BEHIND THE LENS
CABANA TALKS: MIAMI, FLORIDA WITH CHANEL
Fourteen years after the iconic Cruise 2008/09 collection was revealed at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach by the hand of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel returned to the shores of Miami Beach on November 4th, 2022 with its replica of the Cruise 2022/23 collection runway show, this time with Virginie Viard at the creative helm. The Faena Hotel served as the backdrop for the Miami installment of the runway show originally presented on May 5th, 2022 in Monte-Carlo.
As the unofficial capital of Latin America, the Magic City welcomed close friends of the brand from all over the region. Amongst the Latin guests in attendance were Ana Beliza Mercado, Amelia and Elisa Ochoa, Estefania Lacayo, Eva Hughes, Florentina Romo, Nane Miller, Pam Arias, Taliana Vargas and Valentina Hites. Nestled into the red and white striped cabanas with our feet in the sand and the soundtrack of crashing waves, we conversed with these creatives who shared their impressions of the show and their most cherished Chanel memories, while comparing notes on their personal Miami experiences.
LATINNESS: What’s your first memory with Chanel?
EVA HUGHES: It was in 2007 for the Cruise collection show that took place at a Los Angeles airfield. It was very intimate, and had all the elements of an airport lounge. The models came down from a plane and there were departure screens listing Chanel Line flights. Karl Lagerfeld was there, and because only a small group had been invited, I was able to speak with him at length. It was definitely a unique and endearing moment for me.
FLORENTINA ROMO: When my grandmother gave me my first Chanel bag. Then I had the privilege of working for the brand as part of the Public Relations team in Mexico. It was a dream job– I’d pinch myself every time I walked into that office.
LATINNESS: Walk us through a day in your life for a show like today.
ANA BELIZA MERCADO: Oh, they are all so different! Today I woke up at 3:30 AM, took the 7 AM flight to MIA. I’m a mom to two beautiful children so I got in today for the show. I picked up my look for tonight, grabbed a bite with my family at a place we love called Pura Vida, and then set the mood for some glam. I love to style my Chanel looks with a little twist. I snapped a few pictures of the moment and was ready to roll…
VALENTINA HITES: I had a very normal day. I went to the gym first, then to the sauna, which is important for me when getting ready because it makes my skin look better. I did my makeup myself. It was a very calm day, like I was getting ready for any other event.
LATINNESS: How did you get ready for the show?
NANE MILLER: I woke up early to get all of the logistics sorted. Miami is amazing, but beware of the traffic! Since the show came to Miami, I wanted to take this opportunity to collaborate with Miami local creatives. I shot all of my getting ready content at Moe Studio, a lifestyle photo and event studio run by Miami local Daniela Moreno.
TALIANA VARGAS: I got ready with a friend, which is always fun. The nicest thing about these types of events is hanging out with friends and enjoying it with other people. I think that’s the best part. I went to Estefania Lacayo’s house– we were with my family and her family. We took the golf cart out in our very fancy dresses on our way to the show. It was really cool and funny.
LATINNESS: You’ve been to several Chanel shows in Paris and elsewhere. How was the vibe different in Miami?
AMELIA & ELISA OCHOA: This is Elisa’s second show and Amelia’s third. Although it was a replica, the atmosphere, the sea, the sunset, the energy, the sand… each element added its own magic to make it super special and unique. It felt surreal. The setting, the sunset, the sound of the waves, and, of course, Chanel.
ESTEFANIA LACAYO: I was at a show in 2006 in Paris, but had never been back since then. I’m grateful and humbled to have been invited by the brand in my new hometown.
The weather was just perfect. Probably the best we’ve had all year. We danced through the night, all dressed in Chanel with the Latin flavor that Miami offers. Such an epic night.
TALIANA: Miami has this thing that it’s full of latinos, and the latino heart is very strong, so it’s pretty fun and intense. Something so couture and so elegant like Chanel with the Miami vibe and everyone having fun. It was at the beach, so everyone was barefoot. Can you imagine being barefoot at a Chanel show? That only happens in Miami!
