The T-Room Review

Have you been to the T-Room at Hotel Normandie located at Nook Avenue in St. Ann’s Trinidad?!  Peep their work on their social media sites. The T-Room is not a tea room so don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s a salon run by Tanja Banduwong, a German and her powerhouse creative team. Germany among other nations has understood creative culture and the value of it for their society. They have done exceptionally well in providing innovative contributions to the world in the past decades. They have taken the time to value learning about creative culture and design management and teaching this to their own citizens via various institutions in their society. Their whole creative thinking process, their mindset to progressive culture and education seem to be constantly evaluated and improved upon. They understand the critical success factors of creative culture to their country’s national development and diversification. This is one of the reasons I like the T-Room among others because here lies the most honest and authentic example of the birth and growth of a creative culture in a stable and eponymous field of hair styling.

 

Photo Credit:  The T-room Squad

https://www.facebook.com/pg/HairbyTanja/about/?ref=page_internal

Tanja is a qualified and skilled professional in hair and makeup styling. Although she is an educator in this field she has her fair share of stripes and stars to prove that she has the caliber of experience to take salon style in Trinidad to the next level. Her leadership style is open and collaborative without compromising respect among her team. She has managed to foster a work ethic and creative culture that is second to none in Trinidad. Although Tanja is the girl boss here she is far from being the stereotypical aloof “manager” as she is also on the floor “working it” with her squad. The team is constantly learning and expanding their skills. The squad is professional and the family type of camaraderie she has fostered with her staff is reflected in how they treat each other and  their clients. Tanja took the ladies of the T-Room to  Italy for training and development and creative culture immersion last year. A great experience in one of the more established fashion destinations in the world!  The ladies at the T- Room set the bar high as one of the few examples I have seen of women supporting and advocating for each other to be and do their best in the creative field. The T-Room is a fun and exciting salon where their love for what they do emanates from their A-class  haircuts, colour treatments, corrections, keratin treatments and styling services for men and women (and of course their overall aura and vibes).

Photo Credit: Pastel Hair

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

Photo Credit: Undercut

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

 

Photo Credit: Braided by the T-Room Braid Bar at The Decibel Expo

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

Photo Credit: Bridal Hairstyle (On Location)

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

Every detail of design has been accounted for at the T-Room.  The logo is pretty cool too with strong lettering enclosed by a wreath like crown.  The salon even has a  mascot, his name is Chino. He is a well behaved groomed family member of the T-Room. The staff members come in all shapes and sizes with so much soul and passion for their job. They usually wear black but there is so much flexibility and personality that they get to play with outfitting and expressing themselves without the confines of a uniform. The interior design of the salon is another major appreciation factor about this creative space. People underestimate the role that design plays in our lives. For instance you may wear a particular silhouette, style, colour or fabric because it makes you feel some type of way. You may love a salon or spa because it makes you feel special. In these instances people neglect to ask themselves that one question, “why?”  Why do I like this space? What is it about this shirt or this hairstyle that makes me feel this way? Why do I want to cut or colour my hair? Why did I choose this cut or colour? Some of us are not even conscious of the power behind “wearapy” and design therapy which is a “must have” for any thriving creative lifestyle and culture.

Photo Credit: The T-Room Squad at Milan Fashion Week

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

 The interior design for the T-Room was done by Christy Maingot, a local interior designer of CMID in Trinidad. The T-Room looks like a combination of modern, contemporary styles and a bit of glam. This is no easy task for an interior designer to acquire the skill of mixing styles. Christy’s management of elements and principles of design in this space is magically harmonious. Although the salon works by appointment only, the spatial planning is sensible, on point with proportion and scale, rhythm and flow for easy breezy functioning during peak times.  The colour scheme looks more monochromatic as the shades of white, cream, brown, gold and bronze are well placed throughout the T-Room. The space is perceptually bigger with the application of vanity mirrors, white washed walls and the obvious reflection of light from the artificial light sources on the smooth and shiny surfaces. There is open and closed storage with shelving which makes the perfect balance in a room that is neither too warm nor too cold. The salon has a huge glass window so the positioning of a window bench with the view of the hotel lobby was an ideal use of space. The throw pillows are nice additions as their textures and patterns soften and accentuate the style and vibe in the salon without emasculating it. The use of leather (if not leather like upholstery) for salon chairs and benches appeals to the sleek modernist in all of us whilst being easy to maintain and durable.  Intriguingly, the flooring has a wood grain finish appearance and the ceiling hints to subtle industrial vibes. Another example of style mixing is seen here. The dynamic diagonal lines on the ceiling beams are painted in white to blend in but still stand out by creating some transformational, directional and exciting energy in the room. These diagonal lines form triangles which pair up with the geometric shapes of the overhead rectangle lighting to manage earthly grounded feelings.

CMID (Christy Maingot Interior Designs)

http://www.cmidinteriordesign.com/the-troom-salon/

 

CMID (Christy Maingot Interior Designs)

http://www.cmidinteriordesign.com/the-troom-salon/

 I love that this space is a haven where anyone, any age can feel safe to put themselves in the hands of internationally trained professionals. The T-Room squad allow their clients; to explore and experiment, to challenge style status quos, to redefine, to reclaim and redeem an unprofessed love and care for themselves that has been long overdue and often resonates in the mantra, “I am beautiful and I am ready to take on the world, now hear me roar.”

Photo Credit: Braided by the T-Room Braid Bar at The Decibel Expo

https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

The T-Room gets my 5 stars for excellent customer service, professionalism and creativity.

Keep up the fabulous work ladies !!!

To see more of T-Room

Visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HairbyTanja/

Visit their Instagram Page : https://www.instagram.com/thetroomsalon/?hl=en

Book an appointment: 1.868.235.3679

Email: tbanduwong@gmail.com

 

 

Kaj Designs Hosts Legacy Atelier

Kaj Designs Hosts Legacy Atelier

 

Mid-Luxury Fashion House Bids Farewell To 2017 With Exclusive Retail Experience

 

 

KajFAB models strike a pose in front of the Kaj Flagship Boutique. From left to right: Fertility tank dress; long sleeved evening dress; silk kaftan; and maxi dress with ring accent. Makeup by Lyndy-Anne Parks of Lady Parks Makeup Studio. Photo courtesy Kyle Keens-Dumas of Konsortium Studios for Kaj Designs.

 

January 4, 2018 – Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago… Tobago’s premier mid-luxury fashion house, Kaj Designs, will usher in the New Year and 2018 Carnival seasons with an exclusive Kaj Legacy Atelier. KajFAB femmes will enjoy 50% off all legacy items as the brand celebrates the bold, signature flair gained over its disruptive 12-year history in Caribbean fashion. Featuring both limited edition and one-of-a-kind creations from several Kaj collections including the resort wear of Shore Culture and Tribu Sauvage, the atelier will run throughout the New Year and Carnival seasons by private viewing only, while stocks last.

 

Kaj’s provocative innovation, the Signature Halter Lounge Shuffle, was first shown as part of the Shore Culture runway presentation at the 10th Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) in June 2010 in Kingston, Jamaica. Photo courtesy Pulse Investments Limited.

 

In June 2010, Kaj premiered the barefoot luxury of the Shore Culture collection at the 10th Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) in Kingston, Jamaica. The CFW audience welcomed the scintillating charms, textures and tones of the Caribbean as it set sail with the first-ever Kaj Resort collection. The fashion house presented a sea of undulating fabrics in rich tones of magenta, fuchsia and teal with flowing, easy creations befitting a luxurious vacation of leisure. Reflecting the sun-kissed iridescence of its Caribbean landscape, the collection lavishly drapes the feminine contour in ribbons of ombré and tie-dyed chiffons, silk rayons, silk satins, organzas and crepe georgettes with subtle accents in suede, leather, taffeta, coque and pheasant plumes and coconut shell.  Designed with versatility and feminine comfort in mind, the effortless silhouettes of Kaj’s Shore Culture collection can be worn in the day and night, ideal for festive New Year and Carnival functions.

 

A captive audience was treated to the majesty of Kaj’s sheer strapless Bohemian lounge dress, with wooden beaded fabric accents, at the 2010 CFW during the Shore Culture presentation. Photo courtesy Pulse Investments Limited.

