What Cubans Got to See of Karl Lagerfeld

Nonardo Perea

Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld

HAVANA TIMES — On May 3rd, I was left with the desire to enjoy the aged and renowned Karl Lagerfeld and his retinue of glamorous models.

Since hearing the news months before about his visit to my beautiful Cuba, I thought the fashion show would somehow be enjoyed by the people, or at least those interested in those types of events. However, to my and many people’s surprise, things didn’t transpire as they did with the Rolling Stones.

This time around, I dressed up for the ball but didn’t get in, because, when I got to the Paseo de Prado promenade, I discovered it was impossible to get close and I was assailed by a feeling of being a second-rate citizen, denied even the possibility of enjoying a fucking fashion show.

It’s that I enjoy fashion a lot and I would have liked to savor the show, as a Cuban living in Cuba who feels that that part of Havana also belongs to him, as it does each and every one of us.

We have the right to enjoy certain developments that are part of an ongoing history, built every day and every year, even that fashion show, which wasn’t even announced on the news. I wonder why that was.

I also wonder how much money did they pay to close off the entire street and to own the place for a few hours? Why the decision to turn it into a private showing? Is this how things go in other countries?

Why didn’t Karl Legerfeld simply go to Hollywood and recreate a set with the appearance of the Prado to stage his show there? He wouldn’t even have needed to hire Latino extras, as he made it very clear he didn’t want any human being of Cuban nationality around him, not unless they were Party bigwigs who do use Chanel and keep abreast of the latest in fashion, as many of them can travel freely to wherever they please.

I believe the best thing Cuba and Havana have is their people, those people who, despite not knowing much about these fashions, would have attended the show to be able to witness something truly new, people who would have even enriched the whole performance. But no, this gentleman opted to leave the people with several photo series, currently on display at the Factoria Habana gallery located on O’Reilly Street, Old Havana.

Photo exhibition on display in Havana by Karl Lagerfeld

Many of the people who went there are perhaps unaware it’s the same artist who rented the whole of the Prado promenade to make his whim a reality, to realize his dream of being in Havana, so much in vogue these days, and that he didn’t care one bit about the Cuban public.

The photographs of his work are good. They have the quality of an artist with a budget and big ideas, ideas that can be put into practice when one has every resource within reach.

I won’t deny I enjoyed the exhibition fully. I am very much attracted by the world of fashion and some of my work is fashion-related, though, of course, not of the quality of the work by this respected personality in the world of art and showbiz.

To be honest, I really wanted to see the artist and his models in person, just out of curiosity, to confirm if, seeing them up close, I could be moved by the show, as I was moved by the Rolling Stones concert.

I am of the belief that, when a work of art, be it a photograph, a song or a simple written phrase moves you, then it has value, even though every human being has a unique perspective, seeing things in their own, different manner.

I hope Karl Lagerfel will return to Havana and that, next time around, he will be altruistic and give the Cuban people an opportunity to enjoy the show, and to also discover his work as he is totally unknown to many here in Cuba.

Click on the thumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery. On your PC or laptop, you can use the directional arrows on the keyboard to move within the gallery. On cell phones use the keys on the screen.

Nonardo Perea

Nonardo Perea: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

25 thoughts on “What Cubans Got to See of Karl Lagerfeld

  • May 24, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    The first sign of loss of rational, adult debate is name calling and personal attacks towards people which you know absolutely zero about.

    You’re on quite a roll today.

  • May 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Carlyle, that’s a cheap shot that’s beneath you. You know nothing whatsoever of me. “Fleshpots of Havana?!?!” Give me a break.


  • May 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

    You are entitled to support and admire narcissism.
    Thanks for the greetings!

  • May 24, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Don’t be sorry, just accept that all the world is not going to accept your views or mine. Just take another look at the photograph above of Mr. Lagerfeld. Self-adoration personified.
    I would welcome you leaving the fleshpots of Havana to experience the life of the average Cuban. Bet you don’t live in Marianoa.

  • May 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Yes, I now understand exactly what you mean, and it’s a total misunderstanding on your part how the real world works.

    Are you honestly suggesting that the Channel show should have been a free-for-all, open to anyone? Seriously?

    That’s ridiculous. You are making no sense whatsoever.

  • May 23, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Sorry I am not a native speaker but lets explain in more detail. The Cuban dictatorship was established (supposedly) with the purpose to end inequality in country. For more than half a century it has been preached to the people and taught in our schools that we all have the same rights and the same living standards, that we should be able to enjoy everything there is in Cuba and, in return we should support the dictator and renounce to many political and civil rights. We have been told the consequence of not doing as mandated was to revert to the inequality of capitalism.