NANE: It felt like a celebration. The cabana set-up made it very personal and intimate at the same time. Following the show, the music performance and the party brought everyone together. A true Miami night filled with fashion, culture and music.
ANA BELIZA: You’d think you can have an idea of what you’re going to experience as we’ve seen the collection before, but this was mind blowing. The beach setting was unbelievable and the vibes are just different. It had a tropical beauty to it, a summer easiness, the feel of cool, soft sand on your feet, with a cabana as a seating scheme and a certain kind of flavourness that only Miami can bring to the table.
PAM ARIAS: The vibe was very tropical, very friendly. It was so nice to be close to the water. Personally, I think the show should’ve been in Miami originally. Seeing the ocean, the looks, the runway, the decor, the party, everything was done to perfection.
LATINNESS: Eva, you went to the famous Chanel Cruise 2008/09 show at The Raleigh. What was your impression about the show then versus today’s?
EVA: When Karl Lagerfeld inherited Chanel in the 80s, he reinvented the iconic brand by paying homage to its iconography and Gabrielle Coco Chanel. This collection by Virginie Viard was every inch reminiscent of Chanel’s iconic pieces, like its signature tweed. The collection for the show at the Raleigh was more monochromatic and this presentation brought back the magic that the fashion house has always mastered, classic yet cool, modern and feminine, and a tribute to its legacy, that of the incredible Gabrielle and now of the visionary that was Karl.
LATINNESS: Did any of the looks resonate with your personal style?
AMELIA AND ELISA: Of course they did! We adored the collection because it’s colorful, full of details and textures. The shoes stole our heart. The earrings are on our wishlist and let’s talk about the bags! We adore the “sporty/chic/girly/classic” vibe of the collection.
NANE: I loved the boiler suits paired with heels and the silver sneakers. I’m into boxy silhouettes paired with feminine accessories. I also loved the silver sneakers, and the novelty bags.
ESTEFANIA: Since I moved to Miami, I wear dresses more than ever. I tend to be attracted to dresses that I can wear from day to night. I can see myself wearing look 21 or 25 with flat sandals for dinners.
TALIANA: The short red leather jacket with the shorts. I saw it in Monaco in pictures, and I was dying for it. For me it represents the present, past and future of fashion. It’s always there. The model is holding some flowers, you can even get married in that outfit. It’s gorgeous, it was my favorite by far! I would wear it once a week!
ANA BELIZA: This show, in particular, embodies the humor of the Chanel woman with beautiful gracefulness. The accessories, textile and the silhouettes are made to create a fun moment. My favorite was a pink sequined suit with a low rise.
PAM: I loved the pink look. I also loved the silk shirts and pants. I’m pretty sure I’ll recreate it for myself.
FLORENTINA: I love Chanel, all of it! The elegance, the details in every piece that make every collection a dream. My favorite look was 67.
VALENTINA: I absolutely loved everything, but especially the jumpsuits because they resonate with my family history. We love cars and racing, and I think they’re super chic in a masculine/femenine way. They make a girl look very cool.
LATINNESS: Do you have any tips you can share on places to go while in Miami?
EVA: Discover Coconut Grove, my neighborhood! From the David T. Kennedy, a waterfront park with walking and cycling trails, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which was James Deering’s winter home, to The Kampong, a botanical garden with an Indonesian-inspired house set by a lagoon, which was visited by Winston Churchill, to shopping at the concept store The Bazaar Project, lunch at Peacock Garden, and dinner at Bellini restaurant located at the rooftop of Mr C Hotel.
TALIANA: The best restaurant in the United States is in Miami, and it’s not because it’s my brother’s restaurant, it’s just my favorite: it’s called Los Félix. He recently received a Michelin star. It’s awesome, very chill, very easy to go and hang out, and eat the best food ever. It’s in Coconut Grove and a must.
