The fashion world’s glitterati has descended on Havana for Chanel’s show in Cuba. Chanel became the first major fashion house to send models down the catwalk on the Communist-ruled island, highlighting warming relations with the West, with Fidel Castro’s teenage grandson Tony in attendance.

Wealthy fashionistas and celebrities from around the world flocked beneath klieg lights on a grand Havana colonial avenue transformed into a private runway on Wednesday night, including supermodel Gisele Bundchen and actor Vin Diesel.

And with hundreds of security agents holding ordinary Cubans behind police lines blocks away, Bundchen joined Tilda Swinton as well as Cuban music stars Gente de Zona and Omara Portuondo to watch models sashay down Prado boulevard in casual summer clothes inspired by the Art Deco elegance of pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

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.’

Chanel Fashion Chief Bruno Pavlovsky told Reuters that the label was uncertain at first if it could hold the show, but said Cuban authorities had been ‘very welcoming and helpful.’

But as police swarmed the area in the hours before the show, virtually all residents of the capital were swept behind yellow barricades and unbroken lines of uniformed and plainclothes police at least a block away.

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl




Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl




Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Cuba is transformed into a fashion runway by Chanel and Karl

Founded by Coco Chanel in 1909, privately-owned Chanel is one of the world’s most recognized labels and the second-biggest luxury brand behind LVMH’s Louis Vuitton.