Last night, Chanel took its 2016/17 Cruise collection to Havana, marking the first international presence in Cuba since before the 1959 communist revolution. Staged on the historic Paseo del Prado, models walked the marbled streets as front-rowers took to street benches; guests arrived at the event, meanwhile, in vibrantly-hued vintage Chevrolets and Cadillacs. Curious as to why, according to the luxury house, the show “will go down in the annals of Chanel’s spring rites”? Read on for Wonderland’s account!
Lagerfeld took extensive inspiration from the guayabera, a traditional Cuban shirt characterised by closely sewn pleats and front pockets. His daytime interpretation of the shirt, reimagined as a delicate blouse, was paired with relaxed, rolled-up chinos; for evening, the shirt was refigured in black transparent organza.
The collection didn’t simply draw on Cuban clothing, rather expanding its gaze to the local character of Havana. A riotously vivid palette – yellows, greens, pinks, oranges – evoked the old town’s baroque facades, whilst deep brown and tobacco tones were drawn from the works of pre-eminent Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam. The vintage cars for which Cuba is famed weren’t forgotten, rendered in candy-coloured prints on fluid dresses and cut-out blouses.
According to Chanel, part of the show’s ethos was ‘terribly chic with a dash of scoundrel’. A voluminous tiered petticoat was topped with a mess jacket, waistcoat and tie, whilst ringer t-shirts reading ‘Viva Coco/Cuba Libre’ were tucked into pencil skirts. Spectator and saddle shoes diffused the prim-and-proper air of mid-length skirts and dresses.
The ‘scoundrel-chic’ sensibility was perhaps best encapsulated by the opening look, sported by Lagerfeld muse Stella Tennant. The British model wore an unbuttoned shirt with rolled up trousers, cinched at the waist and accessorised with spectators, chunky pearl necklace, classic chain clutch and rakishly angled Panama.
Tweed, Denim and Khaki
Need we mention that Chanel’s heritage tweed featured heavily? In pink and blue pastels, the famed threads appeared here as a pencil skirt-suit, there as a playfully frayed skirt and bag combo. Styled with ringer t-shirts, light pastel blazers and slouchy crochet bags, tweed was revitalised with a breezy irreverence.
A khaki two-piece took further inspiration from the guayabera – embellished embroidery mimicking the shirt’s archetypal closely sewn pleats – with a short-sleeved shirt worn open over a Breton striped tee and tailored khaki shorts. Denim jackets, meanwhile, were littered with pin badges; one standout? A transcendentally Instagrammable tiny Chanel avocado with logo-stamped pearl stone.