FLORENTINA: Miami has grown so much in the last decade that it’s worth exploring places that are beyond the obvious. Spend time at the Rubell Collection or the local gallery Spinello Projects to look at contemporary art. Find a way to get on a boat and experience Miami from the water. Bike down Coral Way in Coral Gables and look at the amazing banyan trees. Try a Cuban cafecito at Versailles and you’ll have enough caffeine to check out all the popular spots.
LATINNESS: Any advice for visitors?
NANE: Give in to the heat. Yes there is A/C everywhere, but the magic of Miami is that it’s by the beach. Opt for outdoor restaurants and settings.
LATINNESS: The Chanel Cruise shows always reflect a vacation vibe. Where’s your favorite place to vacation in Latin America?
AMELIA & ELISA: As good Colombians, we love Cartagena. It’s so unique and colorful, full of energy and incredible places.
ANA BELIZA: Cartagena for me will always be a place where you can have everything: island, night and city life with the magical allure of the tropics.
NANE: I love vacationing in Costa Rica. Santa Teresa is one of my favorite places in the world.
ESTEFANIA: So many beautiful places that it’s hard to pick one, but Coatepeque in El Salvador is probably one of the most peaceful places on earth. I also love traveling to Riviera Maya in Mexico. The beaches and customer service is like no other.
FLORENTINA: There’s no better place than Mexico! The culture, the beauty, the people and the food are unbeatable.
VALENTINA: Actually Chile has wonderful beaches and landscapes. Especially Zapallar and Cachagua, and you’d be astonished if you travel to the North or the South, because in the South we have amazing lakes, and in the North we have deserts and skiing.
PAM: My favorite place to vacation in Latin America has to be Panama, of course! I’m not biased at all…
LATINNESS: What look from the show would you wear there?
AMELIA & ELISA: Because it’s warm in Cartagena, the looks of minidresses and shorts in light fabrics would be perfect. We adore this long dress on a light fabric that would look great with a mochila and flat sandals.
ANA BELIZA: A total white, skirt suit that had a vest in a gorgeous lace with a cross necklace and a double C choker.
NANE: I could see myself riding a four wheeler in Santa Teresa in a bikini and the Chanel silver sneakers. For a nice dinner, one of the flowy dresses, and of course, the oversized sunglasses are a must for any vacation spot.
PAM: There were some really cute looks that I think work for Panama. Although we have tropical weather, we aren’t wearing beachy looks all the time. If I’m going to the beach, there was this really sexy swim: it was navy blue and had some rhinestones I believe or some sparkly details at the front. I’d wear it as a bodysuit with some pants, actually!
LATINNESS: As Latins, we all have a connection and a story with Miami. What’s your story?
ESTEFANIA: I grew up in Nicaragua, but came to Miami often. Some of my most memorable childhood moments are here. In 2020 I moved to Miami from New York, and it’s amazing the change I’ve seen in the last three years. So happy to be living here!
VALENTINA: I’ve been coming to Miami since I was a little girl. Many latinos come here so it feels like you have a second family. I love being in places where I feel welcome.
TALIANA: My story with Miami is very new. Last year I spent a year and a half living in Miami with my small babies. As latinos, Miami is the house of everyone. It’s what represents us in many different ways: music, fashion, lifestyle, even culture. But it was just recently that I experienced the love of Miami and it’s such a great place. It’s the best of Latin America and the USA in the same city.
ANA BELIZA: While growing up, Miami was the place for encounters with a bigger world, the clashing of cultures, the place where everything was allowed. As an adult, I feel it’s the place where our Latin heritage has created a voice of its own, and in the process, it permeated everything.
LATINNESS: What was your favorite part of today’s experience?
TALIANA: When I took off my shoes when the show was about to start. It was such a beautiful moment because I felt like all my senses exploded on a different level. Music took me to a great place, I could smell the salt from the sea, and then all these models with the most beautiful clothes came out. The Chanel Cruise show was definitely a dream.
FLORENTINA: Getting to see old friends, and feeling that glamorous vibe that only happens at the Chanel show. And the music was epic!
Images courtesy of CHANEL and Lucian Salazar.