 

In June 2011, Kaj marked an historic milestone with its launch in the French Caribbean and the placement of the Kaj Resort line at Guadeloupe’s exclusive Caribbean boutique, KOD. This move established KOD as the first retailer of the Kaj brand in the region. In February 2012, Kaj received one of its highest honours as it was selected to represent the Caribbean in an initiative of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) entitled Caribbean Collections. This initiative sought to create opportunities for access to European markets via participation in the British Council and the British Fashion Council’s inaugural International Fashion Showcase for Autumn/Winter (A/W) 2012 during London Fashion Week (LFW). For the label’s LFW debut, Shore Culture was favoured as it featured at an LFW-produced exhibition held at The Charing Cross Hotel while select pieces featured at a private showing at the Corinthia Hotel.

 

Folded envelope tunic and Bermuda shorts from the 2010 Kaj Resort collection, Shore Culture. Makeup by Lyndy-Anne Parks of Lady Parks Makeup Studio. Photo courtesy Kyle Keens-Dumas of Konsortium Studios for Kaj Designs.

 

A trailblazer in Caribbean fashion, Kaj boasts several accomplishments that are irrefutable Caribbean fashion firsts. In a pioneering move to capture international markets, the Tobago fashion house made history with the May 2013 launch of its sophomore resort collection, Tribu Sauvage, in USA and Singapore. Kaj was the first Tobago brand at ENK International’s exclusive fashion tradeshow, Intermezzo Collections, a staple of the US fashion trade circuit. With its humble Intermezzo debut, Kaj successfully captured the attention of New York’s leading fashion industry publication, The Daily Front Row. Amidst more than 900 of the world’s foremost fashion brands, Kaj was featured in TheDailyFrontRow.com’s haute highlights alongside Alice and Olivia, Nicole Miller, L.A.M.B. and Rebecca Minkoff.

 

The KajFAB safari of the Kaj Resort collection, Tribu Sauvage, featured on the catwalk at the inaugural Fashion Festival Bali in August 2013 at the luxurious Stones Hotel in Bali’s Legian region. Featured is Kaj’s maxi dress with ring accent. Photo courtesy Anggara Mahendra

 

Later that same month, the brand led as the first Caribbean brand to exhibit and show at the international fashion tradeshow, BLUEPRINT, during Singapore’s fashion week, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). With its runway debut at BLUEPRINT, Kaj’s creations of bold tribal infusions set against a backdrop of wild animal and camouflage prints stood out among the pervading contemporary Asian aesthetic.

 

Kaj’s trendsetting camo raglan tunic with daring waist-high side slits, of the Tribu Sauvage resort collection, on the runway at the 2013 Fashion Festival Bali at the Stones Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. Also featured is Kaj’s faux-pocket maxi skirt. Photo courtesy Anggara Mahendra.

 

These favoured pieces later graced the runway at the inaugural Fashion Festival Bali (TFFB) in yet another daring move by the fashion house to forge ahead in infiltrating South Asian markets. On August 31, 2013, in the closing show presented by Indonesia TATLER, Kaj brought its signature flair to the TFFB runway. The high profile, 7-day event took place at the lavish Stones Hotel in Bali’s Legian region. Set against the breath-taking backdrop of one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, TFFB attracted an exclusive audience of media, fashion professionals and enthusiasts, leisure travellers and Asian Pacific celebrities and socialites including Michael and Lindy Klim and Casey Burgess.

 

The bold simplicity of Kaj’s Tribu Sauvage resort collection was captured during a 2015 Global Runway promotional photo-shoot on location in Verona, Italy. Featured are Kaj’s magyar tee with tribal pocket accents and its classic trousers with pocket accents. Photo courtesy Global Runway.

 

With a steadfast focus to establish Kaj as the Caribbean’s foremost mid-luxury fashion brand, the fashion house embarked on a strategic mission to penetrate European markets. This led to the launch of the Kaj Resort line at the Martinique-based online boutique, Kameri, in September 2014. In Nov 2014, the brand’s CEO, Liza Miller, was one of three female entrepreneurs selected to be part of exporTT’s gender programme participating in the CARTFUND French Caribbean Outermost Region (FCOR) trade mission alongside nine other Trinidad and Tobago companies. This opened the door to fourteen B2B meetings with buyers and other trade partners that generated ten trade leads. This was closely followed by the brand’s January 2015 launch at the Martinique-based boutique, Pygmées. By the last quarter of 2015, Kaj was introduced to the thriving UK luxury fashion market via its distribution with the London-based online boutique, Global Runway, coupled with an advertising campaign in Britain’s lavish specialist consumer magazine, Destinations Weddings and Honeymoons Abroad (DWHA). Kaj further strengthened its market presence as DWHA’s exclusive international fashion brand and partner at two of London’s leading trade events, The National Wedding Show (TNWS) and the World Travel Market London (WTM London). This was accompanied by Kaj’s retail placement at Guadeloupe’s exclusive boutique, Jheipour.

 

The sensual tribal infusions of Kaj’s long sleeved evening dress in a taupe, cream and black print captivate in the streets of New York City during a 2015 Global Runway promotional photo-shoot of the Tribu Sauvage resort collection. Photo courtesy Global Runway.

 

Kaj will commemorate this legacy of cutting edge creative excellence, fine quality and timeless luxury with its ongoing Kaj Legacy Atelier. KajFAB femmes may experience the exclusive versatility and impeccable finish of the Kaj Designs brand, shopping limited edition classic resort as well as one-of-a-kind legacy pieces including the brand’s signature innovation, the Shuffle. Join the Kaj Legacy Atelier Facebook (FB) event at http://bit.ly/KajLegacyAtelier or visit Kaj on FB at fb.me/KajDesignsLIVE or on Twitter and Instagram @KajDesignsLIVE to stay in the KajFAB know. For more information, email KajLegacy@estuaryPR.com.

 

Kaj’s exhibitor’s booth at the fashion tradeshow, BLUEPRINT, during Singapore’s fashion week, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). Photo courtesy estuary PR.

 

WHAT:              Kaj Legacy Atelier

WHO:                 Kaj Designs

WHEN:             Throughout the New Year and 2018 Carnival seasons, while stocks last.

WHERE:          By private viewing only.

PAYMENT:     Cash and cheque payments accepted.

 

-30-

 

For media inquiries, please contact:

Liza Miller, Managing Director

estuary PR Limited

Phone: (868) 367-5295

Email: liza@estuaryPR.com

www.estuaryPR.com

 

 

Meiling, The Designer Icon for Bridal 2017

Simple Silhouette Wedding Dress

Photo Credit: http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

Bridal season is in full swing and brides are scampering to “say yes to the dress”. My heart goes out to the destination brides who are panicking over deciding whether they should go with silk, satin, taffeta, chiffon, lace or cotton blended fabrics for the tropics, finding the right hues for their bridesmaids, checking in the dress and woes of paying exorbitant fees only to arrive stressed out, in full “bridezilla” mode with a wrinkled wedding dress in hand at their dream destination wedding location. Rest assured brides, brides to be, bridal party and guests you can find top notch, internationally acclaimed fashion designers in Trinidad and Tobago who can hear your S.O.S and save your life for your “big” day.

 

Off Shoulder Lace Wedding Dress

Photo Credit: http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

The destination wedding dress designer that beams of an effortlessly chic Caribbean aesthetic is Meiling Esau, otherwise known by her brand name Meiling Inc. This designer grew up in an environment where her mother, Evelyn Achong was a prominent woman in her field as a seamstress. Meiling’s passion for this fashion led her to pursue her studies at Lucie Clayton School of Design in London in the 1970’s. Meiling was immersed in the creative culture of London.  She was exposed to creatives, creative design, creative thinking and design management. Meiling graduated and returned to her homeland. After working at a garment factory where one of her prototypes became a top seller Meiling decided to stand on her own and set up her own atelier in 1982.

