Chanel stirs excitement and unease in old Havana today as it stages its first Latin American fashion show in Cuba.
Karl Lagerfeld, head designer and creative director for the fashion house, says, “The spirit of these collections is to conjure up images of distant horizons. They are inspired by a theme or identity that is often associated with a new destination. There is nothing folky or nostalgic about it; the idea is to capture the ambiance of a place, to draw inspiration from its landscapes, to be influenced by its people, its light, its culture, its colors.” His inspiration derived from the, “cultural richness and opening up of Cuba.”
Today’s fashion show (2017 Cruise Collection) is in the open-air catwalk on the Paseo del Prado, a long seaside boulevard, among crumbling old buildings. The contrasts contain deeper cleavages in a country rich with a cultural affinity for art and fashion yet utterly lacking the resources to enjoy material possessions.
Chanel Fashion Chief Bruno Pavlovsky told Reuters the label was uncertain at first if it could hold the show but said Cuban authorities had been, “very welcoming and helpful.” He also noted the fashion house does “zero” business in Cuba and that the decision to show the cruise collection in Havana was purely a creative one.
This is how Cuba-born Gloria Estefan reacted to the news about Chanel’s Havana event this week: “That’s wonderful,” Gloria said at the Actors Fund gala on Monday. “The more people that go there and show them the free world, that’s great for the Cuban people.”
Lagerfeld is in Havana this month to present his 2017 resort collection for Chanel, but before the runway event takes place, the designer will also debut an exhibition of his photography in the historic city.
Yesterday, Supermodel Gisele Bündchen made a Cuba appearance. Rumors suggest she may be part of the event.