LIVE from Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago – Night 2 @ Hyatt

Welcome back to CFSTYLE live at FWTT – tonight is the second night here at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad where we are waiting to experience Cosquelle Couture… Let’s hope that it proves to be more successful than last night’s somewhat bleak showing…

Reviews from the opening night at the Hyatt Regency have ranged from indifferent to scathing. Unfortunately, I was unable to remain until the end of the show – partly to do with the very late start – but, added to my own opinion of what I did manage to see and report on (and I promise not to be so “tame” in my reporting from now on, as mentioned by a reader!), comments I have heard through the grapevine are: “Positively painful!” and “By this point, they should be doing better than this!”

Indeed, a lot of time and effort goes into the organization of an event like this and granted, not everything will go to plan or be executed perfectly. However, this being FWTT’s third installment, we would hope that by now the level of proceedings would be of an exceptionally high standard for our small island. It seems that in more than one area, the mark has been missed. For the future of fashion in Trinidad’s sake, let’s hope that it was simply the curse of opening night.

In my opinion, FWTT may be a case of way too many cooks spoiling the broth, or rather, not enough input from select individuals with actual expertise and international knowledge and experience of the fashion industry. Quite a lot of people who claim to be “in-the-know” about what is happening “out there” are mostly just blowing hot air…  Everybody has something to say. There are many veterans of fashion in Trinidad & Tobago – and I hail and respect them all for what they have done for the arts and our culture – however, at some point, it is time to open up room for the new techniques and ideas that are being exhibited elsewhere in the world that are pushing fashion forward. And there is no excuse for Trinidad not being a part of this forward movement, as I have met and am constantly in the presence of new faces and voices on the fashion scene who are not being seen or heard, who have what it takes to break the stereotypical barrier of “white cotton kaftan culture”.

Sure, we may be young, but please don’t make that an issue. Oftentimes, we do know what we are talking about, especially as fashion is youth-driven and bubbles up from the street these days instead of trickling down from the higher classes. Times are changing, Trinidad – actually, times have already changed – so when are we going to change with it and stop regurgitating what we have seen on previous runways ten years ago?

Having said all this, here is the non-“tame” version of last night’s experience:

CFSTYLE correspondents thoroughly enjoyed Mario Lewis’ show, which was a fresh take on street style with a sophisticated tailored “edge”. As mentioned last night, the denim jackets with white topstitch were beautifully made, not to mention that the models actually seemed to enjoy wearing them as they moved with ease despite the jackets being form-fitted. The biggest question that proves the success of a collection for me is always:

“Could I see myself wearing that?”… Indeed, we could. Well done to Mario Lewis.

Claudia Pegus’ prints in her resort collection were definitely eye-catching and the black sequin trim served to “bling” out an often-casual beach look, which we appreciated, along with the dramatic cowl back found on two kaftans, which added a twist and made the piece as interesting going as it looked coming. Personally, I wish the designer had taken this idea a step further in the remainder of the collection rather than limiting it to two pieces.

As for First Chapter by ADAM, I am not too sure what to say… By the end of the show, I was convinced that a black, red, yellow and green monster was attacking me. I understand that this collection was inspired by the Rastafarian colours, however, the line between sophistication and overkill is a very fine one. The patchwork, appliquéd hearts and sewn on stripes were too much; the outfits blended into one black piece after another with highlights of red, yellow and green somewhat randomly thrown at it. One dress in particular stood out to me, but only because it was way too overworked in the front with trims and lines going in multiple directions in the colour palette, and way too underworked in the back with three block panels of solid colour. I think the fault in this collection was that the theme became far too literal, not allowing for flexibility in terms of shades of the same colour (which the designer could well have explored) or fabric. Indeed the colours were basic primary colours, no depth, against a basic black cotton – very bland and needing a lot more of an editing eye as an entire collection. First Chapter by ADAM, I am sorry.