Vintage Wedding Dress

http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

Since Meiling’s debut on the fashion industry scene she has copped many achievements some of which include the Chaconia Silver Medal in 2008 for her longstanding merit to the Trinidad and Tobago business sector. In that same year she was awarded the title of “Grand Master of Fashion Design” at Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica. In 2010 she was one of two designers from the English speaking Caribbean invited to showcase at Plataforma K in Colombia. In 2011 she was the only one invited to return to show. In 2012 The Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago honoured  Meiling with The Woman of Influence Award. In 2013 she was listed as a national icon of Trinidad and Tobago. She was also invited as one of the top global designers to the Women of Influence Summit in that year. She received Ocean Style Award in 2013.

Lace Sleeves and Details for Wedding Dress

http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

Today Meiling’s aesthetic is considered minimalistic however I prefer the term Caribbean chic. Her focus is on the quality of work and her talent is found in design and craftsmanship. In the age of digital printing and mass production Meiling adds the extra “oomph” to her work with hand sewn details. In addition, she still believes in her mother’s words that the inside and outside of the garment being constructed must have a beautiful finish. She has designed uniforms and outfits for Trinidad and Tobago athletes to top entertainers. As a creative she has surrounded herself in creative spaces with veteran creatives such as Peter Minshall. Her product line is differentiated from her own clothing lines in haute couture, resort and bridal to her diffusion line entitled, “MSquared” for the local retail department store Micles  and recently she added on Meiling Complete featuring scent diffusers, candles and body creams.

Lace Detail on Wedding Dress

Photo Credit: http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

So now that you have a fair idea of the brand (Meiling Inc.) we can begin to explore your options for saying “yes to the dress”.  Meiling has an established repertoire in the Caribbean and the Latin American community for her work in the local fashion industry. She has a keen eye for detail and a unique vision based on her knowledge and functioning in several destinations with her clients including brides and some eloquent to brazen personalities from multifaceted cultures. Meiling has worked with contemporary and vintage designs in fabrics that range from silk, satin, lace with intricate embellishments and hand beading to name a few. The advantages of choosing Meiling include a 100% guarantee that your wedding dress will be a timeless design and that you will stand out. The quality of the garment construction is flawless. Your dress will flatter your figure and accentuate your best highlights. You will be in the proficient hands of the expert who is familiar with silhouette to body type ratios in fashion. Also you will have several fittings in the lead up to final production.

Unconventional Bridal Gown

Photo Credit: http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-bride/

Your wedding dress will not just be a product you bought off a rack but the result of an inimitable, delicate creative process where your soul is reverberated throughout the statement piece. This means whilst the designer will design and create the dress you too will have a direct say in perfecting your look for that memorable day.  Your dream wedding dress becomes a reality. When you look back on the occasion you will not just have the snapshots of that point in your life. You will have a reminder of your identity at that stage in your life, a reflection of your growth and transition to your new role in life and most importantly it will stand the test of time as evidence of your power to create and to contribute to the collateral beauty that is life.

White Top with Lace

Photo Credit: Shaista Deen

The Veronica Dress

Photo Credit: Jordan Lum Hung

As a bonus you can also fit the “M” brand into your wardrobe with Meiling’s latest resort wear collection for your destination soiree/ island romp with your newlywed husband. Choose from a variety cotton blends and light, breathable fabrics for your destination honeymoon ensemble. Her most recent collection boasts of distinct, functional, chic and trendy pieces. They range from shirt dresses, dhoti jumpsuits, kite dresses, cowl dresses, off shoulder, strapless tops with lace details, apron inspired tops, denim shirt dresses and long black dresses with tassel details. If you preview her collection online you would notice that most of the resort wear is featured in white or black. Again, this is Meiling’s signature as she pairs the simple but effective pieces as blank canvases to the individual character with the individual in mind as the artist. Basically, when you purchase Meiling’s resort wear it becomes your blank canvas which you bring art to life via “painting” your persona and the experiences you create, the activities that you do and the journeys you take with the designer wear.

 

Dhoti Jump Suit

Photo Credit: Shaista Deen

Swing Dress with Silk Tie

Photo Credit: Joshua Brizan

Off Shoulder Crop Top

Photo Credit: Jordan Lum Hung

If you wish to share your new-found love for the Meiling brand with your bridal party you can browse the collection. Ultimately, you will make your life and theirs easier by selecting appropriate dresses for the bridesmaids. You can even work with the designer on flower girl dresses.  Moreover, you can make this option convenient and accessible by listing Meiling on the R.S.V.P or details card as the premier choice for destination wedding wear in Trinidad and Tobago.  The flights to Trinidad from the U.S.A are only a few hours and you will reach here in no time at all. Hotels and other accommodations are available in Port of Spain where Meiling is located. They are only a stone’s throw away from her boutique. You can request a taxi driver at your front desk and be on your way to your appointment with Meiling. Thus, you will rescue yourself from the drama and stress of a million phone calls and instant messages from your relatives and invited guests badgering you about what they should wear to your destination wedding.

Denim Dresses

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/meilinginc/

Eyelet Strap Sundress

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/meilinginc/

When the wedding and honeymoon is over and you return to your home you do not have to hide away your resort wear. Your bridesmaids and even your guests will thank you later because they can bask in designer bliss by wearing these pieces in spring, summer, autumn and even winter. The only requirement may be reinventing the outfit again with a personal touch of layering it for the colder seasons and dressing it down for the warmer ones. Neither yourself nor your bridal party/guests would regret the choice of colour as white and black can mix and match with a plethora of accessories.  I am also a firm believer of the influence of creative design. Regardless of the season you all choose to wear your Meiling attire you will definitely be moved by donning the outfit. The rationale is straightforward; good design inevitably evokes emotion and makes as much of an impact on the way you feel when you wear it and when you see yourself wearing it.

Cowl Neck Dress with Lace Detail

Photo Credit: http://www.meilinginc.com/meiling-201617/

White Peasant Top with Lace

Photographer: Shaista Deen

The advent of the internet makes your destination wedding dress a few clicks away from being a dream come true. It can literally save you the nightmare of dress shopping, late night foraging for bridal trends and exhaustion from the tears and anxiety of running out of time. Instead place yourself into the safe haven of competence, expertise and professionalism by booking Meiling Esau of Meiling Inc. in Trinidad.

 

Kite Dress

Photo Credit: Jordan Lum Hung

Tied Neck Caftan Dress in Chiffon and Silk

Photo credit: Jordan Lum Hung

Shirt Collar Caftan in Chiffon and Silk

Photo Credit: Jordan Lum Hung

Cowl Collar Caftan in Chiffon and Silk

Photo Credit: Joshua Brizan

Connect with Meiling today!!!

Website: http://www.meilinginc.com/

Email: meiling@meilinginc.com

Location: #6 Carlos Street in Woodbrook, Port of Spain

Hours: Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Saturdays at 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Telephone: 1.868. 627.6975 or 1.868.627.2122

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meilinginc/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meilinginc

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meiling-esau-1491097

Save

Save

Save

VdV Accessories for the Destination Bride

Admittedly, the best accessory any bride can wear is her smile – a natural creative design crafter by the highest power. Oftentimes, the genuine smile is the direct reflection of the happiness of the bride. She is truly her happiest when she feels most comfortable in her own image. This could mean donning some jewelry, a fancy veil or adding simple but luxurious pieces to her outfit.

(Pearl Hair Comb by VdV Accessories)

(Sequins and Lace Bra by VdV Accessories)

The destination bride also accessorizes her look. In Trinidad, there are several bridal accessory designers who maintain distinct aesthetics and are exceptional in the quality of the work they deliver. Darcel de Vlugt of Van der Vlugt, recently unveiled more of the VdV accessories she has been working on by creating a separate social media presence for the pieces. Island brides are now swooning over VdV accessories, which are quickly becoming “must have” pieces when it comes to the finishing bridal touch.

(Fresh Water Pearl Hair Pins by VdV Accessories)

( Pearl Hair Comb by VdV Accessories )

The VdV brand has always been closely linked to the designer’s own story. More than just a designer, de Vlugt sees herself as a creative, having served in the role as Editor-in-Chief for CFstyle.com as well as Fashion Editor for teenage lifestyle magazine AmPassion Teen.  A professionally trained dancer from a young age, she chose to study art and fashion after a sports injury rendered a career in dance unlikely. However, she completed her dance studies past A level standard to attain her Associate diploma in Modern Theatre Jazz – making her qualified to teach dance – at just 18 years old. She has been a freelance writer for many years, writing for media publications around the world on fashion and lifestyle, as well as freelance ghost writing and a published poet and short story writer. While these creative undertakings have helped to define the woman that she is, Darcel is also very well known for her work as an ambassador for Vitiligo, a skin condition she has had since she was five years old.

