Coco “Cuba” Chanel: A Bold And Fun Cruise Collection

Eccentric fashion guru and designer Karl Lagerfeld presented the Chanel 2016/17 Cruise collection on May 3rd, in a very exotic and color-infused environment, in Havana, Cuba, and what a marvelous backdrop it was! Havana’s main street and symbol of the links uniting Cuba and France, Paseo del Prado, formed the perfect setting for the show. Standing proud at every crossroad of the street that was redesigned in 1928 are eight impressive bronze statues lions, Mademoiselle Chanel’s fetish animal, and an obvious sign that the Prado was predestined to host Chanel’s latest show.

14_Cruise 2016-17 collection - Finale pictures by Olivier Saillant
picture by Olivier Saillant
13_Cruise 2016-17 collection - Decor pictures by Olivier Saillant
picture by Olivier Saillant

The new cruise collection is simply stunning! Each and every piece has such a unique vibe; an artsy yet elegant statement that every fashion savvy woman would love to make. One of the collection’s pillar designs merges a masculine-feminine silhouette, a chic touch downscaled by a hint of scoundrel, spanning across several looks. In the same spirit, Lagerfeld reimagines the “debutant dress” in an amalgamation of bold modernity and boyish femininity.

While the rascal chic look dominates the new collection, its underlying theme is a virtuoso interpretation of the guayabera, the traditional lightweight open-necked shirt with pockets and typically having short sleeves. The Chanel version of the Cuban shirt is mischievously dubbed “Cuban tux” by Lagerfeld. It can be worn as a diaphanous blouse during the day, over rolled-up chino trousers, or as a sensual black, transparent organza blouse, worn with a very tightly belted “sfumato” black and almond green flared skirt for an evening outing.

Other quirky items of the collection include adorable denim and khaki tweed shorts and jacket suits, a parka in fringed tweed, short-sleeve shirts with fantasy embroidered decorations, audacious cycling shorts finely rhinestoned and embroidered with camellias in “Chinese shadows”, a top decorate with multi-coloured palm trees, incredibly feminine and fluid jackets and dresses with scooped necklines, rhumba-inspired pencil skirts, and extremely creative dresses featuring Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac prints in candy shades. Fun accessories took the form of woven flip-flops, caged sandals, crocheted backpacks and multi-coloured, patterned, soft bundle bags.

The color palette draws inspiration from the vibrant baroque facades of the old town: yellow, pink, orange, turquoise, bright green and coral orange flavor up the dresses, sequins and embroidered tweeds, while tobacco and Havana hues add a spicy touch to some of the items, leaving the monochrome tones to the shadowy, smoky blacks and whites.

As no Cuban experience is complete without a Panama hat and a cigar, the collection also boasted Panama hats by Maison Michel, and a ‘must-have’ “cigar box” reticule, a nod to the Cocohiba. We just love that one and you know we need it in our wardrobe!

picture by Anne Combaz
picture by Anne Combaz

And when Chanel and Cuba meet, a party is in order! The post-show party danced onto the baroque and hedonistic Plaza de la Catedral in Havana Old Town, within an extraordinary tropical décor set up with furniture and decorative objects handcrafted by Cuban natives. Some 600 guests, including Chanel ambassadors Gaspard Ulliel, Vanessa Paradis, Gisele Bündchen, and actresses Tilda Swinton and Geraldine Chaplin, celebrated the new collection in a musical and colorful ambiance.

It’s definitely time to channel your inner Chanel!