Oil Rich: Chanel Riffs on Dubai + the 10 Most Outrageous Chanel Bags

After a spin in Dallas for pre-fall, it only made sense for Chanel to hightail it to another oil-rich locale, and Dubai, with its millions of millionaires (we haven’t fact-checked the exact number) isn’t too shabby a follow up.

Because Karl Lagerfeld likes to have some fun, the beautiful, covetable cruise ’15 collection he showed just yesterday also has a few less practical, more… curious… items. For instance, this gem:

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Dubai = Oil = $$$$$ = Chanel = Perfect Sense. (That’s the extent of my Fashion Math.)

Too literal for you? You haven’t seen anything yet. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane with 10 of Chanel’s most outrageous bags of the past few years.

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Dubai Opening: The Living Room at the Grand Hyatt

If only one’s living room could actually look like this. Indeed, the new HBA-designed The Living Room at the Grand Hyatt is like a lavish ’round the world tour.

Perhaps it should have been called The Living Rooms since it encompasses three lounges, each with its own special geographical inspiration: The Velvet Lounge is all Middle-Eastern flash, with lots of purple, magenta, and gold; the European Lounge is dressed up in Louis XV opulence, with a peek-a-boo portal into the Velvet Lounge; and the Chinese Lounge just drips with silk fabrics and flamboyant, glittering chandeliers. And should the decadent atmosphere steer you into over indulgence (and why wouldn’t it?), there is a new and also HBA-designed Ahasees Spa on site for body revivification. What we call living…

New York Opening: Hakkasan

The restaurant that first taught Londoners back in 2001 that Asian food can be utterly life-altering (as well as bank account-altering). A couple of Michelin stars and Dubai and Miami outposts later, Hakkasan’s celebrated mod Cantonese cuisine has finally found a home in NYC.

Located along a rather noir-ish stretch of 43rd St., stepping inside is nevertheless like entering a fantastical glamour bubble. Indeed, the 11,000-square-foot space houses a marble entrance hall, a long bar, the Ling Ling Lounge, and elegantly sexy dining areas separated by intricate Asian lattice work. Chef Ho Chee Bon, who has done time at Moscow’s Turandot, mixes Hakkasan classics (Roasted Silver Cod with Champagne and Chinese honey–yum!) with dishes conjured from locally-sourced ingredients. The Hakka cocktails are a must.

Top of the World: The Highest Places to Get a Drink

Opened in March 2011, Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is 118 floors up, overlooking all of Victoria Harbor. They serve pan-Asian tapas and signature cocktails in an exciting, weirdly futuristic setting that takes up most of the floor.

Shanghai is home to two notably elevated hotel bars that compete on a nightly basis for the city’s elite. The Grand Hyatt’s Cloud 9 is on the 87th floor with a 360 degree view of the city; it’s a surprisingly intimate atmosphere for such a dramatic space. The Music Room on the Park Hyatt’s 92nd floor is more of a clublike atmosphere, with live music, DJs, and an extensive cocktail list.

Unsurprisingly, the highest bar in the world is in Dubai, where they do everything just a little bit bigger. At.mosphere is on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where it’s a destination for visitors seeking an incredible view of the city, as well as locals hosting some very memorable business lunches or a drink in the upscale lounge.

It may not set any records, but The Penthouse at the top of the Hotel ME Madrid is one of the prettiest views of any city, anywhere. Created by Rande and Scott Gerber with their signature laid-back, high-end atmosphere, a private elevator brings you to an elegant rooftop, with plenty of beds for laying back and enjoying the view of the Plaza Santa Ana, as well as the crowd of beautiful people that populate the terrace.

The 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok Hotel is given over to two elegant, though slightly different, outdoor spaces: the Vertigo restaurant, specializing in seafood and steaks, and the aptly-named Moon Bar, a glittering open-air lounge with a panoramic view of the city.

Dubai Preview: Palazzo Versace

Designer hotel wars continue apace, with Signore Armani opening in Milano this fall, and a London Bulgari Hotel scheduled for early 2012. But surely the most extravagant of them all will be Dubai’s Palazzo Versace, also expected to debut in early 2012.

More like a mini Versailles than a hotel, we got word that the first show residence is now ready for viewing, and thus thought a sneak peak would be in order. Hardly surprisingly, the debut 4,732 square foot private living space has no truck with minimalist restraint. Rather, it unabashedly flaunts a sort of Habsburg-by-way-of-South-Beach-by-way-of-Athenian-Empire glamour, centered on a grand reception room (we do hope “drawing rooms” will make a comeback). Mosaics, marble floors, and exclusive Versace furniture (think: silk armchairs) abound.

The 5.5 hectare resort itself is ensconced in the new Culture Village, Dubai’s fanciful effort to add a cultural sheen to its seemingly mercenary character. Plans call for 213 lavish suites (in addition to 169 private residences), plus a spa, a Versace ready-to-wear and jewelry boutique, an Italian restaurant, and assorted pool-adjacent tippling options. Oh, and naturally, a private marina.

