Chanel's Mothership Lands in Central Park

Joggers, cyclists, and stroller moms were no doubt enduring whiplash-inducing double-takes yesterday morning as famed London designer Zaha Hadid's epic, orb-like pavilion for Chanel joined the ranks of other Central Park dwellers like the Hans Christian Andersen statue and the children's carousel. Despite the brand's historic conventions, the pavilion feels more like a hold-over from 2001: A Space Odyssey, all glossy white walls and neon lights. Hadid herself even said how much she likes that the space "lands, creates a buzz and disappears." Can't you just picture Chanel fanatics going all Close Encounters and trying to communicate with the giant quilted craft: "Coco? Can you hear me?"

Inside the cocoon are a series of exhibits in homage to Chanel's iconic 2.55 quilted handbag, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Granted, this giant advertisement for the label is not entirely unlike Haruki Murakami's Louis Vuitton store within his Brooklyn Museum exhibit, but honestly, wouldn't we all have preferred a celebratory discount? Think of the Queen's Jubilee! At any rate, in keeping with New York's other "what the-!" installations (see: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Gates," and Olafur Eliasson's waterfalls), this mobile installation will take flight on November 9, when it heads to London, Moscow, and finally Paris. Classically, advance tickets are already sold out, but apparently you can show up when it opens and pray for an opening on the wait list.

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