Chanel cruise shows are the stuff of legend. There was the time Karl Lagerfeld took over Havana's Paseo del Prado, Cuba's historic boulevard that leads to the city's cultural center. Then the time Lagerfeld outdid himself, staging a marina inside the Grand Palais. Chanel boasts a long list of thematic sets like a rocket ship, a sea of icebergs, an Eiffel Tower replica, a supermarket, a carousel, a waterfall, and more that serve as centerpieces at the house’s elaborate fashion shows. But now we may never know what could have been for Chanel's 2019 cruise show in China.
Last month, the French fashion house announced it would present its cruise collection in Hong Kong, but is now reconsidering due to the city's social unrest, WWD is reporting. On Sunday, a protest in Hong Kong drew 1.7 million people, the second-largest amount of demonstrators since the political unrest began in June. “Like all brands present in Hong Kong, we are keeping a close watch on events, and have not yet made a decision,” Chanel tells WWD. The protests have been peaceful but the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights still issued a statement of concern.
The protests started in response to a law that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China, but Hong Kongers have continued pro-democracy protests amidst financial distress. The city is in danger of slipping into a recession in the third quarter, its financial secretary warned earlier. In addition, the city has seen several store closings over the past few months. The protests have also impacted mainland China, where the news is censored, keeping Hong Kong's shopping demographic away.
We'll be sure to update this space as Chanel decides one way or another what it will do about its upcoming cruise show. The presentation will be the first cruise show since Lagerfeld passed away and if it is anything like its fall 2019 couture show, we expect the new creative director, Virginie Viard's personal style to materialize in the collection.
This story was updated on August 23, 2019.