( Swarovski Crystal Crown by VdV Accessories)

(Custom Swarovski and Pearl Waistband by VdV Accessories)

A graduate of the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London with a BA in Fashion Design Technology (Women), Darcel debuted her first post-graduation collection at the Islands of the World Fashion Week in Nassau, the Bahamas in late 2008, returning the year after to win the Next Generation Designer Award with her second collection. Deciding to venture into the bridal realm in 2013, she empathizes with the great lengths brides go to in order to look and feel their best, during what can be a very testing and fragile time. This, she says, come from her own life journey with regards to beauty and strength, both inner and outer. She considers herself to be a “world citizen”, having lived in Israel, Syria, Cyprus and England throughout her life and travelling extensively beyond that. She speaks four languages, including Greek fluently, and has a strong understanding and appreciation for various cultures, countries, languages and all the adjustments necessary when moving from one place to the next; something a destination bride will definitely benefit from. Her experiences around the world have definitely contributed to the unique aesthetic of the VdV brand, including her accessories, which are designed to evoke “a moment of fantasy and inspiration through the noise of the norm.”

( Swarovski Body Jewelry Cover Up by VdV Accessories)

( Swarovski Body Jewelry Cover Up by VdV Accessories)

The designer operates a one woman show from conception to consultation to execution, exercising her skills in pattern making, fitting, sewing, hand stitching and particularly beading and lace embellishment, which she has become known for. The range of body chains, hair combs, bandeaus, hair pins, veils, crowns, bridal belts and other pieces for bridal and special occasion is created using fine materials like genuine Swarovski crystals and pearls, silk and handmade imported lace.  She prides herself on not being conventional with the designs that are 100% her own, and pushing brides to consider less traditional options, particularly in the Caribbean where wedding traditions are still heavily embedded in the culture.

(Bird Cage Veil by VdV Accessories)

(Lace and Feather Headpiece by VdV Accessories)

“My best work has always been the original, non-traditional work that the bride trusts me to create for her; the work that is most me,” she says. Darcel designs with a whimsical touch of fantasy, shown in her runway work over the years. Since moving into bridal, old vintage glamour is also one of her biggest inspirations, most evident in the VdV accessories. The unconventional bride can definitely incorporate these far from spurious pieces into her attire, both for her special day and beyond. Even for the simple bride who may not subscribe to the “glitterati”, a touch, a sparkle from VdV Accessories is the perfect way to bask in a slice of bridal heaven.

( Veil, Dress and Hair Piece by VdV Accessories)

( Cathedral Veil by VdV Accessories)

Overall styling advice and other services for both the bride and her bridal party are available from the designer, who has found over the years that there is never a dull moment in the bridal world, with the most unusual requests constantly coming her way. One of her favourite projects to undertake is customization of gowns for the bride or bridesmaids, by taking something pre-purchased and transforming it using the VdV aesthetic into something new and original for its owner. She also believes in repurposing the bridal gown, having transformed her clients’ gowns into christening gowns when baby comes along and other items for the bride after the wedding. Having created her own daughter’s christening gown from a mix of her mother’s wedding dress and her First Communion dress, Darcel is also quite passionate about bringing luxury to the little ladies, continuing with her story.

(Pear and Crystal for Sienna Bandeau by VdV Accessories)

( Bridal Pouch with Lace and Pearl details by VdV Accessories)

Bridal season is in full swing so if you assume that this designer has her hands full, you are correct. Nonetheless, VdV accessories are available and made to order, either from previous designs or custom. Inspired destination brides can even collaborate with the designer to create gifts for the bridal party; a simple pearl necklace may be the perfect finishing touch presented as a bridal show gift to the maid of honour or bridesmaids. My advice is to get in touch and book a consultation as soon as possible, as time is definitely of the essence. Brides are able to pick up their pieces in studio, or have them delivered, even shipped internationally, so destination brides can definitely rest easy when it comes to their accessories.

( Vintage Hair Comb by VdV Accessories)(Swarovski and Pearl Dynasty Hair Comb by VdV Accessories)

I previously mentioned Darcel operating all aspects of her business. She is a major player in our fashion industry, both home and abroad. However, she contributes more than her fashion expertise, by increasing the marketability of destination Trinidad & Tobago to those brides who have the glitz and glamour of a VdV accessory in their trousseau and ever after. Mostly, purchases of VdV accessories make a profound statement – the destination bride stand to support a talented young woman who is a mother and a creative, who, despite medical challenges and life obstacles, has accepted herself and stands to be a beacon of hope for those women facing struggles but who also dare to dream and rise above them. This is the story behind her brand, and the story of the women she encounters. There is little doubt that as a bride who spends time with this designer, you will be inspired by more than the accessories she creates for you; you will be inspired by the value of her journey and the ability to move fearlessly into the next chapter of your own story.

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/VDV_Accessories

House of VDV Studio:  Central Trinidad

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houseofvdv/

Blogspot: http://houseofvdv.blogspot.com/

Email: houseofvdv@gmail.com

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Sophisticated Destination Bride by Charu Lochan Dass

Destination brides have bridal identities too! Just because the bride is having a destination wedding does not always mean that she will be clad in typical resort wear of typical materials and shades of white.  Obvious images that grace the cover of some wedding magazine or cover story with exclusive photos of the random celebrity and her destination wedding in her common tropical inspired wedding dress comes to mind .  However stop for a minute or two and recollect that under this façade is a living person who has likes and dislikes, who has their own culture and experiences which have played a huge part in forming their identity (apart from their parents’ DNA). Now that you know this information think of the identities in your girls squad or circle or whatever you all call it these days. Are the identities as colourful as a rainbow? Can you find the tomboy, the girly girl, the hippie, the feminist, the “bourgeoisie” ? If the answer is yes then you can understand my train of thought.  Simply, brides have identities. Although destination weddings may allot some restrictions to brides in terms of choice of materials for climate this does not exempt the destination bride from having a bridal identity. Charu Lochan Dass is a designer based in Trinidad and Tobago. CLD is the name of her fashion house. She creates clothing inspired by women and her niche caters to their distinct identities. Undeniably, she will be featured here because of her unsurpassed empathy for identities as it relates to the destination bride.

Charu Lochan Dass was born in India and brought to Trinidad to live at an early age of six years. She grew up in Trinidad for some formative years of her life and later returned to India to pursue her studies in Business Administration. She left India again to study Fashion Design and Marketing at London College of Fashion. This decision to change fields was not the result of an overnight epiphany. Charu was exposed to creative thinking and creative design as a child. She developed a flair for the artsy field. In her teen years she converted her mother’s intricate Indian hand woven table runner into a belt. Moreover, Charu  spent some time with one of her aunts in India who operated a fashion boutique. Charu would take her ability to sketch designs there and bring them to life via execution of the design plans. When she returned to Trinidad she would start up her retail boutique. Yet, she would not stop there she was always at the grind designing and launching collections. Finally CLD the atelier was launched at #55 Gallus Street Woodbrook in Trinidad. CLD made its debut and its contribution to the local landscape then it began its journey to take over the fashion globe. The designer’s aesthetic had such a worldly appeal that the brand has stamped its name in fashion markets as far as Amsterdam and Spain ( sold exclusively at BoutiKm5 in Ibiza). Charu’s inspiration comes from almost anything that moves her soul. Nonetheless, the CLD brand exudes sophistication, elegance, poise, sensuality, feminine wiles and characteristics that accentuate the silhouette of the woman. Charu’s collections range from prêt a porter, bridal to resort. Often the fabrics Charu work with for these collections are silk, lace, chiffon and georgette to name a few. These types of materials allow for the movement of the clothing. Her designs come alive and sway with the wind and movement of the woman.

