x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Bruno Pavlovsky on the Dubai island party that will launch Chanel’s Cruise Collection

Chanel is showing for the first time in Dubai. The fashion giant will debut its Cruise 2014-15 collection on a man made island to a celebrity studded audience.

Bruno Pavlovsky, CEO of Chanel, promises that the collection will be a
Bruno Pavlovsky, CEO of Chanel, promises that the collection will be a "completely unique show for Dubai, the Middle East and the world." Reuters

Almost a year in the planning, the big day is finally here. Chanel will show for the first time in the UAE on Tuesday evening, presenting its Cruise 2014-15 collection in Dubai. We got the inside track on the exclusive event from Chanel’s President of Fashion, Bruno Pavlovsky.

Are you as calm as you seem, considering the event is just hours away?

Yes for sure, everything is under control and everyone is on-board. We arrived on Saturday night and since then it’s all been perfect. The location (The Island – a man-made isle off Dubai’s coast) is amazing and we’ve been made to feel so welcome by everyone here. Yesterday the models arrived and we had a run through. So we’re definitely ready and everyone is smiling. Let’s go for it!

Why choose Dubai to present this resort collection?

Many different aspects. Last year we showed the Cruise collection in Singapore, which felt like something of a ‘new world’ for our customers. We wanted to continue, in that vein, around the world and Dubai has become one of the most important destinations for us. I’ll let Mr Lagerfeld talk from his perspective about the actual collection, but there’s clearly some inspiration taken from the Middle East. The concept of a Cruise collection also fits well with Dubai so that was inspiring too – there’s a nice consistency. The third aspect is that, following our Little Black Jacket exhibition in Dubai [April 2013], and the opening of our Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall boutiques in recent years, we are still developing and stabilising our organisation here in the UAE. This will be a completely unique show for Dubai, the Middle East and the world. So of all the things I’m mentioned, combined with incredible support from the government, the city was an obvious choice for us.

We know the collection is a closely guarded secret, but will there be any Arabic elements?

The inspiration is completely down to Mr Lagerfeld and his studio - they have their own interpretation of Dubai and the Cruise collection. It would say there be a mix of everything. Not specifically Arabic, nor specifically de la Croissette (Cannes, France). The creative team is always totally free to go where the inspirations takes them. All I know is that it will appeal to customers all over the world and we’re keeping it a surprise for now.

Which Chanel Ambassadors and celebrities have been flown in for the event?

We really don’t want to say! [laughs]. But okay. There will be actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, actress Dakota Fanning, French actress Anna Mouglalis and other ambassadors for Chanel. Some regional celebrities like the director Nadine Labaki and actress Razane Jammal, both from Lebanon, will be there too. There will also be some princesses from the region too – nationally and from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

What is the island’s capacity and how many people are you expecting?

We’re expecting around 1,000 people. But given the big number of very good local customers, UAE representatives, press and the international crowd, we could have easily ended up with 10,000!

What about entertainment? There’s a rumour circulating that American R&B musician Janelle Monáe will perform - can you confirm?

[Laughs] Ah, yes maybe!... I know the fashion community is watching and waiting, and I imagine there will be quite a buzz afterwards on Wednesday. I have no doubt that the impact of the show will be worldwide.

How would you describe your working relationship with Karl Lagerfeld, that’s spanned more than 20 years?

Well, Mr Lagerfeld is an incredible person. He has a lot of creative ideas and an amazing vision for Chanel. I see that our job is to ensure we give him the right support and build upon his ideas, enabling him to take them to the next step. He’s always enthusiastic about new projects and he’s very inspiring. A good partnership at the end of the day means that you might not know how to make something happen, but you are all committed to the same goal and are on the same path.

rduane@thenational.ae