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En fuego.

The US’s new diplomatic relations with Cuba are trickling into fashion

By Jenni Avins

When it comes time to present her collections, fashion designer Stella McCartney creates beautiful, fun, living tableaus: Photo-ready cocktail parties peppered with models and her famous friends wearing her clothes, participating in activities such as ping-pong and painting.

Wearing Stella, at Stella, with Stella: Amber Valletta, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alicia Keys, Stella McCartney, Liv Tyler, Annie Clark, Cara Delevingne, and Miranda Kerr.

This week’s show of her resort 2016 collection in New York was no different, save for a couple of unanticipated guests at the garden party: Fidel Castro and Che Guevara—or at least, their unmistakeable doppelgängers, dressed in sixties-style fatigues, smoking cigars and playing dominoes.

Though naturally some would find such a tongue-in-cheek treatment of a military dictator to be distasteful, the pro-Cuba statement appeared to be more aesthetic than political—as one would expect at a fashion show.

“Castro” and “Guevara” were joined by stilt-walkers, salsa dancers, and a tropical-tinged collection of open-backed juicy fruit-colored gowns, booming florals, and long ruffled skirts with peek-a-boo eyelet panels. (McCartney’s signature suiting separates also made appearances, along with some lovely rib-knits.)

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Tropical punch: Stella McCartney resort 2016.

Now that the US has re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba, American tourism to the island nation is booming, and it seems a natural theme for a resort collection; the season is traditionally timed to land in stores for winter getaways.

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Rhythm and balance: Stella McCartney resort 2016.
Dancers at Stella McCartney’s Resort 2016 celebration.

McCartney isn’t the only one feeling Cuba. Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez credited a March trip to Havana for inspiring this season’s collection: an assortment of loosely woven raw-edged ruffled tweeds and shoulder-baring dresses, punctuated with a graphic palm print.

Sun-kissed shots of Cuba’s architecture, streets, beaches, and residents are increasingly flooding my Instagram feed. Here, a few more to tide us over until getaway time.