It’s the most anticipated show of the year and this year, Karl Lagerfeld took his spectacle—Chanel’s annual cruise collection—to the Côte d’Azur. Always one to go big, Lagerfeld went home (or close to one of his many vacation homes) to Antibes and the super luxe Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. This storied hotel is where many major movie deals are sealed (it’s a short yacht hop from Cannes where the famous film festival takes place) and parties are thrown (Vanity Fair and Naomi Campbell’s 40th are two recent fetes).
This season, Lagerfeld’s collection reflected the chic sophistication of the moneyed honeys who park their yachts in the French Riviera. It was a gala parade of sunny yellow tweed, beaded silks, sheer lace and pleated chiffons with plenty of money-in-the-bank tweeds for Chanel regulars.
No question, this will be the show of the year. From start to finish, it was spectacular. Here are my top 10 moments (in no particular order):
1. The Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc is a stunning setting. The runway ran from the hotel’s steps down to the pool area.
2. Karl casts models who are pure characters. I always love seeing Stella Tennant, an aristocratic beauty and mum of four. Supermodel Kristen McMenamy and her long lustrous silver locks clearly enjoyed her turn on the runway accompanied by Karl’s favourite male models and Mark van der Loo, a past super himself.
3. Chanel’s supply of fine jewellery was cleared out of their boutiques worldwide and sent to the runway. I loved how one starburst diamond necklace was casually worn around an armhole.
4. There was none of the stadium seating we usually see. Instead, there were tables for five with comfy seats and umbrellas.
5. The hair and makeup was perfect—simple, natural and unfussy. Even the nails were pretty and bare—a shiny pink instead of another of Peter Philips, Chanel’s Creative Director of Beauty, hot new hues.
6. These clothes are money in the bank for Chanel—all very wearable, sophisticated, timeless. My only quibble were the shoes—most were a low heel shoe/boot with a cut-out toe. They looked a little awkward with the flowing skirts.
7. Karl always commands a loyal following. This year the excitement was over Chanel ambassadors Vanessa Paradis, Anna Mouglalis and Blake Lively. Princess Caroline of Monaco also made the short drive to Antibes to celebrate her friend’s collection.
8. Chanel’s decadence extended to a 30-minute short film directed by Karl Lagerfeld and starring many of the evening’s guests (Kristen McMenamy was the star) called The Tale of a Fairy. While it didn’t make a lot of sense to me, it was an indulgent way to showcase the collection and hotel setting.
9. Karl himself. I love seeing him—he never changes: silver ponytail, sunglasses 24/7, starched collar, suit jacket and skinny jeans. He’s an icon.
10. The after-party was epic. No one whispered a peep about the surprise performer, so when Bryan Ferry took to the stage, the crowd of models, makeup artists, editors and celebrities took to the pool deck and danced all night.
See exclusive shots from the Chanel Cruise Show: