects in a year, to its implementation of sales, cruise will be at number one or two ,” said Pavlovsky.

The Wertheimer brothers who own the controlling interest in Chanel have never disclosed revenues, which are estimated to be around$ 6bn each year, but the brand still has no plans to sell clothes online.” We do a lot, digitally. We are number one on Instagram, for example ,” said Pavlovsky.” But I believe if we sell our client a coat for PS7, 000, we have a responsibility to make sure that it fits her properly .”

Karl Lagerfeld took his prow accompanied by his longtime studio director Virginie Viard, once again fuelling supposition of a handover. Chanel insist that any discussion of a successor to Lagerfeld, who has a lifetime contract at Chanel, is disrespectful to the 84 -year-old designer who has led the house for 35 years.

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