Chanel stage ‘cruise’ fashion collection in Cuban capital, Havana: The first international show since the 1959 communist revolution.

by Melissa Hoyer • 14 Jul 2016

IN A global fashion first, Karl Lagerfeld presented his Chanel 2016/17 Cruise collection in Havana on the island of Cuba: a historic yet playful revolution that will go down in the annals of Chanel’s fashion files.

The main street of Havana in Cuba played home to the Chanel Cruise collection unveiling. Picture: Chanel

In fact, it was the first international fashion show in the Cuban capital since the 1959 communist revolution.

A swag of celebrities, including Tilda Swinton, Gisele Bündchen, Vanessa Paradis and Vin Diesel gathered on the leafy Prado promenade that had been turned into a runway for the show.

While Cuba and the US restored diplomatic relations last year it was Cuba’s “cultural richness” that inspired Chanel designer Lagerfeld to focus his collection around the controversial country.

Cruisin’: Chanel does dressing gown chic for the Cruise 2016 Cuba collection. Picture: Chanel Source:Supplied

In December 2014, an agreement between the United States and Cuba, popularly called “The Cuban Thaw” (brokered in part by Canada and Pope Francis) began the process of restoring international relations between the two countries.

This thawing is obviously following through to fashion “Western” institutions like mammoth catwalk fashion shows, Chanel being first design house off the mark.

Quintessential Chanel cruised into Cuba and showcasing its cruise collection. Picture: Supplied Source:Supplied

The show took place on the Paseo del Prado, Havana’s main artery and symbol of the links uniting Cuba and France with the Prado having been redesigned in 1928 by a French landscape architect who at every crossroads positioned eight spectacular bronze statues of lions — Mademoiselle Chanel’s fetish animal.

The show started with an opening passage affirming one of the major cruise silhouettes: masculine-feminine with long, masculine jackets worn over wide trousers with turn-ups, flat two-tone shoes, shirts belted with fabric and, naturally, Panama hats.

Some of the trends Chanel brought to the fore included cycling shorts delicately rhinestones and embroidered with camellias; multicoloured palm tree prints; scooped necklines; puffed sleeves; feathers; pencil skirts; a Cadillac print and lots of cigar-inspired clutch bags.

Colours included baroque facades of an old town like Cuba with yellow, pink, orange, turquoise, smokey browns and bright green the big stars.

The classic Chanel jacket on kids (!) and a cigar and Cadillacs on a bomber jacket. As you do. Picture: Chanel | Source: Supplied

After the show, the party continued at the Plaza de la Catedral in Havana Old Town, and while the majority of Cubans don’t even have a Chanel store let alone be able to afford a piece of designer fashion, the party decor was all hand made by Cuban craftsmen and women. Good to see the French house contributing to the Cuban economy.

Chanel cruises into Cuba with Gisele Bündchen as a special guest. Picture: Chanel  Source:Supplied

The man: Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld. And a very cool kid model. Picture: Chanel | Source:Supplied






Melissa Hoyer

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