Saturday, December 31, 2005

Recyclable fashion in Cuba

Recyclable fashion in Cuba
December 29, 2005

Creations of cut paper, metal discs and other recyclable goods decorated traditional runway models and transvestites alike as Cuban painters paid homage to the island's hair stylists with their own exotic clothing and hair fashions.
"It's a kind of exhibition of performances with everything having to do with hair styling," said painter Gualter Cruz, who wore a costume portraying Cuban barber Gamarra, the first authorised to practise his profession on the island during colonial times.
Wearing a broad hat and with a bizarre painted moustache - one side sticking out straight and the other twirled into a curly cue - Cruz's cartoonish getup was no more outlandish than those of many worn during last night's show.
The models - including several transvestites - wore exaggerated hairstyles and headpieces, such as a woman who balanced a small church bell tower on her crown.
The makeup and body paint was exaggerated as well, with bright colours and geometric designs.
"We are a cultural project and this is the first experience of its kind," said stylist Gilberto Valladares, who organised the event at Havana's La Maison, the headquarters of high fashion in the Cuban capital.
Valladares said December 27, 1838 was the birthday of Cuban barber Juan Evangelista Valdes y Veitia, who fought for labour laws protecting his profession.
One model wore a top made of chains of metal discs that looked like bottle caps pulled out of the waste basket. Another sported a paper skirt, with fringe made from cuts along the hemline.
Among artists displaying their works on the runway was Lucia Fernandez, who works with recyclable materials to create sculptures of human shapes.
Although many other artists dug back into the trash to decorate their models, Fernandez didn't use any obviously recyclable materials to dress up hers - a transvestite who called herself Imperio.
Still, like the rest of the models, Imperio's look was over the top - and downright trashy.
All exposed areas of Imperio's large body were covered with gold and silver body paint and her hair combed and sprayed into aggressive points. She wore a tattered black tulle skirt over black stockings and garter belt.
"I love to underscore the texture of the body," Fernandez said backstage as she dressed Imperio for the show.

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