Sisko Akt Presents Cuba Libre

2016-08SiskoThe world is finally opening up to Cuba as the one-time pariah has been embraced by its former foes and everyone is in love with the sights and sounds of Havana. Now, the many layers of Cuba’s unique and captivating history, where the sounds of rumba and salsa complement the vividly-coloured murals, are a source of inspiration for the world’s leading fashion designers.


Valentino looked to Cuba when searching for a cultural theme to inspire the label’s Resort 2017 collection, as did Chanel when its models walked down the open-air catwalk on the Prado promenade in Havana, which provided one of the most extreme demonstrations to date of Cuba’s hot new status on the international art and cultural scene since the declaration of detente with the United States. Birds of paradise, vibrant colour palettes of bright green, turquoise and coral orange, printed skirts and tropical motifs, such as hibiscus flowers, are featured in the Cuba-inspired collections, as well as parrots and butterflies - species closely associated with both Valentino and Cuba.


For years, with its cabarets and casinos frequented by US film stars and gangsters, Cuba had a thriving fashion scene influenced by the pre-revolutionary Art Deco elegance that translated into sequined statement pieces, refined Panama hats and premium hand-made cigars.

However, the Communist principles that ruled in Cuba after Fidel Castro won power in the 1959 revolution insisted on equality, even in clothing. Foreign brands were not available and Cubans had to wear imported second-hand clothes from State-run stores. The authorities called it "recycled clothing", but ordinary Cubans referred to their trips to these official outlets as "rag-shopping".

Cuba entered a crisis after the Soviet Union fell in 1991, as it had financially supported Cuba’s Communist government, and the end of the Soviet era encouraged a rebirth in Cuban fashion. Such an historic change, ocurring in a country which had been officially dedicated to social equality and the rejection of material wealth, has become the inspiring factor in the 2017 collections by Chanel, Proenza Schouler, Stella McCartney, and important magazine editorials.

“The cultural richness and the opening up of Cuba to the world have turned it into a source of inspiration.” - Chanel


Cuba's luxurious abundance is found in its flora and wildlife's richness, in its bright colours, the cheerful rythms of salsa and the musicality of its dances, the expressive artwork and its people's energy. Cubans are characterised as being very creative individuals, always ready to give a helping hand or a warm smile. The fact that they have lived apart from the rest of the world for so long has allowed them to mantain their authenticity and uniqueness. Therefore, Cuba is fast becoming one of the world's most fashionable destinations, as tourists and the style elite seek to savour faded glamour and Caribbean flair before it changes too much.

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