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The Chanel’s cruise 2016/2017 runway show landed in Havana, in Cuba.

Featuring a collection that was a cross between Parisian chic and Latin flair. 

Creative director Karl Lagerfeld named the collection ‘Coco Cuba’. Set against the backdrop of the Paseo del Prado, which was redesigned by a French landscape architect in the 1920’s, it was a strong showing of color and style. With a focus on separates, the show opened with Stella Tennant wearing a Panama hat, open shirt, tailored jacket, pinstriped trousers and embellished brogues.  

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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.” 

Lagerfeld was inspired by an interpretation of the guayabera, a traditional men’s shirt from Cuba that has pleats running down the front and back of the shirt.  

For more feminine looks, the Chanel woman wears billowing dresses belted at the waist and featuring flouncy skirts. 

The look is worn with woven flip – flops or caged sandals. Bags include soft satchels as well a clutch that is shaped like a cigar box – a play on Cuba’s famous good. 

Occasionally, it has to be said that descriptions of spectacular locations can overshadow collections that aren’t so worth writing home about. But with this show, Karl Lagerfeld achieved it all: a spectacular locale at a historic turning point in international relations, and a collection that was relatable, wearable, exquisitely made, and joyfully youthful.  

Trust Karl to find the symbol of French-Cuban entente cordiale in a piece of clothing.  

That would be the beret in this case – ultra – French in origin, but also inescapably Che Guevara. 


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Beata Gliniecka ; Fashion is the love of my life. That's what I'm writing and creating do with passion!

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