How Well Would Chanel’s Sailor Gear Fare at Sea?

A maritime analysis of the French brand's latest Métiers d’Art collection

This afternoon, Chanel staged its annual Métiers d’Art show in designer Karl Lagerfeld’s native Germany. Held in the vast concert hall of the recently opened Elbphilharmonie, Lagerfeld delivered a Chanel-ified take on maritime gear—aye aye Captain. As an orchestra played, models like Kaia Gerber, Soo Joo Park, and Anna Ewers walked the tiers of the space sporting brooch-embellished sailor caps (some even had black veils attached), pea coats, and arm-warmers, all nods to Lagerfeld’s home—the largest seaport in all of Germany—and the wavy interior of the impressive venue. With a notable (read: disappointing) absence of muscled, swarthy, seafaring folk, we thought it fitting to imagine just how well (or poorly) Lagerfeld’s Pre-Fall 2018 items would fare at sea.

1. The headgear

Known in German as “Elbseglers,” Chanel’s version of the classic sailor cap might be a bit too chic for a ship—they were heavily embellished, after all—but the little visor in the front would certainly come in handy during a storm, especially when you’re sporting a face full of sexy, smoky makeup so easily soaked in the squall. Bonus: the veils, made of soft black tulle, would keep the cap from flying off (like they did at the Fall 2018 show) during especially turbulent weather, and/or potentially guard against feisty seagulls snatching them.

2. The braids

We’ll post a separate article devoted to these impressive, Sam McKnight-designed plaits (I mean, they deserve it), but in the meantime, we’re going to go ahead and say that these would make sea-worthy ropes. Any good sailor worth her salt needs to dock, moor, and anchor her boat, and with one Beyoncé-grade flick she could shimmy up the rigging in a jiffy, too. McKnight, who referred to them as “nautical knots,” even threw in some very on-brand fishtail braids for good measure. 

3. The knitwear 

Thrown into the cornucopia of tweed were some seriously cozy knits, some of which displayed intricate patterns. The softness of the cashmere would feel warm and snuggly at sea, where it’s really cold (just ask Jack Dawson), and they could even double as blankets—another maritime must. At the show today, stylist Amanda Harlech paired the sweaters underneath jackets, making it appear as if models were wearing knitted arm-warmers. 

4. The bags

While some models carried boxy little bags connected to long chain straps, others stormed the runway sporting duffel bags over their shoulders. These would, of course, come in handy while setting sail, and are large enough to hold all the provisions a sailor needs on a vessel: extra rope (in case the braids aren’t enough), twine (see: braids), a quilt (if the knitwear is insufficient), and a bottle of rum (yo ho ho).

5. The shoes

Some might argue that heels have no place on a sailboat, but we beg to differ. The footwear shown today included a sturdy, blocky heel (great for running from pirates, “arrr!”) and trendy sailor bows on the front. The leather makes them resistant to water, and if the models today could effortlessly navigate the many tiers of the expansive concert hall while wearing them, then why wouldn’t you be able to navigate a boat? The only requirement here: a good pair of sea legs—anchors away!

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