“What will Karl do this time?” It’s all the time on folks’s minds as they make their manner by means of the entrance to one in every of his trend extravaganzas. The extraordinary scene usually begins to unfold the second you stroll up the steps to the Grand Palais.
The scene for this 12 months’s Cruise 2018/19 isn’t any totally different. There are gaggles of excited selfie-taking friends displaying their affection for the model by carrying head-to-toe ensembles.
I see the makings of a cruise liner as I stroll by means of the doorways, however earlier than I enter, I gently place my Gabrielle tote inside the scanning machine. The lady behind me remarks, “It’s like a vending machine for gorgeous bags!”
Next, I head into the fantasy-inducing scene, the place everybody’s cameras are actually abruptly centered on the gigantic luxury passenger ship that has been constructed for the event. It’s been christened La Pausa after the title of the dwelling Chanel constructed in 1929 in the south of France.
“This is insane,” says Phoebe Tonkin once we chat after the present. “This is like a movie set. Every time I go to a Chanel show, they manage to one-up themselves. This is as amazing as it gets.”
The assortment—a parade of sailor pants, stripes and free-flowing shark-tooth-patterned clothes—has a particular ’80s ethos with its cropped jackets, curvaceous shoulders and cinched-in waists. But the sea-inspired seems additionally echo the authentic intent of the line that Coco launched in 1919. At the time she was designing clothes for the Mediterranean-sailing beau monde who required wardrobes that suited their posh but stylishly relaxed yachting way of life.
I ask Tonkin the place she would go if she had been on a jet-set getaway. “I’m leading that life a little bit now, being in Paris,” laughs the Australian-born actress. “But I think I would go to a secluded island where I could read, drink margaritas and sunbathe.” Tonkin says she’d deliver alongside any of the minidresses in the assortment. “I love everything short!” she laughs. “And I also love the berets, especially when they’re paired with a seasonally inappropriate outfit, like a T-shirt and jeans.”
Caroline de Maigret is one other front-row common at the Chanel exhibits. The mannequin/music producer is the co-author of “How to Be a Parisian Wherever You Are” and he or she’s recognized for perfecting that legendary French je ne sais quoi type. At first I don’t acknowledge her once we are launched as a result of her signature completely tousled French hair is pulled into a superbly messy updo. She’s additionally carrying an extended, form-fitting gown from the Fall assortment—versus the extra boyish understated denims and Chanel jacket she normally wears.
If you suppose years of front-row entry has left her feeling a little bit nonchalant about attending one in every of Karl’s trend exhibits, you’d be flawed. “Wow, when I entered the space tonight, it’s not even like you can say ‘Karl did it again,’” she says. “He did it even crazier and more genius than ever! It’s what fashion should be. It’s about making us dream; it’s about glamour and fun.”
I ask de Maigret to explain her dream jet-set life. “My life is that way!” she laughs. “I travel all the time to the most exquisite places. When I’m there, I meet people who know all the secret little spots and they take me there. I also love to be by the sea. Most recently I was in Hong Kong. I had never seen the beach area, but a friend of mine has a place there and it was so beautiful and so cool.”
And what’s going to this jet-set type icon be packing on her subsequent journey? “The first look in the show—the one with the black-and-white striped trousers,” she says. “They were amazing. I also loved all the prints with the shark teeth and the flowy dresses. I thought they were very chic yet easygoing.”
De Maigret, who’s an envoy for the model, says she’s all the time impressed by what she calls a “pack” the home has with the ladies who put on Chanel. “You know you will always be elegant,” she explains. “You will always be graceful—that’s quite rare nowadays, so I cherish it. I also find that it’s a classic house yet at the same time you’re never like the others. There’s always something a little bit more intellectual in the pieces you’re wearing. There’s always something that pushes the outfit a bit further than just a regular black dress or a regular white shirt.”
She’s additionally impressed by Coco and the life she led. “She was kinda punk in her time,” says de Maigret. “It was quite special for a woman to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. She wasn’t from high society, yet she made it the way she wanted to. I like adventurous people like that. I think that’s the only way for me to live my life. I always want to have fun and do new things.”
Now it’s time to board the passenger liner and social gathering. “Have you been inside yet?” asks de Maigret. “It’s a boat with a concert hall, sofas and bars. It’s remarkable!” She then gracefully makes her manner up the gangplank and disappears by means of the door to affix Captain Karl at his desk in the centre of a white ballroom beneath a starry clear sky.