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Chanel Stages First-Ever Cruise Wear Show

June 13, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ Tiny minis, brisk bike tights and beautifully cut jackets set the pace for the Chanel cruise wear shown in the original Rue Cabon salon where Coco herself once presided.

It was Chanel’s first show devoted to cruise wear ″though we have been making it for years,″ said Chanel’s designer, Karl Lagerfeld.

″This was my idea, to have an intimate lunch show to launch the between- season clothes and set them off,″ he said at a catered champagne lunch after the show Tuesday.

Top couture seamstress directors work better ″when they know they’ll be admired by the press and a larger audience, not just in a showroom,″ he added.

The line of clothes for ″cruising″ - whether aboard a boat, in the street or at polo clubs - looked like sharp versions of what Lagerfeld has been doing for a couple of seasons at Chanel, for whom he has been head designer since 1983.

He topped most of them with beautiful, oversized boater hats.

Neat and put together well, they looked angled to sell. They ranged from beautifully cut navy shantung jackets with patch pockets to little robin’s-egg blue or tea-rose pink boucle suits. The details were sharply etched.

The late-day wear featured some beautifully classic black-and-white outfits in crepe de chine and pleated shortie chiffon skirts, Lagerfeld’s original vision of Chanel of yore.

He also featured his current favorite shades of hot coral, peach and soft wisteria for next winter’s sunny resort wear.

For those with great figures, the skintight navy jersey sailor suits with middy-style tops were worn with gold-buttoned bermuda or corsair-length clinging pants.

The only criticism was that it all looked terribly Junior Miss, even in beautiful boucle tweed suits featuring raspberry or lime plaids - fine for young girls and older sophisticates like Audrey Hepburn, but perhaps a bit flighty for the likes of French politicians’ wives, who often favor Chanel.

″Many women can wear these clothes,″ said Lagerfeld, hinting that perhaps a few skirts will come out longer in the boutiques.

Lagerfeld himself wore a blazer and tie with a cameo tie clip, his usual ponytail, and dark glasses by Christian Dior.

The little Chanel trapeze-line coats with their double-breasted gold button effects and the light pink poplin pants suits evoked luxury cruise liners in 1958, when Lagerfeld was a teen-ager learning design in Paris.

But the traditional quality was there as well, and Chanel was proud to show it off up close.

The cruise line wear is not cheap: Outfits will be in the $2,000-plus range, on a par with the ready-to-wear.

With Lagerfeld at the helm, the world’s most copied house is stil keeping a jump ahead of the rip-off artists.

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