500 Years Young

We celebrate the quincentenary of the vibrant city of Havana

We visited the elegant Cuban capital as it celebrated its 500th anniversary...

TAKE A STROLL through Havana, with its wide promenades, filled with pastel facades and grand columns, and you might feel like you've landed on a film set. As if transported to a bygone era, you can soak up the faded grandeur of this vibrant city with its baroque, art deco and Spanish architecture. Surrounded by evidence of decaying decadence, images of a more prosperous past spring to mind. Some crumbling buildings have recently been restored to their former glory and now stand proud amongst ravaged facades, giving clues to the past and the reason why Cuba was named the Pearl of the Caribbean.

We were lucky enough to access some of the city's hidden jewels to photograph our spring summer 2020 collection. We were charmed by the grand La Guarida restaurant with its secret door (illegal until 2008) and Casa de Alonso— a privately owned 1929 house where elderly widow Senora Jossie Alonso still lives. Untouched since the 1950s, this stately home is like a museum filled with precious relics. Filmmaker Gasper González told the love story of Jossie and her late husband Miguel against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution in his 2017 documentary Havana House.

With a nod to Ernest Hemmingway (who lived in Havana in the 1940s) we also shot in the local bookstore. Part of the magic of this city, aside from the colonial buildings and the abundance of vintage American cars, is the absence of globalisation. There's not the slightest whiff of McDonald's or the like. It's wonderful.

streetart in Havana
Street art in Havana
Havana House
Clements and Church Spring Summer 20