Ronchi de Cuba's Aruban Style
"Shopping has recently become tremendously advanced on Aruba," says local fashion designer Ronchi de Cuba. "We're seeing higher-end fashion that's more reasonably priced, from companies like Fendi and Gucci, and the shopping area is still growing." He says the best time to get great buys at the high-end stores is in January, when the holidays are over and the racks are being cleared for the new season.
De Cuba became involved in fashion at age 17, thanks to a high-school physical-education assignment for which he taught a dance class and presented a show that incorporated theater, choreography, and fashion. After attending college in Miami, de Cuba returned to his native Aruba to work at a modeling agency. Soon after, he opened his own agency to promote local entertainment and style.
The first Ronchi de Cuba design was a haute-couture number created for Miss Aruba 1999; he's since gone on to create ready-to-wear swimwear, menswear, women's wear, and junior lines. When he's not cutting clothes, the designer travels to New York, Miami, and Paris to peek into the shops and showrooms of major designers.
De Cuba clothes are constructed of fabrics suitable for a warm climate: crepe linens, silk georgettes, and shantungs for day; brocade, wool crepe, crepe de Chine, and silk chiffon for evening. Inspired by such designers as John Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada, his collections feature playful color schemes that incorporate dark solids, bright colors, and prints. He turns out a spring-summer collection and a holiday-cruise collection each year.
Always on the cutting edge of fashion, de Cuba is also known on the island for hosting the annual International Male Model contest, featuring dozens of contestants from the Caribbean, South and Central America, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe.
Look for de Cuba's label at stores in the Seaport Village Mall and the Royal Plaza Mall or at his own shop—Revolution—in Oranjestad.
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