Chanel Cruise Makes A Luxurious, Polarizing Debut In Havana
The Chanel 2017 Cruise collection made its debut (and, yes, history) in Havana, Cuba this weekend. Rumored to be Karl Lagerfeld’s final show, it was naturally a complete and utter spectacle, requiring an entire weekend to do it justice.
Certain noted guests were invited to spend their time trekking from one luxurious locale to another, including marvelous restaurants and the homes of famed writers, leading up to the night of the runway show. The show itself, located on Havan’s iconic Paseo de Prado, was stunning, beginning with supermodel Stella Tennant in a fifties-inspired ensemble, and ending with a large scale conga line. In between there were suits in every shade of pastel, trilby hats, and vintage T-shirts giving homage to “Coco Cuba.”
Still, there is this feeling of fetishization that comes with the spectacle– the privileged “glitterati” as so many articles have termed them spending a weekend partaking in the foods, the customs, the top downs and the “coco-cabs” whilst remaining ultimately untouchable. Lagerfeld reportedly had each venue that was used during the weekend long event fumigated against Zika, venues which included the non-Cuban Ernest Hemingway’s mango-tree lined abode and the very same Atelier restaurant attended by the president and first lady during their own historic visit. Guests were driven to the show in a series of candy colored top downs.
Tim Blanks of Business of Fashion best described the oddness of the setting. “The fundamental incongruity of the moment was lost on no one,” he wrote. “Cuba is very poor, Chanel is not. Cuba is only now relaxing from the rigours of Fidel Castro’s communist dream, Chanel has long benefited from different dreams, the ones Karl Lagerfeld realises with the bottomless capitalist resources of a huge French fashion house.”
That is not to say that this visit was totally problematic. Certain notable locals were invited to attend, Cuban girls walked the runway amongst some of the most iconic names in the business, and Cuban band Ibeyi, last seen in Beyoncé’s Lemonade, performed. And this was an event which not only brought in vast amounts of wealth to the community, but a look into another culture as well. This world of vast European luxury is so different from a country that has spent decade upon decade officially rejecting material wealth. To witness this way of life, to experience it even at a distance, is exciting in itself simply–it tears at the boundaries of the known.
Images via Vogue and The Guardian.
Stay tuned to Milk for more fashion shows in slightly problematic locales.