French fashion house Chanel has staged its runway show in Communist-ruled Cuba, the first of its kind since the 1959 communist revolution.
Fashionistas from around the world gathered at a Paseo de Prado’s leafy colonial promenade, which was transformed into a catwalk for the display of Chanel’s Cruise collection, in the Cuban capital of Havana, with former President Fidel Castro’s son in attendance.
The fashion event highlights the warming of relations between the Caribbean island and the West almost a year after Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic ties.
Celebrities, including Tilda Swinton, Gisele Bundchen, Vin Diesel and Kendall Jenner, attended the show.
However, Havana’s residents could only watch from behind the cordoned area or peep from balconies as VIP celebrities arrived at the show in colorful antique sedans.
Fidel Castro’s grandson, Antonio Castro, who is also an aspiring model, was seen prior to the fashion show.
The Cruise collection is reminiscent of the pre-Communist days when wealthy Americans vacationed on yachts in the Caribbean to escape the dreary winters of the West.
Karl Legerfeld, the head of Chanel’s creative helm, arrived at his fashion show wearing a sequined Ralph Lauren jacket, ironically, and claimed the show was inspired by Cuba’s “cultural richness.”
The opening show of Chanel's 2016-17 line offered a startling spectacle in a country that rejects material wealth, and the opulent display of luxury on the ramp may provide reasons for opponents to criticize the government on failing to deliver on its promise of social equality.