Next year will mark the 15th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s tragic murder. In the resplendent grandiosity of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, clearly, his august spirit will live on.

The Burj Khalifa Is Now an Accomplice to Murder

Poor Tom Cruise. Until now, he was the one to have pulled the ballsiest stunt ever associated with the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Not anymore. As ardent followers of all things Burj Khalifa (to us, it will always be the Burj Dubai), from it’s not-so-humble beginnings and onwards, we report with great sadness that the world’s tallest building is now an accomplice to murder.

Reports indicate that earlier today a man performed the first recorded suicide at the Burj, leaping from the 147th floor of the 209-level building. His trip was cut short, however, when he landed on a terrace on the building’s 108th floor. Bummer. Not much additional information is available, but apparently the man worked at a company housed inside the building and was recently refused a holiday request.

The Tom Cruise Crazy Meter Scrapes the Sky in Dubai

When our very own Chris Mohney visited Dubai back in May of ’09, the world’s tallest building was still under construction. The growing Burj Khalifa (then called the Burj Dubai) had long been a source of fascination for us, so Chris mustered all his courage and, from the safety of a nearby building, filmed the imposing structure in all its stratospheric glory. The Burj Khalifa has instantly shattered the lenses of lesser men, but somehow, with nothing but a video camera (camera phone?), Chris managed to capture the entire beast, lobby to radio tower. But, once again, he’s been one-upped by none other than the shortest superstar in the world, Mr. Tom Cruise.

Over the weekend, Cruise proved yet again that he’ll stop at nothing to be the craziest motherfucker out there. Cruise was caught on camera scaling the side of the 2,717 ft. behemoth, all in the name of his upcoming movie, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. Cruise has long been the West’s answer to Jackie Chan: a short, perennially smiley action star who does his own stunts. But with this, he’s reached extraordinary new heights (pun very much intended). In what promises to be an unbelievable scene, Cruise, hanging from the observation deck on the 124th floor, runs across the building and jumps over a less famous, equally insane actor. A helicopter hovers ten feet away capturing the action. Suddenly, Chris’ video seems less exciting than we initially thought. Full comparison below.

Tom Cruise running across the Burj Khalifa:

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Chris’ video:

Raffles Dubai Opens New Fancy Lounge, Drunkards Rejoice

If you’re an alcohol fan and you find yourself in the United Arab Emirates, you’re going to love Raffles Dubai. The swanky hotel just opened an ultra-modern Chinese lounge called Red LoungeTerrace. It’s one of the only places in Dubai where you can actually booze until 3am on the weekends. Due to the strict Muslim culture, serving alcohol is prohibited in most restaurants (I learned this first-hand when I tried ordering a gin and tonic in Damascus and the server looked at me like I was crazy). But most hotel bars can get away serving – there’s money to be spent here, after all – and Raffles Dubai is part of the exception. What makes the lounge especially unique is that it’s importing Chinese culture, a welcome change from the ubiquitous Japanese-themed lounges.

Red is the first contemporary Chinese lounge in Dubai. The decor is sleek and modern, with tons of dark wood and red hues, and the kitchen serves fancy dim sum like foie gras and chicken sew mai. There’s even an in-house Chinese tea master should you need guidance on their fine selection, though I’m sure you’ll be more inclined to sample the signature RED T cocktail, a concoction of Chinese wine, red berries, basil, lime, and some of the mixologist’s “secret ingredients.” Thanks to Raffles’ prime location in the heart of Dubai, the outdoor terrace harbors amazing, panoramic views of the entire Dubai skyline, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. It’s on the 19th floor, at the peak of the awesome “pyramid” structure of the hotel.

Karl Lagerfeld’s Own Private Island

Karl Lagerfeld, the be-gloved genius behind the Chanel cotton ball, is designing an island. Somehow, this feels inevitable. “The legendary Chanel designer has teamed up with prestigious Miami-based architecture firm Oppenheim and the KOR hotel group to create the manmade island situated 20 km off the coast of Dubai,” reports Vogue UK. The island, dubbed the world’s first-ever “fashion island,” will house not only luxury boutiques, but three highest-end hotels and 150 villas, and should be up and running by 2014. (For some mind-blowing renderings, check out this slideshow.) If you’re looking to set your sights on a cheaper, more immediate fashion project not located in the UAE, look no further than Matthew Williamson, the British designer synonymous with vibrant palettes and graphic prints.

Williamson is launching a lower-priced line called Muse by Matthew Williamson. Diffusion collections – from Zac Posen to Marc Jacobs to Scott Sternberg’s recently debuted sister line, Girl – are a natural step for high-end designers these days. “The British label has created a new license with Italian company Mariella Burani Fashion Group and will unveil its new collection in February 2011,” says Vogue UK. Not much is known about the line as yet, as Williams says details are still being fleshed out, but he describes the look as a younger, slightly less financially secure companion to his current customer. If Williamson’s collection for H&M back in 2009 is any indication, there will be plenty of boldly colored party dresses, spirited accessories, and a few sleek sets of trousers and blazers to boot.