CLD’s recent collection is great for the destination bride who associates herself with that sophisticated bridal identity.  This destination bride does not need to hassle herself with bridal attire. If I were to describe this type of bride I would say she maintains a bridal identity that is a paradox. Her sophistication is fierce yet charming. This equates adjectives for the modern day woman who is also a destination bride. Her wedding and wedding moon pieces can be found at CLD. She can even go ahead and postpone her “bridezilla” coronation and opt for the “bridechilla” role and become the queen of “bridechilla” village with this new solution. The bridal resort collection strikes a chord with grace and empowerment. Destination brides can embrace a collection that features minimal patterns, bell bottom pant suits, peplum tops, capes, A-line, sheath and trumpet silhouettes which are flattering for most body shapes. Inherent to this collection are signature CLD details that highlight Charu’s exposure to creative culture. In addition CLD launched “Satya” an Indo fusion fashion collection for the modern woman. The timing is perfect as brides can find more variety to add to their bridal wardrobe and resort collection!! Notwithstanding, CLD also offers seamstress services  for destination brides who need a few adjustments to their choices. The cuts and styles work well for the bride hosting her destination wedding in Trinidad and Tobago. Albeit the destination bride can also work with the designer with her own design in mind and together they can bring this idea to a reality.  The decision to choose CLD would be a consequence of wise investment thinking as these designs are high quality, unique yet functional.

The CLD brand is powerful. It transcends epochs and stands out as the epitome of the new age destination bride. Women of any colour, social class, culture and background who identify with the caricature of the sophisticated woman can wear CLD.  Charu understands the women who are future destination brides, bridal party members and guests. She connects with them through these designs. In addition, Charu recently tied the knot and is living the wedded life so she has more experience and perspective to add to her destination bridal design etiquette and fervor. The bridal party and guests can also benefit from choosing CLD, the bride’s new found designer binge. Everyone can browse through the many resort and prêt a porter collection from CLD to put together their attire. Their one of a kind outfit would definitely stand out. They would be taking a labour of love with them when they return to their host country. The versatility of the pieces would allow them to wear these clothing for several other occasions. The wearer does not have to worry about looking out of place or being over dramatic as these designs were created with the woman in mind and it resonates with trends that ensure a global appeal.

Fashion designers in Trinidad and Tobago do not mass produce as the major fashion houses in other fashion destinations. Hence, when the destination bride chooses a local designer such as CLD she can bet that she will be helping to support small micro economic enterprises, diversifying the destination’s economy (via sales), distributing a multiplier effect  and circulation of dollars in that economy, diversification of the local tourism product. At the same time she gets to experience the creative process and by product of creative thinking and design that is handmade, created from the depth of the artisan’s soul , curated with individual aesthetic and customized with love just for her.  The dynamics, rationale and advantages of buying local for a destination bride are undisputed and outstanding.  So whether the bride is planning for her betrothal, destination wedding or wedding moon CLD is brand she should consider looking up and scheduling a bridal consultation for herself and her girl squad. When all goes well she can enlist the brand at her bridal shower or in her wedding invitation for the attendees to also sneak a peek at CLD’s designs and make their own preparations. Finally, this would ease some of the drama out of the bride’s life and she can breathe a sigh of relief whilst checking off these items from her wedding list.

Contact CLD here

Instagram

www.instagram.com/charulochandass

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/charulochandass/

Phone

1.868.222.5789

Email

charulochandass@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Soca Smallies Kiddies Carnival Band

The beautiful thing about Trinidad Carnival is that everyone gets to experience part of it. This year I highlight a Kiddies Carnival Band named, “Soca Smallies”. This year their presentation is called “Rainforest Romp.” This band participates in the Junior Parade of the Bands. This is also an all inclusive band as the children are provided with snacks and drinks on the road. The Soca Smallies band invites parents to enjoy this “one day fun day” with their children. Masqueraders meet with the band on Carnival Saturday morning.

rainforest-romp

Photo Credit: Rachel De Nobriga

This small band is unique because the band leader actually provides a concept and a design for a costume. A detailed list of design instructions and materials will be provided to guests. This means the parent and the child can make the costume together. This gives the parent/child relationship a further boost as they get to create  and learn together whilst improving their team building skills and scoring some major relationship goals. Of course if parents are super busy they can always consult the band leader who will refer them to someone who can get the job done!

Registration for “Soca Smallies” takes place at Caboodle on Long Circular Road.

soca-smalliesPhoto Credit: Rachel De Nobriga

You can find more about them on their Facebook Page at

https://www.facebook.com/Soca-Smallies-Kiddies-Carnival-Band-431704253706779/

You can also call them at 1.868.477.3091

Brian Mac Farlane's Cazabon The Art of Living

In 2017 designer Brian Mac Farlane has taken to his mas camp his plight to advocate to the authorities the restoration of the country’s indigenous heritage and architecture. His presentation this year is called Cazabon: The Art of Living. It is his intention through the designs that he can call to action the “powers that be” to do something to preserve the wealth of the nation’s national heritage particularly the architecture from  the artist, Jean Michel Cazabon’s era ( late 1800’s and the early 1900’s). His expectations would materialize in the form of haute couture costumes displayed on persons owning roles from that era in a spectacle bound by a unanimous magnitude of architectural inspiration. This presentation would convene several artisans from costume to fashion designers. Brian Mac Farlane even took under his wing top graduates of The University of Trinidad and Tobago: Caribbean Academy for Fashion and Design.

voyage-de-la-mode-claudia-peagus-female

Voyage de la Mode by Claudia Pegus

Photo Credit:  Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

Cazabon’s paintings are colourful and resemble snapshots of the period the artist existed in and its immediate society. The people during that time wore colourful clothing because they were free to do so (post emancipation era). However, the designers took an all white disposition with several shades of white, hues of gold and brown. Since this is art one has to question the artist’s intention and the message he wants to communicate (which one will only know when one asks the creative director  because art is subject to multiple interpretation). I am under the impression that these characters are cast in white because they are souls of the people of that time.  Cazabon’s art featured stills of life paintings whilst Mac Farlane and his cohort of designers depict this time  capsule through creative costume design and movement of haute couture clothed masqueraders.

madame-mille-fleur-monsiur-mille-fleur-couple-brian-macfarlaneMonsieur Mille Fleur and Madame Mille Fleur by Brian Mac Farlane

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

The regalia, glitz and glamour of Cazabon’s era via this band were launched at one of the Magnificent Seven buildings late last year. Again highlighting Brian’s  fixation with the conservation and restoration of architecture that served its prime during Cazabon’s time. In an interview Mac Farlane was noted for saying that his intention is to use unity to break silence and present splendor, beauty and revelry with a purpose via acknowledging profoundly rich heritage and culture. Designer icons and the local fashion industry’s rising stars occupy the band’s creative cast. Their names include Claudia Pegus, Peter Elias, Dale Angus, Dianne Hunt, Adrian Foster, Heather Jones, Dhisha Moorjani, Fazaad Mohammed, Charu Lochan Dass, Harvey Robertson, Kaleen Sanois and last but not least Brian Mac Farlane.

la-belle-creole-peter-elias-femaleLe Belle Creole by Peter Elias

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

aristocratic-aura-heather-jonesAristocratic Aura by Heather Jones

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

The sections include names like The White Hall Affair (designed by Adrian Foster), Apna Desh (designed by Dhisha Moorjani), Citizens for Conservation ( designed by Harvey Robertson), Felicity (designed by Charu Lochan Dass), Gang Gang Sarah and Tom (designed by Dale Angus), Messenger of Change (designed by Kaleen Sanois),  Le Belle Creole (designed by Peter Elias), Mademoiselle Boissierre (designed by Dianne Hunt), Madame Boissierre (designed by Dianne Hunt), Ministress of  Hope (designed by Dianne Hunt), Madame Mille Fleur ( designed by Brian Mac Farlane), Monsieur Mille Fleur (designed by Brian Mac Farlane), The Gate Keepers (designed by Fazaad Mohammed), Aristocratic Aura (designed by Heather Jones) and Voyage de la Mode (designed by Claudia Pegus).

