2008 May 16

Chanel - Cruise 2009

Chanel Cruise 2009 Chanel Cruise 2009
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(MIAMI) Karl’s got a gun. Several dozen, in fact, and he showed them off at Thursday night’s carnival of a cruise collection, shown quite literally in the pool of South Beach’s famed Raleigh Hotel. A parade of actual gun casings, painted silver, black, and gold, filed down the painted-black curvilinear runway constructed along the interior of the Raleigh’s pool. (“Only Karl,” laughed André Balazs.) Lagerfeld had been inspired by an image of a gun he saw somewhere, and he gave the tear to shoe designer Laurence Dacade, who employed plexi to make them functional. Voila! The “Miami Vice” shoe, as it’s called in Chanel’s ranks, is born. And yes, you’ll see them in stores.

Lagerfeld claimed the Art Deco masterpiece was his primary inspiration for the collection. Really, the pool in particular? “Yes! Very particular,” he confessed backstage, referencing the Esther Williams films that delighted him as a child and inform his aesthetic this season. (No wonder he chose the Raleigh’s Esther Williams suite for his Miami digs.)

Only Lagerfeld--chez Chanel--could translate Art Deco architecture into a collection populated by rhinestone cowgirls. The 74-look show began with a sinister streak of black, opened by Sasha Pivavarova. (Luckily, a handsome lifeguard was perched on an oversized chair to keep any rebels in line.) And then, seventies Vegas--leather pants, pleated bell-bottoms, wide-brimmed hats. And the knits, the knits! Striped pastel sweaters, a throwback to the eighties, were shown alongside printed maillots in cheeky shades of powder pink, baby blue, dove grey. As always, accessories were key, including a particularly memorable evening bag fashioned as a three-tiered chandelier.

Could those feathered, pastel gowns have been inspired by vintage nighties? Nah, given the strappier-than-thou day heels that accompanied them. There were side-pleated hot pants paired with slinky tanks and logo totes--and of course plenty of suiting. But the most delightful looks of all? The simple tank swimsuits worn by the 18 members of the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swim Team, who closed the show in--what else?--a C-H-A-N-E-L formation.