A Chanel model shares her view of Cuba

Posted: 04-Jun-16 14:48

Chanel Model Soo Joo Park is revealing more than just high fashion in the latest online edition of Vogue magazine. The fashionista is recounting her travels to Cuba, filling the online pages of the magazine with eight exceptional GIFS, showing her personal visit to the island with exclusive backstage memories of the famous Cuban fashion show, as well as flavourful examples of life on the island.

A Chanel model shares her view of Cuba

Known around the globe for her platinum blonde locks and her haute couture, Chanel model Soo Joo Park is just back from a fashionable trip to Cuba, and is bringing her adventures to life through Vogue magazine.

Park is a favourite of the fashion house, one of the models that helped unveil Karl Lagerfeld’s Resort 2017 collection in Havana’s Paseo del Prado in early May. A just published article by Vogue writer Steff Yotka shares the model’s experiences in her own words, accompanied by a a series of annimated GIFs.

Park documented her trip to Cuba with travel shots taken from her own camcorder, something Yotka notes the model often posts on her Instagram feed. In all there are eight GIFs, accompanied by commentary from Park on the things she saw and experienced while visiting Cuba.

The first GIF shows vintage-era cars and pedestrians on a Havana street. While the model admits she was busy with the fashion show, limiting her time to explore the city, she did find time to stroll from her hotel, Hotel Saratoga, stunned by the surrounding city and architecture of Paseo de Prado. Park suggests the facades of many of the buildings she viewed were noteworthy, but some of the rest of the structures have not held up over the years.

Park adds:

“Still, I felt the city alive and vivid through washed-out pastel colors everywhere and elaborate ornamentation on the buildings. Add vintage cars and friendly Havana locals hanging out on their balconies or sidewalks… every romantic notion of Havana felt true.”

In the next GIF, readers see Park’s view strolling Paseo del Prado to Habana Harbour. She suggests the more beautiful beaches were likely outside of central Havana, which she did not visit, but still found the sea air at the harbour a refreshing change from the city’s humidity.

Another GIF offers a sweeping view of Havana from the rooftop pool of Hotel Saratoga. Park attributes the feeling of this experience to one she once felt in another city halfway around the globe a decade ago:

“There was a sense of rawness that I had felt in Berlin when I visited it 10 years ago as a teenager.”

While on the rooftop Park also showed off a selfie with fellow Chanel model and Lagerfeld godson, Hudson Kroenig. He too was in Cuba for the fashion show and was making a Vogue photo diary alongside his younger brother, Jameson.

The next few GIFs take readers through rehearsals and backstage antics before and during the show, including one of fellow models lounging on a city bench while model Binx Walton sang, “It’s a beautiful life”. This was followed up by Park and model Emmy Rappe taking close-ups of themselves in some of their favourite runway accessories, a sequined black beret and white straw fedora that played homage to Chanel and Cuba.

When the fashion show was complete, Park and the other models showed off the pastel-coloured vintage convertibles, which they travelled in to reach Plaza de la Catedral for an after-party. The model says the crowds of people clamouring to get a photo or a handshake from them surprised her. She said:

“I felt like a pop star… but I really don’t think they knew who we were!”

As for the party itself, Park knew it would be a good one, but says this one far surpassed her expectations. While a big rainy and muggy outside, she shares the experience of watching traditional Cuban dancers, invited to perform for the crew by the show’s music leaders, Ryan Aguilar and Michel Gaubert. Parks gushes:

“We danced our night away in a whir with mojitos and Cuba libres in hand.”

The Chanel fashion show marked the first time a major luxury fashion brand has made a showing in Cuba in more than 50 years. Its took place on the division line of Centro Havana and Old Havana, a famed location lined with restaurants, shops and cafes called El Prado avenue.


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