Chanel in Dubai
How can we forget the first Chanel show in Dubai, for its Cruise 2014-2015 collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld? Onto an artificial island, the designer delivered the first humans, dropped by abras, traditional boats covered with red tents, which left from a shore lined with vertiginous buildings of glass and steel. “The next step, the new reality”, enthused the creator, dazzled by the dizzying growth that the emirate had experienced in but a handful of years. This did not prevent him from offering an Orientalist collection, at the crossroads of East and West, of Arab tradition and European modernity, with some cultural appropriations such as keffiyeh fabric, and caricatures including those bags in the shape of jerry cans, which at the time made people smile rather than cry foul.
“It’s my idea of a romantic and modern Orient, a new telling of the Thousand and One Nights,” he had soberly commented, and no one had found fault with it. In 2016, Chanel also invested in Cuba, which had just welcomed Barak Obama, the first American president to pay an official visit to the country since 1928. The memorable fashion show in Havana opened up a new era of tourism for an island long marginalized by the Cold War.