madame-boisserie-dianne-huntMadame Boissiere by Dianne Hunt

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

The White Hall Affair designed by Adrian Foster is already sold out. The White Hall was formerly owned by Joseph Leon Agostini. Following his death it was then occupied by Robert Henderson and his family. However an account of the interior design, architecture and atmosphere of social events at the White Hall from the author of “The Great Eight”, Mr. Anthony  De Verteuil seemed to inspire designer Adrian Foster. He took reference from this 19th century Edwardian era. He believes that the spirits of Henderson’s guests remained within the walls of the magnificent building. He believes they merged with the Corsican, Moorish architecture forming silhouettes from French style windows and fretwork trimmings to large coral stone pillars that support the structure. He believes their trapped souls continue to roam the hallways and main ballroom as their haunting presence continues to preserve the rich history of time.

white-hall-buildingPhoto Credit: Adrian Foster

the-whitehall-affair-adrian-fosterThe White Hall Affair by Adrian Foster

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane’s Carnival Mas’ Camp

Apna Desh is designed by Dhisha Moorjani of House of Jaipur.  The costumes from Apna Desh- Our Land/Our Country reflect the conservative fashion and cultural design of traditional mas. These costumes feature a full collection of ethnic inspired Indian accessories detailed in silver. The female costumes come in several options. These include Sari or Gharara and top (skirt and top). The Apna Desh costumes are investment pieces as they can be worn again at a non Carnival occasion. Dhisha Moorjani (House of Jaipur) states, “It was Brian’s idea to use this theme and I followed the guidelines for colour scheme; beige and sepia tones. I used lots of cotton. In 1886 Cazabon’s painting of Indo Trinidadians was displayed at The Colonial Exhibit in London (renamed politically by Geofferey Maclean “The East Indian Group and The East Indian Women”). It depicted an Indo Trinidadian family; a mother, a father, a daughter. They are seen standing in their thatched roof house. The men are in their Kurta and Dhoti pants and the women in their flowing saris. The costumes for Cazabon The Art of Living feature options of Sari or Gharara which are sewn and easily arranged especially for anyone who never wore a sari. There are lots of silver pieces as accessories to reflect the heavy adornment of their bodies in jewelry. They did not trust banks during that time and converted their gold coins into jewelry.”

 

apna-desh-tripleApna Desh by Dhisha Moorjani (House of Jaipur)

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane’s Mas Camp

Citizens for Conservation is designed by Harvey Robertson. He affirms, “The conceptual stages of design and learning about the work of Citizens for Conservation inspired my design. The group is most known for its recent efforts to keep historical architecture alive. The demolition of the Greyfriars Church on Frederick Street in Port of Spain also inspired my designs. This church was built in the 1800’s during the Cazabon era. The materials for this costume consist of 100% cotton with shades of white and hues of brown.”

greyfriar

Greyfriars Church

Photo Credit: Joshua Lue Chee Kong

citizens-for-conservation-harvey-robertsonCitizens For Conservation by Harvey Robertson

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

citizens-for-conservation-harvey-robertson-femaleCitizens For Conservation by Harvery Robertson

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

Felicity is designed by Charu Lochan Dass for the brand CLD. In her words, “ Felicity is the bringing together a mix of pleasures and stylishness. It depicts both mid 1800’s fashion and the sobering yet intricate Victorian architecture. It exchanges historical extravagance for modern mobility, keeping the traditional trims; gloves and head scarves to bring to life an era so filled with presence and sophistication.”

felicity-female-cldFelicity by Charu Lochan Dass (CLD)

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

Gang Gang Sarah and Tom is designed by Dayle Angus from Tobago. This costume is detailed using lots of natural materials such as cowrie shells to represent the cotton from the silk cotton tree. The designer had a vision for a rugged, strong look for this costume. She collaborated with Dwayne Trim of  Mudern Mud in Tobago to include this neutral colour element in her design aesthetic. Designer Dale Angus says ” The whole idea around Cazabon is his representation of all aspects of society during that time period. It translates to what was happening in Tobago at that time, you would’ve seen a rise in the folklore. Gang Gang Sarah is a folklore  that originated between the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. When we talk about architecture of that time period and the use of nature, I approached him ( Brian Mac Farlane ) with Gang Gang Sarah. The main focus was the silk cotton tree. The tree stands today in Tobago and it is seen as a historical treasure. “

gang-gang-sarah-and-tom-dayle-angus

Gang Gang Sarah and Tom by Dayle Angus

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

Messenger of Change is designed by Kaleen Sanois. The battymamzelle or dragonfly is used as the symbol for messenger of change. The base of the costume was inspired by this creature. The designer drew inspiration from common details of colonial houses seen in the lace work and the light weight cottons. Despite being a representation from the Cazabon era more flare was added to the look with gems, piping and gold accents. Designer Kaleen Sanois reiterates, ” The Messenger of Change is the mascot of the band. The message is that we need to come together as a people, to be united and to enjoy the country that is our own, and celebrate what we have left of our culture. Anybody can be The Messenger. I believe we’re all artists in some way and should use our art to promote positive change in any way. The Messenger of Change falls into the Cazabon era as a reminder that we are beautiful and unique people just like the battymamzelle.”

art-of-cazabon

messenger-of-change-kaleen-sanoisMessenger of Change by Kaleen Sanois

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Mas Camp

The Gatekeepers section is designed by Fazad Mohammed. In his words he describes the characters’ portrayal, “I am majestically unyielding and a grand sight to behold. My magnificence lives on through the traditions that now unfold. I stand guard at the treasure’s place centuries apart, defy me and to this day you shall know my wrath. We defy the ravages time and stand among the chosen few, we are the gatekeepers of the Estates and our presence beckons to you!” – Fazad Mohammed 2016.

the-gate-keepers-fazaad-mohammed-maleThe Gate Keepers by Fazad Mohammed

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

He goes on to say that he was always  fascinated by the grand opulence of our heritage sites and their presence, which gives people a peek into a period in history that shaped their existence today. The Cazabon era set the tone for inspiring their creations for 2017 carnival and the design team saw it fit to present a collection that reflected the periods fashion and trends as well as stimulate discussion on the preservation of local heritage monuments. Through the portrayal of “The Gatekeepers” Fazad presents a look at the Grand iron and metal designs that adorn the magnificent structures. He also wanted to pay tribute to the men and women that contributed to its preservation. To this day he feels there is a sense of ethereal presence within these structures that stimulates one’s curiosity about life on the other side of the grand gates.

the-gate-keepers-female-fazaad-mohammedThe Gate Keepers by Fazad Mohammed

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

He believes that The Gatekeepers therefore, are those story tellers that brings to life this period in today’s modern world. Furthermore, he asserts that he would like to take the opportunity to celebrate the grand architectural magnificence and craftsmanship of the wrought iron artists. He feels that their creations adorn and protect our heritage estate houses and is a source of great inspiration to our current masterminds and architects. In this collection Fazad confirms that he maintained a strong connection with the actual fine fashionable fabrics of the period, ie cotton, silk, satin, lace and chiffon. He states that the accessories mirrored the opulence of the fine jewelry crafted from pearls, gold and other gems.  Fazad feels that the greatest significance is the wire work done by our local craftsmen to tell the story of the grand wrought iron artisans of the period.

the-gate-keepers-couple-fazaad-mohammed

The Gate Keepers by Fazad Mohammed

Photo Credit: Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp

If you would like to know more about the presentation of Cazabon: The Art of Living then please review the information below.

Brian Mac Farlane’s mas camp is located at #49 Rosalino Street Woodbrook.

Telephone Contact: (868) 625-8931

Email Address: macfarlanecarnival@gmail.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/macfarlanecarnival/

Website: www.macfarlanemas.com

The Mac Farlane Carnival Mas Camp is one of the featured stops on my Trinidad Carnival Fashion Tour this Saturday 11th February 2017. If you would like to take the tour then please contact me at letsgotrinidadandtobago@gmail.com

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

5 lessons from Heather Jones International

“Heather is a quintessential artist of this millennium representing the transitional era of self-assertion and individuality. Her designs are motivated to make women feel good about themselves, to empower and inspire.

The endless limitation of her work is like a powerful river with countless branches, which develops into outrageous waterfalls. Her work brings a divine blessing to each individual that comes into contact with her designs.

