Backstage At The Chanel Cruise Fashion Show in Singapore

Photographer Andrew Miller recently attended the Chanel Cruise fashion show in Singapore. Here in his own words, Andrew describes the event and the looks from head to toe.

Karl Lagerfeld transported his entourage to the steamy summer city of Singapore for the Chanel cruise show. Forty-seven models, Peter Philips and Sam McKnight found themselves ensconced in the nineteenth century English Hotel Raffles.

The home of the Singapore Sling, Raffles was modelled after the colonial plantations in Malaysia with its long bar once overlooking the beach. The hotel is now miles from the shore and surrounded by skyscrapers including the Marina Bay Sands with its rooftop pool 57 storeys up. Singapore, alongside Hong Kong, has now been transformed into one of South East Asia’s luxury brand centers, featuring two Chanel boutique stores together with many other high fashion brands.

The show amazed the audience with the contrast between its apparent simplicity yet complexity in construction and materials. The inspiration for the show was drawn from a number of colonial monochrome shots where Karl had seen the whitewash of the building contrasted with the black of the woodwork. He even saw simple fishermen dressed in white jackets with black fringing, the classic colors of Chanel and a virtual replica of the high fashion Chanel jacket.

Pieces in the collection also paid homage to the origins of Chanel from the days of business in Deauville by using jersey fabric in their construction. The playful cricket themed items also perfectly reflected the colonial aspects of the location with models wearing sweaters and pads. Pieces in the show featured oceans of pearls, beaded embroidery, feathers and latex gilded lace. The multicultural theme of the evening was illustrated with French directors explaining an English game to Lithuanian and Chinese models at a show in Singapore. They couldn’t seem to comprehend the idea of standing behind a heavy, solid wooden bat whilst facing a rock hard leather ball approaching you at 100 mph and calling it a game. The simple act, however, showed an attention to detail with the models exuding an air of authenticity as they casually strolled along the runway.

The minimalist chignon created by Sam McKnight and the makeup created by Peter Philips continued the anarchic rebellious theme from Fendi with a restrained air befitting the World Heritage location at the Loewen cluster Dempsey Hill in Singapore. The simple yet sophisticated makeup displayed exaggerated black on the upper eyelid, with highlights of silver and the elegant blue liner drawn close to the lower lash line.

The production team for the show descended on the location transforming the stark white and black period buildings housing the event into a minimalist show space with an elegant garden party in the balmy Singapore evening. The decaying grandeur and former use of the show space, formerly a plantation and British Army barracks, perfectly captured the idea of the ultimate cruise location in a permanent summer. Out-of-town guests were terrified with stories of standing on startled snakes in the tropical grass.

Michel Gaubert directed the sound track for the show and also selected the musical entertainment for the after party following the second show. Actresses and models from the two films created by Karl which was screened at Raffles were present at the shows and stayed on. Dakota Fanning and Clotilde Hesme attended the shows together with the models from the film and all the favorite Chanel girls, Kati Nescher, Cara Delevigne, Lindsay Wixon, Xiao Wen Ju, Soo Joo Park, Agne Konciute, Sui He, Marine Deleeuw, Ashleigh Goode, Stella Tennant and Ameyline Valade. The whirlwind schedule, however, did take its toll on even the liveliest of souls with Cara Delevigne claiming a good hour or two of sleep backstage between the shows.

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