Two legends — one a storied fashion house and the other, a performer named John — came together this week in Dubai as Chanel restaged its 2021/2022 Cruise collection for one of the world’s most glamourous audiences.
The show had first been unveiled in May at an old limestone quarry in Provence, France, a region that inspired the flower prints in the collection. The quarry was the location for the film The Testament of Orpheus directed by artist Jean Cocteau, a friend of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s. There was no audience at the presentation so Chanel chose Dubai as the spot for its first post-pandemic destination show with invited guests.
Virginie Viard blended mod and punk vibes for looks that brought a fun edge to the tweed suits and flowy dresses — a bejewelled smock worn over fishnets with holes is just one example of the designer’s playful irony.
There was just as much fashion off the runway, though. Clients, press and stars of the Middle East and beyond busted out the bling with wall-to-wall Chanel including sequinned jumpsuits and glittering evening gowns from recent collections. And even women who chose to cloak themselves in black abayas clutched novelty purses — from a grapefruit-sized pearl to a giant bottle of Chanel No 5.
Star power included Penelope Cruz, who was cruising the scene in a white Chanel suit cut out in the back so a twinkling logo pendant dangled against her smooth skin. But it was John Legend who shone brightest — the singer flew in to perform five songs including the duet “Minefields” with Canadian-Moroccan singer Faouzia.
“It’s our first performance live in the same room together,” Faouzia pointed out before the show, relaxing in black satin pants and a turtleneck dotted with pink CC’s before changing into a white miniskirt and blazer for the stage. The pair had performed the song live once before for a Kelly Clarkson show but that was virtual, with Faouzia in Canada and Legend in LA.
Faouzia’s love of Chanel is a family affair — her sister and mother’s fragrance of choice is Chance. “Every time I smell it, I think of them. So even when I’m travelling I can be brought right back to them, just with a bottle of perfume.”
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