Sources tell me that I missed a great line by Francis Hendy, who, as my many contacts have informed me “saved the show”. Well done to you Francis Hendy, I look forward to seeing your collection in replay.

So right now, I am again sitting in darkness with no background music or commentator, for the past seven minutes, waiting for something, anything, to happen. And we are officially later than last night at 8:29pm

On a lovely side note though, Kees Dieffenthaller looks fantastic in a form-fitting pin-stripe jacket and McKee Sullivan is once again looking stunning in a sparkly silver halter dress.

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We begin with an energetic opening by DLRD (Dominique La Roche Designs)… The bass is heavy and we open with a black all-in-one swimsuit with a white netted piece on the waist followed by very skimpy menswear. I have always enjoyed DLR’s presentations, I hope I am not disappointed this time. Cue a white bandage-inspired top with flared off the shoulder sleeves, reminiscent of a recent Rihanna performance outfit…

The models are walking a lot better than last night, appearing in groups of two or walking in single file at points which makes for an interesting visual.

Onto Lady Gaga from a soca/dancehall riddim (music seems to once again be incongruous, oh dear!)… and corsets have made an appearance in black.

We’ve now moved onto fluorescent pink and orange tape-like swimwear with fastenings taken from old school backpacks it seems. The show is quickly over, and in the words of my colleague: “Very suited to someone who wants to be tormented in a Caribbean horror flim (yes, he said FLIM!)”

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Stacy Smith Designs next, can I mention how much I LOATHE the choice of music for this entire event? Nobody seems to have thought about matching the music to their collections, perhaps the importance of a complete THEME (styling, music, walk of the models, clothing… everything matters and should be cohesive) slipped by FWTT this year?

The model who walked in the blue flared skirt and bikini top, well done to you, I am impressed for the first time since being in the Hyatt.

Some cute little dresses in Stacy Smith’s collection. Yes, that’s about it, some cute little dresses (easily found elsewhere) and next to me is the comment that: “it seems she went into the store and bought every single fabric that was on sale.” There is no cohesion in this collection, just a lot of random things that look nice, but the fit is SO questionable!

Silver dress with knee-high black boots with gold buckles? Stylists?!

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Passion Fruit Designs is up next with fashion favourite Leah-Marie strutting her stuff, gorgeous as always…

Some sparkly bikinis and very nice fabrics, not to mention a lovely relaxed vibe from the models who are interacting with each other on the runway as they pass one another, Russell Wilkinson even stopping to take a little wine on a fellow female model!

I like this collection, I can’t put my finger on why exactly but I can say it is indeed fun and practical (and perhaps I’m loving the music – I’m hearing Kees’ voice and how soothing it is!) Finally, FINALLY, someone has chosen music that matches their collection… Congratulations Passion Fruit, I applaud you. I am loving the fit on the bottoms, incredibly sexy. And the men look great in their trunks as well.

*applause*

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CHIZ*L MENSWARE now… A male model dressed in all white (I couldn’t describe it if I tried, but he has netted wings on as well) has come down the stage followed by a male model in a white hooded sweater that can only be described as the offspring of the Ku Klux Klan (the hood is pointed and covering his face, what else do you want me to say?)

This is all I can say for this collection – think Halloween mixed with a fancy dress party mixed with a take on every stereotype that exists, even a Jesus, fully equipped with a crown of thorns, has walked down the runway and spread his arms eagle-spread at the end of the runway… What the hell is going on and who is playing a joke on me?!

The only thing that has me remotely entertained in this collection is the choice of fantastic dramatic music, very much like something I would choose to present a collection with a lot more depth and a little less farce… (boy shorts saying PIPE 4 SALE on the back, anyone?)

From dramatic music to a finale walk to Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be”… I don’t understand…

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Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” is the opening song for Sandra Hordatt’s collection MOOD SWINGS, and again we open with the beautiful Leah-Marie.

Bright blue bikinis and sexy all-in-ones have kicked off the show with areas of sparkly embellishment… Very nice.

