It seems there has recently broken out a big surge in the fashion arena with more and more fashion designers strongly determined to reveal their cruise collections en route. And if Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is heading to Westminster Abbey, London to show Gucci’s first ever itinerant resort 2017 collection and Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière is drawing bead on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this time around after Palm Springs presentation last year, for the inexhaustible 83-year-old creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, bunching up the batch of his all favorite fashion figures and setting out to a nomadic cruise collection showcase is nothing out of proportion. However, the Chanel resort 2017 show dubbed “Viva Coco Libre!” and held in Cuba, Havana on May 3, 2016 in the evening was truly paramount as this was the first time to see Chanel tweed jackets or two-tone shoes hitting the passionate Latin American avenues, well, to be more precise, the Havana’s Paseo de Prado.
The dividing line between Old and New Havana was closed that day, with many fashion editors, top models and VIP clients seated on the sidewalk benches and with many citizens massed on the balconies to see that exclusive event. Gisele Bundchen, Tilda Swinton, Vin Diesel were among the guests with women holding Cuban fans in their hands as either a Latin American symbol or just a heat-protector tool, while Lagerfeld’s favorite models Stella Tennant, Mariacarla Boscono, Kendall Jenner, Mica Arganaraz, Lindsey Wixson, Soo Joo Park and of course, Brad and Hudson Kroenig walked at the Chanel cruise 2017 show to expose holiday-ready exemplars a la Lagerfeld.
Everyone was relaxed, full of beans and in high spirits, which was more than expected as the two days prior to the runway show were teeming with pleasant explorations across Cuba, like visiting Ernest Hemingway’s old estate in Finca Vigía or Lagerfeld’s personal photography show in Factoría Habana or just dancing a night out at the famous Tropicana cabaret.
All the guests arrived at the show in convertible vintage cars in bright colors, somehow evocative of a toy vehicle collection of a cool teen boy. So it was all systems go to sit in the open air and revel in those white mannish guayaberas teamed either with tweed jackets or decorated with gargantuan floral brooches, pinstriped yachting pants and many-many tulle calf-length dresses. Gipsy-style long skirts advertising iridescent Cuban vintage taxi cars teamed with “Viva Coco Libre!” printed tees and flip-flops are surely to become new role models over how it is best to dress when heading to the beach.
The tulle dresses in ash grey or khaki shades came with puffed sleeves and pussy bows or showing a delicate beaded lattice. There were also some military touches, mannish tree-piece suits, crocheted and knitted body showing pieces, while the bright blue and pink were embracing some ruffled off-the-shoulder mini and maxi silhouettes. The sparkles enveloped not only long black dresses with feathered sleeves but also pretty French berets. And if there was not any beret there on the model’s head, then it was a straw Panama hat that was making an appearance.
This was all very cruise-ready and playful marrying Cuban flirty essence with French elegance. The finale of the Chanel resort 2017 show was not conventional either; it reached its pinnacle with many models and musicians dancing lively conga steps, while Lagerfeld took his bow decked into a sequined Saint Laurent jacket from Hedi Slimane’s spring 2016 men’s collection.
It seems Cuba has started to open up to the whole world, veering a little bit from the after-Fidel-Castro communism and infusing some capitalism touches. It was earlier this year that President Barack Obama visited Cuba for the first time in 90 years in the history of American Presidents, while in March the Rolling Stones jazzed up the Cuban population with a free concert in Havana and now Chanel comes to be as the first ever luxury brand to make Havana its fashion show venue. “It is beautiful in a way, even if it’s a little neglected — the colors, the cars, there’s something very touching about it. Cuba is like nothing else in the world,” Lagerfeld said. “It has an identity I love, and I always wanted to go, but I need a professional reason.”
Photos courtesy of WWD