After taking to the skies for the flight-themed Resort collection he presented in Los Angeles a year ago, Karl Lagerfeld made a splashy landing with the new Chanel Cruise show. His models literally walked on water on a curvilinear runway built over the famously sinuous pool at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach, Miami. If Zoë Kravitz was nervous that they might misstep and fall in, Sasha Pivovarova—who opened and closed the show—said resolutely that she never entertained the thought.

"Everyone associates Miami with the Raleigh's kind of [Deco] glamour," Diane Kruger (in a navy satin minidress and straw hat worn tilted back on her head) said after the show. And the closing performance, featuring the United States synchronized-swimming team, would have made Esther Williams (who once swam in this pool) proud. The clothes themselves, though, nodded to an entirely different era. The 74-look collection mixed rock 'n' roll with seventies swing and high glamour, all rendered with Lagerfeld's forward-minded attitude.

Models with Brian Jones-inspired hair looked as smart in smokings as they did in seventies-style full-legged light-wash jeans, tie-dyed logo tees, and haute hippie headbands. These are sure to be in high demand among the easy-living types who make the rounds of tony beachside resorts, but it wasn't all just sun and fun. A series of elaborately beaded dresses with clear or smoky plastic insets were examples of pure urban sophistication, just as the few goddess dresses were exemplars of restraint. The pistol-heeled shoes—paging Charlie's Angels—were a different story. Lagerfeld's own wardrobe might have influenced the hard-edged looks (silver sequined blazers and black jeans) that the models rocked near the close of a show that was a spectacular in every way. "This kind of production speaks to the importance of the [Resort] market and signals how commercially viable it is," said Saks' Ron Frasch. Perhaps only Lagerfeld, though, can make the whole enterprise seem like so much fun.