Fashion Shows

Fendi, Trevi Fountain and the Magic of Italian Heritage

Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld in Alta Moda Rome Trevi Fountain, closing runway

Whoever knows me probably also knows how obsessed I am with Dolce & Gabbana—as a brand—and the way in which the designers perform their Italian-ness in very particular ways with each and every one of their collections. But, in many ways, this outward expression of national identity in fashion design is common to Italian designers and fashion houses… And if anyone has any doubts, let me just mention Fendi’s Alta Moda runway show from last week.

Chanel’s Cruise In Cuba

One of the most brilliant minds in fashion is, without a doubt, Karl Lagerfeld—known by many as the Kaiser of fashion. Catapulted into fame in the seventies, in great part thanks to his deep knowledge of the history of fashion, and after having designed for some of the most important fashion houses in the world, the creative director at Chanel is known for his crazy talent, always full of surprises: this time in the form of a runway show at the historic Avenida El Prado, in Habana, Cuba, for the presentation of his cruise collection 2016/17 for Chanel.

El crucero de Chanel en Cuba

Like almost anything created by Lagerfeld, the show was filled with a number of incongruences that, rather than injuring the final result, helped bring the Kaiser’s ingenious creativity to the foreground. In the middle of one of the most important avenues in downtown Habana, surrounded by the historic, though somewhat corroded, architecture of the city, Lagerfeld showed a majestic, luxurious collection.

El crucero de Chanel en Cuba

Far from representing the present situation of the island, however, the collection reveals a warm nostalgia for the times before the revolution, showcasing nothing less than a Cuba imagined by Lagerfeld’s creative genius. This version of Cuba, it is worth mentioning, rescues a series of garments that have managed to stick to the cultural imaginary of the Caribbean—at least as viewed through a European and North American perspectives—focusing on the guayaberas, the “Panama” hats, and the American cars from the fifties… Without even mentioning the dance parade that closed the show, with a suite of models worthy of Chanel but not so much so of the tropical dance lessons clearly absent in their youth.

El crucero de Chanel en Cuba

But beyond the stereotypes, the mélange of vaporous fabrics with the traditional Chanel tweed showed the perfect combination of masculinity and femininity that made Mademoiselle Coco famous and that only Lagerfeld has known to adapt to our times. With an ambiance created by a curious mix of classical music with tones of salsa, together with the beautiful voices of the Franco-Cuban sisters Lisa-Kaindé Díaz and Naomi Díaz (of the group Ibeyi), the show reveals exactly what it is meant to be: a romantic vision of Cuba, born in Lagerfeld’s imagination, combining elements that, in his mind at least, represent Cuba within the language of French elegance in which he is fluent. And the result is nothing other than a faithful example of contemporary fashion: the construction of the present in the design process, through a simultaneous extension to the past and the future.

El crucero de Chanel en Cuba

Cuba, however, might see another result. If Chanel brought 700 people to Cuba, their stay at Habana might have brought incomes never before seen—especially as, on the same day of the show, the first cruise from North America docked in the country’s ports. And all these hundreds of people have done nothing more than bringing the world’s attention to the—idealized—beauty of Cuba: a type of beauty that, almost certainly, a great percentage of the European and North American population have been able to see in the avalanche of images from Cuba that took over social networks thanks to the Chanel show. So if Cuba was not one of the most coveted travel destinations before this week, it would not be surprising if it had become one by now, promoted by the aspirational mechanics of the fashion world. Although it remains to be seen whether those increased incomes from tourism do benefit the island’s population, and not just the ruling class…

El crucero de Chanel en Cuba

The truth is that, in one way or another, Karl Lagerfeld managed to bring Cuba to the center of the world—if only for a week—and the legacy of its “15 minutes of fame” could extend for at least a year. It is likely that the fashion world doesn’t get over Cuba in a while, that Habana becomes the new Tulum of fashionistas, and that the island’s reunion with Capitalism—even if it is only a brief visit—brings higher incomes and benefits to its inhabitants.

Images via The Coveteur. Video courtesy of CHANEL.

Chanel: High Fashion and the Elevation of Ordinariness

One of the most curious things about fashion is that, somehow, we tend to concentrate on the high-end aspect of it. Normally, when we think of fashion, we think of high-fashion brands and the luxurious—and mostly unattainable—lifestyle that they embody, but never really as something that exists in the masses. Fashion tends to be thought of as a sort of “special” phenomenon that occurs under certain situations but not as an ongoing practice that we engage in on a daily basis. However, and even though this aspect of fashion has been largely ignored throughout history, fashion is something that occurs everywhere and everyday, and these aspects of it shouldn’t be ignored.

Fashion Film: Dior And I

Dior And I

About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see the movie Dior And I at a private event held in the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, organised by Dior. I had been wanting to see the documentary from the moment I knew it was going to happen, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed at all!

Dior And I

The movie, directed by Frédéric Tchen, shows the process of creation of the first collection of Raf Simons for Dior, which not only happened to be the haute couture collection, but also had to be done in eight weeks. Which naturally involves a HUGE pressure! The movie not only shows the creative process of such a talented designer as Raf Simons, but it also provides a comprehensive snapshot of the magic that happens in haute couture atéliers, from staying true to the essence of the maison while providing a fresh collection, to the interactions between creative director and seamstresses working in producing the garments.

Dior And I

This last part is probably what I loved the most about the movie. We all know Raf Simons is a creative genius, but in order to make each and every one of his designs come to life he is supported by a team of amazingly talented artisans. Especially in haute couture, each garment is a piece of art that requires hours of intensive and delicate artisanship, which can only be accomplished by the best of the best. In the end, fashion is a form of art, and that is something this movie is not afraid to highlight.

So if you still don’t have plans for the weekend, I seriously recommend you go see this movie. It is absolutely beautiful and mindblowing. And if you feel like wanting to make one of those flower-covered walls for my apartment, I would love you forever!

Love,
Laura
PS. Special thanks to Paula Mendoza and Ariel (from Dior) for making this post happen :) I love you guys!

Christmas at Saks Fifth Avenue

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

Christmas at Saks 5th Ave

We all know I love window displays, and I adore wandering around New York looking at them. I took pictures of the Christmas windows in Bergdorf Goodman quite a while ago, but I hadn’t been able to do the same in Saks Fifth Ave, cause I’m not having a very good relationship with tourists tight now… But I finally managed to force myself to embrace the crowds yesterday, and it was totally worth it!

I loved the displays, but I must confess I sort of loved the pictures I took a little more––I mean, those colours… And I also love feeling the Christmas mood everywhere! I feel like a kid, counting the days until Santa comes visit. So you’ll probably only see Christmas-related pictures for the next 10 days here… Hope you’ll share the joy with me!

Love,

Photography: Laura Beltran-Rubio

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf GoodmanChristmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

Christmas in Bergdorf Goodman

We all know how much I love Bergdorf Goodman—mostly their window displays—so of course I had to go and take pictures of their wonderfully-decorated Christmas windows. I really, really love the theme they chose for this year’s displays—the arts—and I absolutely adored the result. My photos really don’t do justice to the beauty of the displays, so if you happen to be in New York this season, you should totally go see them yourself—and do some shopping as well, naturally!

I actually do walk past BG quite a lot, and every single time I see their window displays it’s as if it was the first time. Maybe I just become a 5-year-old at this time of the year… And I think this is actually fun. It makes me enjoy the holidays more than if I was trying to be a serious adult. And it makes me happy!