I woke up to the sound of rain splashing the windows of my room above the harbour of St Tropez. Grey dreary skies and rain would wash out the night’s Cruise collection staged by Chanel and legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld. The show was due to happen on the street sandwiched between the harbourside cafes and apartment-sized yachts docked in the tiny harbour.
Things weren’t looking good as the day progressed – showers at noon, muddy pathways, black storm clouds threatening over the hills. And then by mid-afternoon, the clouds broke and the sun blazed through. I guess what Karl wants, Karl gets! Guests arrived at 7pm to see mega-yachts with partying socialites already parked for the best view and locals hanging from the balconies above the harbour patios. No one from Chanel would even hint at what this spectacle cost – flying in editors, celebs (Vanessa Paradis to Diane Kruger) and models from around the world, and shutting down the harbour’s business. I’d wager that it was the same amount guests spent outfitting themselves head-to-toe in Chanel finery.
Boats – luxe tenders from the yachts in the harbour – ferried the models to the concrete catwalk – the street in front of landmark café, Senequier. Hundreds of red director chairs filled the café and models (including Natasha Poly, Crystal Renn and Jacquetta Wheeler) strolled in and out of the rows showing a 70s inspired boho-hippie style of floral tunics, cashmere cropped cardigans and hot pants, some with over-the-knee boots or flat gladiators. There was something in the show for everyone: a tailored black tweed suit for career executives; gold metallic bras with short shorts for young sexy models; sheer flowy jumpsuits for trendsetters; embroidered sheer panel dresses for red carpet celebs; sweet striped knits that anyone would love. Mesh jewelry decorated hands and ankles. Necklaces were strung with shells and charms, and all nails were painted a soft baby blue.
The laid-back vibe was matched by a Rolling Stones mash-up soundtrack. Mick’s daughter, Georgia May, was the featured model – not only was she highlighted in the press kit but she closed the show on the back of a motorcycle driven by Lagerfeld’s assistant, Sebastien Jondeau. The song – Let’s Spend the Night Together – was perfect for the mood but a bit odd for Mick’s teenaged bombshell.
Karl Lagerfeld has been vacationing in the area on-and-off for more than four decades. He was inspired by the colours of the local architecture, the sea and sky, and how the sunkissed light plays off the yachts and beautiful people. Brigitte Bardot’s sex kitten look – her iconic film “And God Created Woman” was filmed here and inspired the disheveled sexy hair and glossy pout lips. The collection was a love letter to the area’s hedonistic holiday spirit – relaxed, sexy, playful.
After the show, it was time to kick off the heels (they’re so over anyway) and head over to the VIP Room where Lagerfeld staged his short film, Remember Now that played the night before. Another inspiring collection, lots of great clothes … now who can guess next year’s port of call?