Cuba's digital destination
By Victoria Alcalá
Whoever has strolled along any Cuban street (or watched TV) and has been awed by the profusion of cellulite-imprisoning Lycra tights; pants that defy gravity and fall well south of the waistline to reveal what they’re supposed to be hiding; blouses, shirts and dresses made of doubtful synthetic textiles, mostly from Panama and Ecuador (a poet friend of mine who lives in Ecuador says that he has no idea where they buy that merchandise that he has never seen in any store there) might get an erroneous idea about Cuban taste. Strident colors, shiny cloth and trinkets, and garish prints all seem to wipe out any other trends that would express any refined or distinguished tradition, not just reserved for the catwalks, and in which humble neighborhood dressmakers and well-known artisans are involved.
At every arts and crafts fair, more and more frequently, we get the chance to acquire reasonably priced garments made of fabrics that suit our climate, styles that flatter every figure type and which assimilate the latest fashion trends for all ages. There are regular spots on TV that not only show us fashions but they also advise us on how to dress and use makeup depending on our personal characteristics, the time of day and the place; this involves a painstaking effort and it seems to be working.
But since our fashion ideals tend to be public figures, it is worthwhile to thank the elegant insouciance of young singers like Luna Manzanares and Diana Fuentes; the glamor of ballerina Viengsay Valdés; the daring modernism of writer Wendy Guerra; the laid-back distinction of salsa stars Pablo FG and Issac Delgado; the elegant Cuban quintessence of fashion designer Ismael de la Caridad… They are bringing back a long tradition which, over the centuries, left the aristocratic salons and arrived on the streets, giving Cuban men and women the reputation of being well-dressed.