Chanel Unveils Cuba-Inspired Collection In Havana

Chanel Cuba
German fashion designer, artist, and photographer Karl Lagerfeld, left, attends his performance for Chanel at the Prado promenade, Havana, May 3. Adalberto Roque/Getty

French fashion house Chanel brought glamor back to Communist-ruled Cuba on Tuesday in a runway show on one of Havana's main boulevards, featuring glittering gowns, tulle cocktail dresses and models in Panama hats smoking cigars.

Chanel is the first major fashion house to hold a runway show in Cuba, highlighting both warming relations with the West and new inequalities on the island. Former Cold War foes the United States and Cuba formally agreed to restore diplomatic relations last July.

Celebrities, including actress Tilda Swinton and supermodel Gisele Bundchen, jetted into the Caribbean island for the show that evoked the elegance of pre-revolutionary Cuba, arriving at the venue in vintage convertibles.

Cuban motifs in the new Cruise line were exemplified in a fabric depicting turquoise and pink vintage cars used for leisurewear such as jackets, a bathrobe and skirts.

Karl Lagerfeld, who has been at Chanel's creative helm since 1983, has said his latest inter-seasonal Cruise collection was inspired by the "cultural richness and opening up of Cuba."