Chanel Cruises Into Havana, Showcasing Style and Questions
After President Obama and the Rolling Stones: Chanel. On Tuesday, just days after the first American cruise ship in almost 40 years docked at the Havana pier, the French brand became the first European fashion house since Castro seized power in 1959 to stage a show in Cuba.
The runway event kicked off both the official cruise collection season, which stretches to mid-June and involves a messy mix of small presentations, designer chats and a few extravaganzas à la Chanel (still to come: Louis Vuitton in Rio, Gucci at Westminster Abbey, Dior in Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, England) but also a potential — still mostly potential at the moment — new relationship between the island nation and the style set. The connection might finally replace ye olde clichéd Cuba, with its romanticized decrepitude, sorbet shades and old convertibles, with something a little grittier and more realistic in the designer mind.
这场时装秀不仅正式开启度假系列季——系列季将持续至6月中旬，包括小型时装秀、设计师访谈，以及几场有关香奈儿的华丽演出（即将举办时装秀的还有：路易威登在里约热内卢；古驰在威斯敏斯特教堂[Westminster Abbey]；迪奥在英国牛津郡布莱尼姆宫[Blenheim Palace]）——而且有可能（目前依然主要是一种可能）开启古巴这个岛国和时尚界的新关系。这种关系可能最终以设计师角度的、更真实、更现实的事物，取代人们对古巴陈旧的固有观念：被浪漫化的老朽，鲜艳的冰糕色彩，以及老式折蓬轿车。
Although perhaps not quite yet, judging by Chanel.
Held on the Paseo del Prado, Havana’s main thoroughfare, in front of approximately 600 imported guests, including customers, editors (though not me; I watched the show via live stream) and celebrities (Gisele Bündchen, Vanessa Paradis, Tilda Swinton, Vin Diesel), as well as various residents who could be seen hanging over the balconies of apartment buildings lining the avenue, and watching from the street, the show featured the designer Karl Lagerfeld’s signature mixture of muchness: 86 looks, including a few men’s wear styles, all of which ranged from the elaborate to the everyday, with a bathing suit thrown in for good measure.
这场时装秀在哈瓦那的主干道普拉多大街(Paseo del Prado)上举行，面对着约600名从国外赶来的嘉宾，包括顾客、编辑（不过不包括我，我通过流媒体直播观看了时装秀）和名人（比如，吉塞勒·邦辰[Gisele Bündchen]、瓦妮莎·帕拉迪斯[Vanessa Paradis]、蒂尔达·斯温顿[Tilda Swinton]和维恩·迪塞尔[Vin Diesel]）以及很多当地居民——他们在大街两旁的公寓楼阳台上观看或者在大街上观看。这场时装秀包括设计师卡尔·拉格菲尔德(Karl Lagerfeld)标志性的丰富服装混合，共计86个造型——其中有几个男装造型——既有精致服装，也有日常服装，还额外奉上一款泳装。
There were wide-legged pinstriped men’s trousers under relaxed bouclé jackets and sheer calf-length organza guayabera shirt dresses in shades of gray with strategically placed pockets. Leaves of the Monstera deliciosa plant wafted from the full calf-length skirts along with a whiff of Hemingway. There were army green short suits with brass-buttoned shirts finished in macramé fringe, and striped, body-hugging knits and picnic plaid dresses. There were light-as-air white crocheted lace dresses and sparkling pastel sequined party frocks with puffed whipped-cream sleeves.
Oh, and there were panama hats and berets (very Chanel, very Che) and a male model carrying a Cuban cigar. Also silk prints of 1950s Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles in gumdrop shades and souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Coco Cuba,” which were kind of cheerfully tongue-in-cheek but also teetered uncomfortably on the verge of let-them-eat-cake-dom. Especially at the end when a Cuban band accompanied Mr. Lagerfeld and his host of dancing models down the avenue to the lights of a few hundred iPhones as all of the guests started madly using Instagram (or Snapchat or whatever) to record the moment. Check out the video.
After all, the average wage in Cuba is still around $25 a month. As ABC News pointed out, the show “was a startling sight in a country officially dedicated to social equality and the rejection of material wealth.” Before the event, Yoani Sánchez, a Cuban journalist, posted on Twitter numerous pictures of the security cordon around the avenue.
毕竟，古巴的平均工资依然是每月25美元左右。就像ABC新闻(ABC News)指出的，这场时装秀“对这个官方上追求社会平等、排斥物质财富的国家来说是令人吃惊的景象”。时装秀开始前，古巴记者约安尼·桑切(Yoani Sánchez)在Twitter上发了很多场地周围警戒线的照片。
None of this has escaped Chanel, which has no official history with Cuba — it was not an inspiration for Coco or anything — and has been quick to note that showing there was simply a creative decision, inspired by Cuba’s “cultural richness.” All reports about the event have noted the “warmth” with which it was received, as Sarah Mower wrote on Vogue.com. Beforehand, Emilio Estefan, the Cuban-American musician, told New York magazine’s The Cut that he approved of Chanel’s initiative because “the more people that go there and show them the free world, that’s great for the Cuban people.”
这些都没逃过香奈儿的注意——该品牌与古巴没有渊源，它不是以椰子为灵感——它很快指出，在那里举办时装秀只是创意决定，是受到古巴“文化丰富性”的启发。就像萨拉·莫厄尔(Sarah Mower)在Vogue.com网站上写的，关于这场活动的所有报道都指出，它受到“热情接纳”。时装秀举办前，古巴裔美国音乐人埃米利奥·埃斯特凡(Emilio Estefan)在接受《纽约》杂志(New York)The Cut栏目采访时说，他赞赏香奈儿的这场活动，因为“更多人到那里展示自由世界的情况对古巴人民很有益”。
There is no question that simply holding such an event in Havana brings both global attention and real investment to the city. It is expensive to put on such a large show, especially because the jaunt included dinners, parties, sightseeing — even a “Cuba Revolution” tour (ahem). That is a good thing. Who is to say those benefits do not far outweigh the moral ickiness of promoting very expensive clothes for the very few in a country where no one can buy such clothes? (Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, says the brand has “zero” business in Cuba.) It is easy to get on a high horse from afar. And perhaps the simple act of forcing the issue, of being in Havana and being faced with the contemporary truth of the country instead of its appropriated image, is the best way to start grappling with it.
It’s probably no accident that among the candy colors on the runway, Mr. Lagerfeld consciously included many shades of gray.