They can imagine the warm tropical nights, cool sensuous days, deliciously soothing waters, the earthly rich flora of orchids and hibiscuses; all woven into the magical loom that Heather creates.”

919061_135304286659433_721031091_o

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

I first met Heather at the first Tobago Fashion Coda (although I do not think she remembers me or that anybody remembers much ha ha except that it was an awesome night!). The committee had just invited persons to indulge in the all inclusive refreshments done by the Tobago Hotel School. There we saw Heather and approached her to say “hello” and extend our congratulations to her on her collection. She was absolutely “down to earth” and so warm in her response to us. This is something I will forever cherish. I also take forward with me in life a few lessons from that moment. The first lesson is no matter who you are and whichever fields you assert yourself in always remember to treat others as you would like to be treated. The second lesson is people will remember you for character. Hence with that being said I am jumping into my Heather Jones Designs International review.

heather

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

I grew up hearing and seeing Heather Jones Designs broadcasted on television or glorifying the newspapers (yes I used to read the paper before the advent of online news). My chats with Leasel Rovedas and Omzadd Khan would further reveal that Heather even designed and supplied the Caribbean Airlines uniforms (no wonder our flight attendants look so beautiful). They would further confirm that although people are more conscious of the fashion industry today in Trinidad entrepreneurship still requires a lot of work before results are realized. In one of our discussions we realized that Heather really has accomplished a lot over the decades; working at her craft. It is safe to say her success did not happen overnight and this remains the third lesson I wish to note for my own life.

hj-white

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

Heather Jones achieved the “International Pret a Porter Style Award” for  Fashion Week of the Americas in 2002. She went on to win “Woman of Great Esteem Award” from New York’s Woman of Great Esteem Foundation 2005. In 2008 she received the award for “Best Trinidad and Tobago Designer.” Then she achieved “The Chaconia Gold Medal,” a national award from her home country Trinidad and Tobago for her contribution in fashion in 2009. Despite receiving awards it seemed Heather understood that this alone does not translate to “Ah Reach”.  This is my fourth lesson from Heather Jones. There are no limits for success only room for improvement and these accolades were only material confessions that Heather Jones was on to something and she needed to listen to her intuition and figure out what’s next for her brand and how can she do this better.

look-1

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

look-3

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

I must commend Heather’s focus on her art, her strategic planning and execution as Heather Jones Designs catapulted further to become international. Her collections were already being sold in about thirty stores in the U.S.A and were now being showcased on the global map from Asia, Europe to the Mediterranean markets. The highlights of these shows included attending “Me My Mode Show” in Paris in 2012, “Labo Ethnik Fashion and Lifestyle” in  Paris in 2014, “The Gallery in Berlin” in 2013, “Japan International Fashion Week”, “Miami Fashion Week”, “Unconventional Wedding District” in Milan and “Mediterranean Fashion Dreams” in Italy. Currently her collections are being sold in Japan and Italy among other destinations. Undoubtedly, Heather Jones has put Trinidad and Tobago on the world map.

pantsuit-2

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

dress-with-wrapPhoto Credit: Heather Jones International

Heather Jones designs Prêt a Porter, Luxury, Resort, Bridal even Monday Wear and Fete Wear. The art of hand painting which she acquired was passed down to her from generation to generation. She aces garment construction and actually learned this from an early age. However, the striking thread that ties Heather Jones Designs International from where she started to the direction she is headed would be the marriage of traditional with contemporary in such a way that her creations are timeless and transitional. Heather Jones is relevant to her target market across many oceans in varying cultures in different age groups. She is cognizant of the trends, styles, colours, designs and fuses that with the uniqueness of her perspective of the Caribbean rather the way she views it. She finishes her designs with authenticity from her signature which is hand painting.  Anyone can spot a purchase from Heather Jones Designs International immediately because her aesthetic is so identifiable. Similarly anyone wearing merchandise from Heather Jones Designs International will be easily spotted because her work stands out anywhere and everywhere. Heather Jones Designs International is an iconic brand that captures the essence of Trinidad and Tobago. Our culture is a melting pot of influences. We are a “fusion people”. The designer understands this in fact she is a product of this environment. She is alert to all of this therefore she channels this into her designs and it is inevitable that the finished product encapsulates fusion fashion.

heather-hand-paintedPhoto Credit: Heather Jones International

hj-resort-dressPhoto Credit: Heather Jones International

Notwithstanding, this nation is very fortunate to have someone so valuable, alive and approachable for consultation on the way forward for Trinidad and Tobago’s creative industries. At first glance the average person browsing her collections or viewing a random piece in a magazine or newspaper may not think that this woman, this creative entrepreneur, this iconic designer is so stellar or that she packs all these titles and accolades behind her name. Here is where I take my fifth lesson from Heather Jones. The lesson here is not to build to display but build to “disappear” or “work behind the scenes” to accomplish your life purpose. This is such a paradox as the fashion world is one that requires creating illusions, fostering imagination and brand communication through visual appeal. However, building to disappear and fulfill your purpose rather than building to “show off” can be done and Heather is a prime example of that. She has been building her empire in the fashion world neither for ostentatious, selfish purposes nor for expectations of recognition and status quo but for her life’s purpose. She exercises her will to realize her purpose in life by making the dreams of other women come true when she designs her collections. Her intentions are pure. She makes women feel better, feel empowered and feel inspired to go out into the world and complete their purpose too.

resort-hjd

Photo Credit: Heather Jones International

resort-heatherPhoto Credit: Heather Jones International

You can visit her website to preview her collection if you wish to stand out in local designer wear this Trinidad Carnival 2017 at www.heatherjonesinternational.net or visit her facebook page at www.facebook.com/heatherjonesinternational or call her up at 1.868.622.9075 or 1.868.467.9756

Heather Jones Designs International will be on my Carnival Fashion Tour this Saturday 11th February 2017. Booking for the tour is available and you can send an email to letsgotrinidadandtobago@gmail.com to register.

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Lost Tribe's Riddim

Before I proceed with my review for The Lost Tribe Carnival 2017 I would like to set the record straight on my thoughts about our Carnival fashion. I want to reiterate that Trinidad Carnival remains a haven  for “creatives”. This means there is always room for more design aesthetics, creativity, new directions and new concepts that resonate with or even challenge the traditional ideals. Of course our Carnival fashion is embedded in our history and we owe all of this that we have today; our creativity, our skills, our talents to the foundation that gave the present day mas’ men and mas’ women their jump off into the Carnival scene. There are so many niches in the present and there is still room for more. As “creatives” we are entitled to critically examine art forms but we must not judge and bash each other for being too traditional or too modern because this is Trinidad Carnival. All the different facets of Trinidad Carnival encompass our Carnival fashion landscape and neither is wrong for bringing to fruition their contribution to Trinidad Carnival fashion.

riddim-v2-1-2-finalPhoto Credit: The Lost Tribe

The Lost Tribe Carnival had its debut in 2016. The Creative Director Valmiki Maharaj and Co –  Creative Director  Anya Ayoung Chee sought to expound upon a mas that was missing from the Carnival. They felt it was time to deliver the people from the lack of  theatre, drama and storytelling on the Carnival road. They intended to bridge a gap between traditional mas and modern day. The Lost Tribe Carnival brands itself as an alternative concept band.This year their presentation awakens the creatives in dance, music and theatre yet again as they bring forth “The Riddim.” The cast of designers include Shawn Dhanraj, JP Richardson, Keegan Simon, Nadya Shah, Shari Cumberbatch, Simon White, Jeri-Lee Alexander & Lauren Baccus and Aaron Schneider.  “The Riddim” in my words would describe the sound of Trinidad Carnival.

