In Photos: Havana, Cuba with the Sisters of Dannijo
Related: The Best Beaches in Cuba
The trip was organized through Conscious Cuba—run by Francis Harrison, a friend of a friend. She also connected them with local artists and musicians. “It felt like a time warp as soon as we got off the plane,” says Danielle. “We wanted to meet artists and dancers and see anything that showcases the soul and spirit of Old Havana. It was amazing to have someone there to show us what locals’ lives truly look like.”
The sisters are often on the road—other trips they have coming up, for future jewelry inspiration, include Aspen, Paris, London, and Palm Springs. But they also have distinctly different travel personalities. “I think of it as a cartoon where my sister is the one with the road map, and I’m there for the ride,” says Danielle. “And I’m picking flowers and catching butterflies.” Typically, Jodie—the older sister—is the planner, taking care of where to stay and visit. “And I like to let things just happen,” adds Danielle. “My trips are much better when Jodie is there. We’re each other’s co-pilots.”
Their Cuba collection will be available on February 8. In celebration, Danielle shared snapshots from the trip, as well as a first look at some of the jewelry.
On the Road
We rented these vintage convertibles to ride around in, and while we were on the road, we spotted this car next to us. The photograph represents exactly what we wanted to capture with our Dannijo Cubano collection—the experience of being in a foreign world, but also jewelry as a vehicle for conversation.
The Streets of Havana
This photograph is reflective of everyday life in Havana. It’s a side street, with no landmarks, but it captures the spirit, color, and energy of the city—and speaks volumes of how real the environment is.
Parque Central is one of the city’s most iconic places. We loved the different shades of blues and pinks and yellows, which had a big influence on our jewelry collection.
Jodie and I came across this horse in Parque Central, and loved how ornate his leather strappings were. It’s almost like he’s accessorized. We could see this inspiring a great cuff or earrings.
This is one of the cars we rode around. We stayed at the Hotel Nacional, and outside of our hotel, there were eight or nine different convertibles for us to choose from. We picked a baby blue one for Jodie, and this hot pink one for me.
Kamyl Bullaudy Rodriguez's Studio
Kamyl is an artist who uses a lot of recycled materials in his artwork. He tends to depict strong women, as well as renowned figures, like Jose Marti. He showed us around his studio, and we bought one of his watercolors. The necklace on the left is Sandra, and the one on the right is Desi. Looking back, it’s amazing at how well the jewelry and paintings play off each other.
Al Divino and Finca Yoandra Community Project
Our tour guide took us to this garden, a beautiful place where they truly live off the land. Everything is organic, and we had lunch here after touring the premises. We stayed until 3:30 or 4:00, just lounging. I loved how geometry of this collar necklace looked against the backdrop of nature.
Road Trip on the Malecon
This was a totally action-packed day, and this is us on our way to Hemingway’s house. It was amazing to see the world of an iconic writer—it was so organized, almost a little OCD. He had books everywhere, but in an organized fashion. I’d want to live in his home today, he has such an artistic eye. We’re wearing the collection—Jodie, on the left, is wearing Coraza earrings, and I’m wearing the Jordi earrings and Flores choker.
Fortaleza San Carlos De La Cabana
On our last day in Cuba, we walked around the Fortaleza. You can walk to the edge and see what looks like all of Havana. It was a really beautiful piece of history. Plus, there’s a really cool cigar maker there who is quite famous, and we visited him afterward to watch him in action.
Dancing on the Streets
I took so many photos of Jodie dancing in this vintage Victorian lace dress—I have her in maybe 15 different landscapes. This is in the Forteleza San Carlos de la Cubana.
Hanging Out with Esperanza
Esperanza is probably one of the most photographed women in old Havana. She’s always wearing flowers in her head, holding a cigar, and dripping in jewelry. She’s so beautiful—we photographed her for our campaign—and we gifted her the top two necklaces she’s wearing in this photo.
Santa Amalia Dance Project
We ended our day with dance lessons, and it was so fun. The man on the far left is 88 years old and such a legend in Havana—we all took turns dancing with him. Everyone in Havana dances with such abandon, and there’s so much love and energy in the air. We learned how to salsa, and a bunch of different dances I had never even heard of.
The color of these earrings was really inspired by Parque Central—it’s so reflective of the landscape and old Havana’s color scheme.
This necklace really reminds me of our day with the dance project, particularly the color scheme and the movement of the stones. It’s got an interesting, eclectic symmetry.
Something about the structure and the symmetry of the Rafaella reminds me of the Fortaleza—it’s almost maze-like, in a way. We used lots of pastels in this collection, because they remind us of old Havana.