At La Rampa: a Fashion Show (1971).

by Reinaldo N. Togores.
In memoriam Fernando Ayuso (Madrid 1931- Havana 2004)

Recalling his memories of "La Rampa" -the uphill stretch of Calle 23 in Vedado, from the Malecon to Calle L - Antón Arrufat spoke about the fashion boutique that Fernando Ayuso founded:
Next to the "Arte Cinema" movie theater, a fashion designer, the Catalonian Fernando Ayuso, opened his workshop and boutique "Corinto y Oro". He had a goal of "rampist" uniqueness: to design fashion the Cuban way, using linen and cotton, colorful stripes and squares sewn to the original fabric. As hinted by the boutique's name, there was something Greek in his work, loose, bright and simple garments, suitable to Cuba's crisp light and warmth. The dresses fell from the shoulders, leaving the rest of the body free, with nothing to hinder breath or movement, committed to its own harmony which, as you know, has a unique cadence. Like Oscar Wilde, who wrote several articles about fashion, he took notice of a fault in modern fashion: that on the shoulders, only on the shoulders, should all clothes be supported. Among the most accomplished from his workshop was children's clothing. Ayuso designed unique models. His garments were rather artisanal, made by two or three employees. He never mass produced and was among the first to put into practice fashion shows using previously trained models.
This privately owned boutique was to disappear as a result of the political changes in 1959. But Ayuso and his architect wife, Ana Vega remained in the country. In 1965, on the initiative of Vilma Espín, he was chosen to lead an "Experimental Design Workshop" which was created in nearby premises at "La Rampa" which were refurbished by Ana Vega and architect Fernando Pérez O'Reilly. This facility provided spaces for small-scale production and sales. In addition there was a catwalk intended for fashion shows.
The "Experimental Design Workshop" benefited from the support of a large group of collaborators, including architects, costume designers, graphic designers, painters, photographers and musicians whose work was included in the fashion shows. One of these shows, on a Christmas Eve afternoon, served to show our work. The backstage pictures shown below were taken by our friend, the photographer Jesus Garcia Saavedra (Kuko).