x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Karl Lagerfeld unveils Chanel’s Cruise 2014-15 collection on Dubai’s The Island

All the colour and class from the Chanel Cruise 2014-15 show on Dubai's The Island.

Karl Lagerfeld and Janelle Monae. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Karl Lagerfeld and Janelle Monae. Francois Nel / Getty Images

He’s dubbed Kaiser Karl and he lived up to his name on Tuesday evening with a show-stopping presentation of Chanel’s Cruise 2014-2015. Fittingly for a resort collection, red-canopied dhows transported 1,000 guests from mainland Dubai to Karl Lagerfeld’s imagined Arabia on The Island. Here’s our wrap of the Middle Eastern-inspired pieces that will hit Chanel’s boutiques in October and critiques from some of the famous people who attended the party.

The highlights

Where we were: Sand and palm trees were brought inside Chanel’s custom-made, glass-skirted building. While outside, The Island was carpeted with candles and shisha tents for as far as the eye could see.

What we ate: Arabic fare, from mini pita-shawarmas and falafel with date chutney to pistachio baklava.

Where we sat: On cushions around lantern-lit low tables.

What surprised us: How polite and friendly the bouncers were, albeit always maintaining a protective (hand-held) ring around Lagerfeld.

We marvelled at: The American R&B soul musician Janelle Monae’s crowd control. She persuaded the audience to stop dancing and sit down while she did the moonwalk.

What we resisted: Taking photos of the two people who stepped in the water feature.

Sheikha Lulu Al Sabah, Kuwaiti royal, founder and director of Dubai’s Jamm art gallery

When did you first discover Chanel?

I grew up with a mother obsessed with Chanel, and the wonderful thing about it is that it’s not age specific. I have pieces from my mother, from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Admittedly, I had to remove the shoulder pads from some pieces, but they are timeless and I hope to give them to my daughter.

If you could only choose one piece, what would it be?

During the Gulf War, a lot of my mother’s pieces were lost. But there was one dress from 1982, which was a pale pink, bustier cocktail with a full tulle skirt and black polka dots. I spent 10 years of my life fascinated with the dress. It’s sadly gone now, but it’s still somewhere in my imagination.

Hatem Alakeel, Dubai-based fashion designer & owner of the label Toby

Did the Arabic theme work for you?

Yes, the setting was beyond breathtaking. I’m from Saudi Arabia and there’s an area called Najd, it’s where all the Bedouin tribes came from. The houses there are the same shape (as Chanel’s glass and wood cube building) – so I think they’ve taken the concept and made it Chanel. For me, that’s very symbolic and I’m proud to see the merger of fashion and our culture.

As a designer yourself, how do you view Karl?

He really is a master. I was completely blown away by the collection and thought it was very respectful and culturally sensitive, especially towards the women of the region.

The collection

Theme: Middle Eastern, Arabian nights

Elements: Harem pants, ghutra-pattern-inspired jackets and sheer jumpsuits layered with tweed-mix tops and dress coats. Billowing Ali Baba pants, mosaiced skirts, necklines and embroidered leather camellias.

Head-turners: Toeless knee-length socks and the gold “petrol can” quilted handbag.

Jewellery: Gold knot-chokers, diamond and pearl crescent-moon headdresses, Bedouin-inspired cuffs and necklaces.

Make-up: Kohl-lined eyes with gold leaf applied to the inner corners.

Hair: Voluminous curls or straight with high, backcombed crowns.

Shoes: Jellies with floating gold leaf in their Perspex heels, pointy babouches and sandals with light-up soles.

Finale: An oversized sleeveless smock with the skyline of Dubai embroidered in sequins onto the hem.

The Chanel ambassadors

Tilda Swinton, Scottish Oscar-winning actress

On Cruise 2015: Wow! I really think wow! It’s a million-and-one Arabian nights.

On Dubai: I don’t know if I’m truly experiencing Dubai, but I’m having a very nice 24 hours.

Vanessa Paradis, French singer & actress

• On the show: I thought it was beautiful. I love how they’ve brought the culture of Dubai into the Chanel style.

• On the UAE: It’s my second time here and it’s surreal. I’m not speaking about the whole of the Middle East, but Dubai as a city with all these buildings in the desert – it’s truly a surreal sight.

Alice Dellal, Brazilian Model

On The Island: It’s my third trip to Dubai and this island is incredible. I loved the boats that took us here. The venue is pretty sweet; especially considering it’s got the Chanel logo everywhere

On the clothes: I’d say the show was like a glass of water. When walking in the desert it was very refreshing.

On being an ambassador: It’s amazing and weird to even know that I am one. It makes me think wow! It’s very flattering and I don’t know how to even put it into words.

On Karl: I just saw him backstage for the first time in months. He’s so sweet and like an uncle to me now. He’s such a pleasure to talk to and the most creative person I’ve ever come across.

Guest gossip

Steve Harvey, American actor anD comedian

How are you enjoying the evening?

I thought the show was great. I saw some things I liked, a couple of pieces which might look nice on my wife and daughter.

What specifically caught your eye?

I liked the pieces that were in creams and blues. Look, my wife Marjorie is into fashion, she even has a fashion blog called the www.ladylovescouture.com – she’s really into it. I just came along for the ride and I don’t really know what I’m looking at!

For more pictures and interviews go to www.thenational.ae/blogs/all-dressed-up