Resplendent in a purple satin jacket, Karl Lagerfeld smiles broadly as he strides across St-Tropez’s Quai Jean Jaurès, rhapsodic applause showering him from the surrounding audience as well as the balconies above—“like waves of love,” as Anne Baxter describes such a moment in All About Eve. Not that Lagerfeld has any cause to look over his shoulder, as Bette Davis did in that long-ago film. He is the undisputed rock star of Chanel, its Sun King, the man who revitalized an empire and ushered in its golden era (perhaps that’s the reason for the purple—Lagerfeld knows it’s historically the color of royalty).

As the actual sun dips below the horizon, the finale perfectly timed with the violet hue cast across St-Tropez’s harbor, we are applauding the clothes he has sent down the runway, a Chanel Cruise collection that explores boho-inspired luxe and modernity at once. But we’re also applauding the ingenuity of this meta moment, the idea that Lagerfeld has made us willing participants in a journey that is equal parts remembrance and discovery.

The 10 Best Looks at Chanel Cruise

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