The soothing splash of the rising tide, the distant caw of seagulls circling overhead, and the majestic blast of the ship's horn greeted Grazia, as we clutched the carte d'embarquement that served as our show ticket to Chanel Cruise 2019. In its colourful Cruise world tour to date, the iconic French house has transported the fash pack as far afield as Singapore, Seoul, Cuba and of course Dubai, but this was no far-flung location. Instead, we were in Paris, standing in the shadow of La Pausa, a purpose-built 148m ocean liner, built within the Grand Palais, one of the most awe-inspiring catwalk sets - and after-party venues - fashion has ever seen.
As Grazia took our seat on the FROW alongside the likes of Margot Robbie and Lily-Rose Depp, Chanel Cruise 2019 set sail with a collection that distilled the purest elements of Gabrielle Chanel's original vision for the first Cruise collection she presented Autumn 1919, intended for the beaches of Biarritz. Chanel's centenary Cruise collection featured plays on nautical stripes made modern, manifesting in delicate feathers protected by PVC, or fashioned from trompe d'oeil sequins. Gigi and Bella Hadid took to the portside in round-shouldered tweed two pieces, while Moroccan model-of-the-moment Nora Attal flounced down the runway in a sharks' teeth print accessoried with fingerless gloves and a sequinned beret.
For the rousing finale, Karl Lagerfeld emerged resplendent on the steps of the ocean liner, accompanied by Chanel Studio Director Virginie Viard, flanked by models in the most vibrant prints from the show while Gigi and co. marched down the dock to Pet Shop Boys' 1993 pop anthem Go West, before guests discovered the good ship La Pausa wasn't just a pretty set, but doubled up as the after-party venue complete with piano bar and dance floor - oh yes it (Ha)did!
Photos: Olivier Saillant