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Chanel Cruise 2010: Merchant of Venice

Karl Lagerfeld took Chanel’s cruise show into the charming, old-world atmosphere of Venice.

After New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Monte Carlo, Karl Lagerfeld took Chanel’s cruise show into the charming, old-world atmosphere of Venice.

“Venice has a genuine dark and mysterious side to it that fascinated me. I really like the Italian spirit and the Venetian lifestyle,” said Lagerfeld, sporting a royal blue jacket, white shirt and skinny black pants. “And let’s not forget that Coco Chanel came back to Venice for 10 years.”

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On Thursday night, Lagerfeld took over the beach of the recently renovated Excelsior Hotel on the Lido, a stretch of sand that conjures images of Luchino Visconti’s “Death in Venice” and early-1900s European nobility idly basking in the sun. The invitation — a painterly image of Coco Chanel sitting on the Lido beach — perfectly depicted the poetic setting.

Models coiffed in Thirties bobs strolled down the boardwalk as guests sat on wooden deck chairs. First out was a group of pirate-esque girls clad in wide-brimmed hats and black capes, followed by former supermodel Tatjana Patitz leading a gaggle of fresh-faced beauties in dapper cream sailor dresses with black stripes. Gondola stripes also dominated the knitwear and accessories, especially the open-toe wedge boots worn with most looks.

Venetian references were handled subtly, including black sunglasses reminiscent of Venetian masks, while gold brocade and lamé lace adorning dresses recalled Byzantine details. And classic Chanel bouclé suits with fringed edges came in a Titian-inspired red. The lion, Venice’s emblem and Coco Chanel’s birth sign, appeared as a print on flowy sepia-toned or black-and-white chiffon dresses.

About 300 guests attended the understated show — which was immediately followed by a party — including the actress Rinko Kikuchi, who flew in from the Cannes Film Festival. “So beautiful,” she mused. “In Tokyo, I couldn’t sleep, but here I slept like a baby. The water acts as a lullaby.” It was the first Chanel show for Olivia Magnani, the granddaughter of legendary Italian actress Anna Magnani, who was intrigued by the whole “Chanel spectacle, the setting and the music,” she said. “It was very magical.”


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