On Monday, Karl Lagerfeld took his cool ladies, like Tilda Swinton and Carine Roitfeld, to Cuba, and not to the fussy MET Gala filled with cheesy Balmain-gowns and Kim K klan. In fact, everybody thought that Manus x Machina event in New York, and its “galore”, would dim Chanel – but all eyes were on swirling, organza skirts and Stella Tennant’s chic show opening. Dressed in a classy Cubanos smoking, with over-sized collars and pantalons, the monochrome colour palette dynamically evolved into peach-pink and lemon-yellow silhouettes. Floaty dresses, 50s car prints on t-shirts and functional flip-flops – joy and easiness was perceivable along Paseo del Prado, scented with male models’ cigars which were smoked nonchalantly during their walk. Debutante dresses were all about the embroidered, slightly tattered sleeves, showing an homage to Hispanic ruffles which are so popular on the colourful streets of Havana. Even the show venue, a public street, didn’t feel like previous, slightly pretentious resort shows by Chanel – Ibeyi, French-Cuban twin-sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz performed a soulful, temperamental song just at the beginning of the show. By the end, models, guests, Cuban passersby and the designer himself, danced… and it all looked like a cheerful parade of wearble fashion and Latin attitude.
Of course, these clothes will cost their average, Chanel prices – but still, Karl and his team managed to pull it off in a casual way. Showing a Chanel collection on the streets of a communist country might be risky, and in effect look too distant and Euro-posh. But to my surprise, the collection was a laid-back line of carefree styling, without much of pressure on Cuba’s culture and references. Focusing on a diverse casting (big plus for the brand) and relaxed leisurewear, Lagerfeld has effortlessly started the Resort 2017 season – with grace, and in Cuban rythm.
Collage by me