Chanel Summers in Singapore

Published June 17, 2013

Chanel always goes on holiday between Paris fashion weeks. From Mumbai in 2011 to Versailles in 2012, Karl Lagerfeld understands the transporting power of a destination collection and knows to break it out for his pre-fall and resort shows. This season, he took Chanel friends and family on a sojourn to Singapore—a perfectly summery place—to show a laidback collection of woven whites and easy, wide-legged looks.

But Lagerfeld never really takes a break, least of all when designing Chanel Cruise. Resort collections are often the hardest-working of the year—they stay on the racks for months driving sales between fall and spring—and Lagerfeld is among the hardest-working designers to put them out.

Last week, Lagerfeld set up a Singaporean cabana at Chanel’s New York headquarters for the collection’s press presentation, and on closer inspection, the collection was much more of a technical feat than its breezy look would let on. Lace laminated in latex, expanses of hand-beaded embroidery, and intricately crocheted patterns all spoke to Chanel’s usual obsession with craft, but here they took on a new, exotic life. A lineup of leather pumps were covered in all-over seersucker, while the finish on another set was treated to look like paint cracking in the summer heat. The black-and-white knit swimsuits in super-soft wool may not have been especially practical, but no matter. They’ll look great lying idly by the pool.