Thursday 31st May was the date set for the unveiling of Caribbean design legend Meiling’s latest collection, mysteriously entitled 24 Hours. The setting was the elegant ambience of the Casablanca Ballroom at MovieTowne’s Port-of-Spain location.
As always, every last detail of this presentation was perfect. It’s so important in the industry that we pay as much attention to the production of a show as we do to the show itself. Meiling’s incomparable team sets the bar for putting on a production to remember, from music to seating, from lighting to model co-ordination, everything is always precisely as it should be in a fashion show with the ability to rival that of any international designer.
With patrons dressed to the nines, it was such a pleasure to see ladies dressed in Meiling to come and view the collection. How very knowledgeable of them all!
The show begins with top Trinidadian model – and Meiling model coordinator – Christianne Steel strutting down the winding runway. This opening section – entitled Dawn – is laden with sheer, floaty materials in pale shades of blue, pink and purple. This colour palette sets the tone for the night, with hues deepening as the sections progress.
The models’ hair, courtesy of Emily Quesnel, is teased and tousled, loosely pinned and braided into whimsical ‘horns of hair’, while their lips are painted in shades of cherry red and an almost Barbie pink, thanks to renowned makeup artist Sandra Hordatt for Revlon.
About four pieces into the show, a beautiful short-haired model walks out wearing an outfit paired with a soft cream, sheer shrug with three-quarter full sleeves. The shrug is lovely and delicate, totally feminine and wonderfully constructed. Already, we can appreciate the skill that goes into a Meiling piece as the designer exhibits the most lightweight fabrics coupled with cottons and heavier wovens as the night progresses.
Jeneile McCarthy, who only appears on the runway for Meiling these days, arguably wore some of the best separates of the night, one of them being this perfectly tailored, wonderfully-fitting denim style blazer jacket.
Jeneile McCarthy models this great jacket
A recurring feature of a Meiling collection is the designer’s take on the shirtdress, of which there are many in this collection. This selection was displayed in striped, checked and plaid patterns, with a variety of dropped waists, full hemlines and interesting details. One common thread is how well each and every one of them in constructed, with careful considering to fit and movement of the piece.
True to the collection’s theme, this shirtdress has elements of traditional sleepwear
A cute and youthful ‘picnic’ piece worn by Soowan Bramble
Interesting iridescent plaid in this silk shirtdress
This purple full-length shirtdress moved beautifully on the runway
As the collection name suggests, patrons were taken on a journey through the day, with sections entitled Blue of Sky, Midday and White Heat, which, true to the designer’s portfolio, contains a variety of styles in Meiling’s signature white, from shirts featuring appliqué detailing and perfectly-tailored trousers, to fun and flirty dresses and maxi skirts. This is usually the section that confirms one’s presence at a Meiling show, with the crisp, clean whiteness being somewhat of a metaphor for the brand’s attention to detail and construction and delivering a great product.
As the suspense of the collection builds through the use of growing percussive rhythms in the music – very reminiscent of young Brazilian boys playing football in the dust and heat – and more models on the runway at any given time than before in an almost chaotic emergence of outfits, patrons were made to feel like this was the climax of the show.
The gorgeous Kathryn Nurse models a fashionably chic outfit, featuring perfectly tailored paper bag-waist shorts.
House model Rhian Vialva in classic separates from the designer
Jeneile McCarthy in a full-length skirt with gold tones
We loved this piece, and loved this model!
Had this been the case, I, for one, would have been sorely disappointed to not have experienced more of the designer’s creativity to top her last showcase.
However, in true Meiling form, there were further tricks up her designing sleeves as the collection moved from daytime into Dusk, with a selection of kaftans in bolder pinks and purples than before, with interesting and unexpected details, such as knife pleats in the shoulder. Lisa See Tai wore a beautiful floor-length kaftan in a tie-dye bold pink, while Soowan Bramble modeled the pink and dusty purple, great-for-the-poolside hooded piece that we were first privy to at Meiling’s brief Tobago Fashion Week 2012 presentation the week before.
Soowan Bramble in a sheer, hooded kaftan
This section, however, was not the pièce de résistance, which was yet to arrive. In my opinion, it merely served as a buffer between the signature Meiling and the arrival of the ultimate Meiling. And arrive it did in the final two sections of the showcase – Blue of Devils and Blue of Midnight. These sections truly stole the show.
Watching the remainder of the collection was like witnessing an entirely new show, and the sections would have stood superbly as a separate showcase. In viewing this part of the show, many patrons undoubtedly felt like everything that came before was merely an introduction.
An empire waist dress, simple in shape, but in a beautifully printed navy blue and yellow fabric, was styled wonderfully with bright blue tights to look playful but still absolutely wearable and trendy. Paired with sky-high wedges on a long pair of tanned legs, this dress would look fantastic.
One of the first outfits from the Blue of Devils section
The styling took the pieces to even higher heights
Witnessing the pieces in these sections took me to a runway that was not in Trinidad & Tobago. I distinctly remember thinking that Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood had merged to create a diffusion line and this was the result.
This outfit on Kimi See Tai was reminiscent of acclaimed designer Vivienne Westwood
… as was this youthful and stylish combination!
The formal wear of Blue of Midnight was, in a word, breathtaking. With shades of a blue so dark that it looked black, that could only truly be described as midnight, in fabrics so sumptuous and inviting, Meiling presented a line of outfits that would look stunning at any event. I have always loved Meiling’s clothing, but this is a time I will surely remember coveting almost every piece that graced that runway.
To the jazzy sounds of Favourite Things, I fell in love with a satin jumpsuit modeled by Crystal Cunningham with faggoting down the centre front, before deciding that I wanted to be seen in the beautifully appliquéd silk dupioni sheath dress on Christianne Steel. Lisa See Tai looked great in a lace short-sleeved top with nude underlay and tailored grey trousers, while the loose-fitting flow of a flared silk dupioni shift dress with hidden pockets and slashed neckline left me wanting more. Leah-Mari Guevara also stunned in lace – when have you ever seen a formal lace kaftan?
Christianne Steel looked stunning in this silk dupioni halter dress with appliqué detail
Great style for Crystal Cunningham in this midnight blue jumpsuit
Lisa See Tai looks adorable in lace
Definitely elegant chic
The clothes, the presentation, the atmosphere, the colour palette… everything about it was perfection. Truly, this is the best work I have ever seen from Meiling and this is why people keep filling the seats at her shows. After forty plus years in the industry, she is nowhere near to losing her edge and this makes me so excited for more.
- Darcel de Vlugt, Editor -