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May 15, 2012 9:51AM

Chanel Cruise 12/13 Show in Versailles

Our photo diary from Chanel's Cruise presentation featuring Karl, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Paradis, fountains and champagne.

Versailles might be one of the most significant and opulent chateaus in the world, but throw an hour-long queue, unsolicited commentary and a few fanny-packs in the mix and even its charm can wear thin — which is clearly why Karl Lagerfeld took it upon himself to restore it to its former glory tonight.

Just hours ago Chanel held the latest Cruise presentation in the grounds of Versailles, and they didn’t mess around: car service (shout out to my man Sackara), champagne, Tilda Swinton, a catwalk surrounded by fountains (they were obviously there already), Vanessa Paradis, and more than fifty looks to add to my wish list of things I will probably never own.

After two weeks of wacky spring weather Chanel even made sure the sun was shining, and the collection was perfect for the occasion: summery and sweet, models sashaying along the gravel wearing creepers and baby doll dresses in white diaphanous fabrics with embroidered appliqué. Big sun hats and skimpy swimwear also made a cameo appearance, as did a handsome man carrying a quilted Chanel watering can — Karl really thinks of everything.

After the show guests were ferried in open-air carts to another part of the grounds, where a glasshouse had been constructed complete with chandeliers and tables covered in white tablecloths (I may or may not have gasped when I saw this). Here, champagne, oysters, hors d'oeuvres, and some (delicious) unnamed slow-cooked meat were served. There was even a live salad bar set up — “live” in the sense that the chefs literally chopped the leaves from the living plants. See photo evidence.

Apart from the food (which was obviously a highlight for me), Karl, Towering Tilda (as she will now be known), Haider Ackermann and Vanessa hung out with us real people, and as exciting as that was I decided to semi-stalk some mysterious elderly American woman with mean style instead. I think she was from Texas and was evidently important — she definitely looked like the type who has seen Versailles without the tourists before.

Words: Alice Cavanagh
Photography: Alice Cavanagh using an iPhone and a Canon G1X