Chanel Cruise Collection 2018/19

More than just a tradition, setting out on a journey for the Cruise collection is a highly anticipated rendezvous.

It’s the guarantee of a change of scenery, of beaches, of beauty and discovering a place, an era, an art de vie.

 
Chanel: Cruise Through


 

When Gabrielle Chanel presented a small collection in Fall 1919, intended for holiday resorts and Biarritz in particular, did she have any idea she was initiating a fashion movement? Did she know she was bringing forth the first-ever Cruise collection? American Vogue sensed the thrill, revealing in its November issue that year, that the couturier’s designs, although “do not differ particularly from those which she exhibited last year,” formed a collection that “differs entirely from anything else shown in Paris at the same time.” Lighter and imperatively more comfortable, the sweaters and unlined designs in jersey were ideal for yachting, spa towns, seaside resorts and sun-drenched destinations like the Riviera and Venice with Lido beaches. Six years earlier, in Deauville, she created outfits inspired by sailor suits that she revisited in woolen jersey, then in silk jersey. They were as soft as they were fluid, practical for daily wear, without ever losing CHANEL allure. From sailor to cruise ship, there was but one step.

Gabrielle Chanel pushed the cursor of this small line — judiciously wedged between two seasons — even further. Responding to her own needs, she added suits and evening dresses for holidays and luxury cruise ships, then very fashionable for a life “of destinations” that pierced the cold months of a Parisian winter with rays of sunshine. In a December 1933 article, Harper’s Bazaar revealed the originality of “Cruise clothes.” Again in December 1936, L’Officiel de la Modediscovered “a very complete mid-season collection” that perfectly illustrated the unique concepts behind the fashion of Gabrielle Chanel: to never be like anyone else, to swim against the current and to make her own desires and lifestyle her principal sources of inspiration. A sea lover, she sailed at length on the yachts belonging to the Duke of Westminster, the Flying Cloud and the Cutty Sark. It was while docking in Monte Carlo on the Flying Cloud that she discovered the village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and fell for the charm of a domain that from 1929 would be home to her property, La Pausa. It was on this same boat that she met architect Robert Streitz, to whom she entrusted all the work on her Provençal residence.

With her irreverent tomboy style, Gabrielle Chanel was occasionally seen on the deck of these boats heckling with Bendor, as the Duke of Westminster was nicknamed, sporting Bermuda shorts or wide-cut men’s trousers and an oversized gilet that we today would call oversized. She was often seen basking in the sun, eyes shaded by her famous sunglasses. The woman, who reveled in her freedom more than anything, felt what all women would soon be dreaming of: a fashion for now and for the future, visionary in every detail. Gabrielle Chanel didn’t need to prove her talent anymore.

And neither does Karl Lagerfeld. At a time when fashion had almost turned its back on the so-called Cruise collections, the designer spun the ship’s wheel the other direction. As soon as he arrived at the helm of CHANEL in 1983, he breathed new life into this small line that exists between two seasons. It has continued to grow, becoming one of the most important moments of the year. It is not just about slipping a few swimsuits and light dresses in between other designs or simply responding to the needs of those who seek sunshine in the winter. Karl Lagerfeld transformed Cruisewear into a line that anticipates the warmer day — a completely renewed wardrobe, never stuck to the previous season or the one to come. A collection in its own right, with its own story, its own identity, its own inspiration, quick to nourish desire and brighten the gaze. A collection that embodies traveling in all its forms, real or imaginary, temporal or historic. One that the designer wanted to land all over the world like a magnificent postcard: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Venice, Saint-Tropez, Cap d’Antibes, Singapore, Seoul, Cuba and even Versailles in the XVIII century and Paris, metamorphosed into the epicenter of Ancient Greece. To dream, to let the imagination float away on reinvented tweed, diaphanous lace, a colorama imbued with sunshine, a sublime woman in a little black dress…isn’t that ultimately what fashion is all about? Is it not for this reason, among others, that CHANEL is like no other and will always be CHANEL?

It’s almost anchors away, so we wish you bon voyageand a beautiful Cruise.

##

With love,

FWO