    With this in mind, it is not at all incomprehensible that many Cubans feel cheated when there are events that are interesting to them but to which they are not allow to attend, while the Cuban elite does participate.

    Now that capitalism is going back into Cuba, on the hand of the PCC, Cubans are waking up to the lies they have been fed all these years.

    May be now you and your English class understand what I mean.

  • May 21, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Sorry, we have no clue what your statement means. My English class has no clue what you’re saying either. We think that you’re saying something utterly nonsensical about a very simple situation.

    Try again. Be more clear, Thank you.

  • May 21, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I comprende everything, Cariyle. Your response is still nonsensical. Sorry.

    I really wish you’d visit me here in Havana.

  • May 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    After more than half a century of a government instilling egalitarian ideas into the population, what is there to be incomprehensible?

  • May 19, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    What I comprende is a completely nonsensical comment that is trying to take some kind of a meaningless cheap shot against an old over-the-hill international artist.

    With all due respect almost all your comments about the Chanel show have been clueless. (As well as the the writer of the ridiculous article above.)

    Sorry to be so blunt, but you just don’t get it.

    Cheers from Havana.

  • May 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Re-read Nadia Pett’s comment to which I responded. She wrote: “He is a very private person” to which I added: “But adores public attention.” You will note below that Nadia Pett fully understood my comment. Comprende?

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    No, the point is naive/entitled people like the author of the article (and some posters on this thread) believing that all Cubans should somehow be magically granted automatic entrance to a show like this.

    It’s incomprehensible.

  • May 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

    “These shows are not open free-for-alls anywhere.” Neither anywhere there is a socialist government crowing about how egalitarian it is and criticizing the inequalities of capitalism. That’s the point.

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:44 am

    What in the world does your comment have to do with anything?!

  • May 17, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    No, actually, he likes the money that public attention brings; not the attention itself. And even the money he doesn’t find a hurrying proposition now that he’s had loads of it for years. It’s a job he’s had his whole life. It’s all that he knows how to do. And let me tell you, he’s a very lovely man when you get to know him. The persona and the real person are two different things.

  • May 17, 2016 at 9:17 pm


  • May 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    You’re off on a crazy tangent. There’s lots to be angry about regarding the situation in Cuba but calling this particular show a farce just because “normal” Cubans couldn’t see the show is silly.

    The Prado was packed with Cubans who were invited. Lots and lots of Cuban designers, artists, stylists, etc. were in attendance along with the usual useless bureaucrats and Havana hipsters.

    Thinking that the crowd control would have been different at any other venue in the world is very naive. These shows are not open free-for-alls anywhere.

  • May 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    All the moaning/whining about “normal” Cubans not being able to see the show is hugely misplaced.

    The Prado was packed with Cubans who were invited. Lots and lots of Cuban designers, artists, stylists, etc. were in attendance along with the usual useless bureaucrats and Havana hipsters.

    Thinking that the crowd control would have been different at any other venue in the world is very naive. These shows are not open free-for-alls anywhere.

  • May 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    That BBC comment Sandra, reflects the skill with which Raul Castro Ruz and the Propaganda Department of the PCC have managed by political cosmetics to fool the world into believing that undefined ‘change’ is occurring within Cuba. For the people of Cuba, there is no change. The regime has over fifty seven years developed and refined a system of total power and control which they are not going to relinquish.
    A relatively few people in Havana are able to attend the ‘show’ events – although with the Chanel farce only the ‘special’ people like members of the Castro family were able to attend, do not reflect the population at large – Cuba is 1300 km from one end to the other and the population at large does not possess the resources to travel to Havana and attend events there.

  • May 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

    But adores public attention.

  • May 17, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Someone should have peed on Mr. Lagerfeld from the balcony of El Club de los Arabes. That’s what Mella would have wanted.

  • May 17, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Darling…Join the club….It is as much as everyone else gets to see of Mr. Lagerfeld. He is a very private person…Not to mention, getting up in age. Not to worry, he’ll be back.

  • May 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for your comments, we share the sentiments, so we are doing something about it. visit http://www.cubaninternationfashionweek.com. There is a group of Americans in high in the fashion world who want to see Cuba’s fashion industry grow and celebrate the gifted people that create and design cuban fashion

  • May 16, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    My first thought was to share your hurt and anger, but then I ask you , are you so different from the millions of us out there who would face the same rejection? But then I rarely revere celebrities especially those who believe their gifts and talents put them above the rest of us.

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