We move into orange mixed with a pastel print and then charcoal. Lovely bags accessorize the pieces, with transparent bangles piled on top of one another.

I’m liking this collection, especially the black section which is very sexy and seductive. We move into animal prints with matching accessories – everything works in this collection, everything works.

Well done Sandra Hordatt, you nailed this one!

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So here we go with Christian Boucaud, started with a floaty, backless halter dress (a lotta skin on show!!) followed by a lovely white all-in-one swimsuit with an elaborate waistband.

Fringed all-in-one swimsuit anyone? Perhaps the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders can use this for a photoshoot? I mean that in the best possible way because it actually looks good, I just can’t imagine anyone else wearing it. The bikini that followed however was definitely a winner with the same fringe element!

We have to ask who is styling this particular collection though, the accessories are sporadic and inconsistent – pearls on a white swimsuit with a black and white printed tie?

The collection has a lot of potential and some good ideas, perhaps a little harnessing of these ideas with the help of a trained eye and this collection would be rocking! Loved loved loved the white dress that finished the show – this may just be the best outfit of the night?

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Michel Tudor for MADAM COUTURE is now showing her collection – think golds and sparkles to start with beaded headpieces and big accessories. However the accessorizing seems once again sporadic, as does the collection itself. moving from sequins and sparkles, to stripes, to pinks and blues, and then just black… back to silver and then a pink and black striped ensemble to finish.

I think there needs to be a seminar on the importance of COHESION for designers – you would think by now they would know. It doesn’t really matter if you have some fantastic pieces in your collection, they cannot be fully appreciated without the proper styling and complimentary pieces within the collection.

Another note: I understand the desire to promote Caribbean music but I don’t agree with the song choices, nor do I agree with the mixing of said songs (dismal) and furthermore, if Trinidad fashion wishes to reach an international level and stop being a “white cotton kaftan culture”, we need to start learning to use music in fashion shows that can crossover and allow the collections to be appreciated worldwide. I know a host of talented local musicians who can do that for you too FWTT. Music is a key element to the presentation of a collection, it sets a mood, however the music I am hearing for these shows feels like a mix CD put on SHUFFLE. Not much consideration at all.

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Yoko Fung is doing what she is known for – daring, edgy and bondage… We are liking it. Some lovely pieces in there with great construction – also in knit which is very unusual but it works. Pinks, purples, black and white… Oh and Yoko seems to be the only designer who actually used REAL Magenta (not pink, as the T shirts of the FWTT staff show). It is indeed a beautiful colour.

Yoko Fung looks FANTASTIC on her finale walk (kudos for actually coming all the way down the runway so that we can see the designer!) walking with a mini Yoko in black bondage-inspired gear with huge gold studs.

I don’t understand how Damian Marley’s “Welcome To Jamrock” could be cut so abruptly to make way for Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” – this music is really an issue as it is now detracting from the collections themselves.

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P Simon Designs now – another opening with a white dramatic dress. However the entertainment value of this dress failed with poor choice of fabric especially in the hood which looks like polyester.

Rihanna’s Rude Boy is playing for the second time tonight after Kanye Wests’ Jesus Walks. I’m just making a point here.

Some patriotic wear from P Simon with a transparent, umbrella-like jacket with the flag across the top yoke at the back, and TRINIDAD running up the left sleeve.

A lot of random things in this collection – to be honest, it seems as if the leftover fabric from Carnival was collected and used to make fashion. Very fluorescent colours, which at times have great potential to turn into a throwback graffiti street style, except that it all screams SPANDEXXXXXXX! (cue Nutty Professor)

I’ll say one thing, this designer did not hold back on colour – I feel very psychedelic right now, until of course the final piece walks out, and it is… black. With knee-high boots. And feathers.

The best part of Peggy Simon’s show – her finale walk. She rocked it, wearing all white ensemble with her face covered beekeeper style in blue, walking ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF THE RUNWAY to take her rightful pose and applause as a designer.

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