The Areito Section

Areito is a traditional, Amerindian based prayer ceremony.  The female costume includes head piece, bra and bottom piece, full-body chain and backpack. The male costume  includes head piece, chest piece, sharwani pants and backpack.

arieto

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreiraarieto-malePhoto Credit : Laura Ferreira

 

The Bamboo Section

This section was inspired by the sound of the tamboo bamboo musical instrument and was designed to produce the sound off the moving Bamboo Cathedral. The female costume features head piece, bra and bottom piece, cropped top, hip chain, leggings and backpack. The male costume  includes head piece, sleeves, long pants, satchel and backpack.

bamboo-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreirabamboo-malePhoto Credit: Laura Ferreira

The Cutta Section

The Cutta Drum from The Laventille Rhythm Section heavily influences this section of The Riddim. The female costume features hoodie, bra and bottom piece, leggings, bracelets, foot pieces and necklace. The male costume includes turban, dhoti pants, Indian Drum and backpack

 cutta-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira cutta-male

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira

The Djun Section

This costume is described as being an inspiration from the “Djun – Djun” drum from the Laventille Rhythm Section. This drum also fits into the category of traditional war drums. The female costume consists of headpiece, whole piece, cuffs, neck piece, necklace, cape and backpack. The male costume consists of headpiece, arm  pieces, pants, neck piece, backpack and Djembe Drum.

djun-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira djun-malePhoto Credit: Laura Ferreira

The Dudup Section

This section bears influence from the Dudup pan  or as The Lost Tribe considers it; the forefather of the steel pan.  The female costume includes head piece, monokini, bangles, neck piece, cape and standards. The male costume includes neck piece, belt, pants, backpack and standard.

dudup-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira dudup-malePhoto Credit: Laura Ferreira

The Iron Section

This theme has connotations of the first strike, heartbeat and soul of The Laventille Rhythm Section. The female costume entails tiara, bra, monokini, cuffs, collar and backpack. The male costume includes head band, collar, khaki pants, leg pieces and backpack.

iron-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira iron-malePhoto Credit: Laura Ferreira

The Jab Section

The Lost Tribe Carnival defines The Jab as a spirit. They believe The Jab is a profoundly dark and inspiring story rooted at the core of local culture. The Jab costume is inspired by the sounds, visualization and movement of the J’Ouvert experience. The female costumes highlight headphone head piece, bra, monokini, Obi belt, bangles and backpack. The male costume showcases headphone head piece, neck piece, joggers, Crix tin, whistle and backpack.

jab-female

Photo Credit: Laura Ferreira jab-malePhoto Credit: Laura Ferreira

 

After previewing these costumes I understand and appreciate The Lost Tribe Carnival’s contribution for 2017. I am fully aware that the creative process was  carefully planned and executed. The costumes are synchronized with their “behind the scenes” meanings and  relate to the design production. This is a revolution in Trinidad Carnival fashion and it is coherent. Their efforts to introduce theatre, drama, and storytelling are on point. There is zero mismatching of concept to creation. The cast of designers under the stewardship of the creative directors has managed to capture their stories in the essence of the costume design. However, this does not stop here as this group used the modern day facilities and technologies to make their impact and etch their brand identity in the hearts and minds of  all who are interested in being part of their tribe. You can contact The Lost Tribe Carnival at 2017.losttribecarnival.com or you can take my Carnival Fashion tour which will be offered this Saturday 11th February 2017 to learn more.

In closing my words of advice for the creative community and the spectators of Carnival Fashion are, “Embrace who we are and the bigger picture of what we are and the direction for Trinidad Carnival rather the greater vision for Trinidad Carnival, respect each others work, focus on the task at hand, at “getting it done” and to consistently and continuously work together because united we will stand and divided we will fall.”

Eastern Fusion Fashion in Trinidad

Fashion has always been a way for one to express oneself and make a statement about one’s identity without saying a word. It is more profound than surface appeal to increase one’s attractiveness. It delves with a psychology of colours as each colour has its own meaning. Similarly each fabric whether silk or cotton attracts particular vibrations and energies. When the Indians arrived to Trinidad they brought their customs and their ways of dressing. Some of those remain inherent in the styles of Trinidadian styling today. Silver toe rings were worn in pairs on the second toe of each foot on a woman. It is said that this custom had certain reproductive health benefits for the woman. Also it was insisted that the ring ought to be silver to better absorb energies from the earth that would pass through the body and refresh the being wearing the toe ring. Bangles were cited as having benefits of keeping energy in the body and helping women with blood circulation. Nose rings were marked for benefits of reducing pain when the married woman goes into labour. It is believed that the nose ring would connect with a nerve that runs through that part of the body.

india

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/212584044881223568/

Of course there is a glaring difference in perception of colour by persons in the Western world versus persons in the Eastern parts like India and Pakistan. We live in modern day Trinidad, an island in the Western Hemisphere juxtapose to Eastern and Western influences. This makes our culture and fashion even more vibrant and dynamic. Our creatives steadily made their move in fusion fashion. Local “fashionpreneurs” who recognized the importance of ethnicity to our culture (even those who have an affinity for East meets West trends) picked up the pace to fill the gaps and deliver fashion tailored to anyone interested in the Eastern Fusion Fashion niche in Trinidad. They identified fabrics, materials, tones and trends with the Trinidadian in mind and created looks that suited the Caribbean woman. The top local Eastern Fusion Fashion designer brands are House of Jaipur,  Neha Karina and Aiela Fashions.

hatecopy

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/Achkemus/hatecopy/

hatecopy2

Photo Credit: http://instaliga.com/ru/hatecopy?page=1089952981849780449_2120555&loadCount=2

House of Jaipur is owned by Dhisha Moorjani. She was born to Indian parentage and raised in an Indian home in Trinidad. After her parents passed she devoted her love for them into the brand House of Jaipur. She converted her parents’ home into a beautiful boutique that offers persons the chance to experience Indian lifestyle and culture. She has several Indian fashion fusion lines, luxury resort wear, festival wear and modern Indian wear that she designed herself. There is a tea room for persons to gorge on Indian delicacies and sip from a chai bar. She also curates lifestyle pieces at her store so you can take away not only memories but a piece of the House of Jaipur experience with you. House of Jaipur located at #14 O’Connor Street Woodbrook was recently renovated and has been transformed even more to entertain and excite your senses when you visit!

hoj

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/houseofjaipur/?fref=ts

hoj4

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/houseofjaipur/?fref=ts

Neha Karina, the brand is very versatile. It is owned by Neha Dawar who is from India . She is of mixed parentage Trinidadian and Indian. Neha lives in Trinidad now. She has also completed her studies in India, Dubai and locally at  The Caribbean Academy for Fashion and Design. Neha has an online fashion and beauty series called Coffee and Lipstick. She is also a stylist and marketing consultant. This designer focuses on youthful ethnic  bridal wear, festival wear as well as contemporary wear. You are almost guaranteed to find a striking statement piece in her store and I dare you not to leave without it. Persons can also collaborate with Neha and book a custom fitting for a style they may be interested in wearing. She also stocks stationery and a few lifestyle pieces for those interested.  Neha Karina is located at Hilton Hotel in Trinidad.

nk2

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/nehakarinaTT/

nk3

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/nehakarinaTT/

Last but not least is ethnic designer, Sharmila Maharaj.  Affectionately called Mila this designer is also a trained aesthetician, Mehendi artist  and beauty expert. Born to a Brazilian mother and a Trinidadian father she grew up with two cultures. The Trinidadian community she grew up in and quality time with her friends from the East played  huge roles in sculpting Mila’s attraction to the Eastern world. She is an avid jet setter and immerses herself in whichever culture and demographic that she interacts with. It is therefore no surprise to me that her journey in life has taken her creative soul on this path to create a supply of ethnic “athleisure” and contemporary ethnic fusion wear for the demand that is needed in Trinidad. She is the first person in Trinidad to create an athletic leisure “athleisure” hijab. She has also taken note of what is fashionably trending globally and used appropriate forecasting for her local debut. Her recent collection boasted of scarves, maxi shirt dresses and funky Samosa pants  just to name a few. Her clothing can be described as exclusively modest and reasonably priced. Mila’s boutique is based in Central Trinidad. You can browse her boutique collection online and discover a whole new world of fashionable clothing and accessories that have been awaiting your arrival all this time.

aiela

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/aielafashion/

aiela-2Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/aielafashion/

 

So folks if you did not know where to get your Eastern Fusion Fashion vibes now you do!

May the positive  energies from these pieces find a way to your closet!!!

May the designers continue to ignite the souls of you and others with their passion and creativity!