Strong collections take catwalk
Posted: Jun 15, 2015
The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Fashion Week 2015 concluded on a high note last week Friday, June 5, with the celebration of students from the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design (CAFD) who excelled over the four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in fashion design programme.
Last Friday’s Designer Critic and Senior Thesis Fashion Show held at the UTT National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) came to an emotional finale with the announcement and distribution of student awards. The event comprised three segments. First, the audience was treated to designs from the year-two CAFD fashion students’ knitwear and denim team projects, at which the students excelled.
Next was the Designer Critic Project, which was completed by the year-three students of the BFA in fashion design. Designer Critic is a conceptual project where the students and notable designers of the local fashion industry work together to create two final fashion looks produced by the students.
The first collaborating designer for 2015 was Robert Anthony Young with the theme, "The clothes are versatile: They transform." This theme was beautifully captured by winner of the Robert Young Award, Harvey Robertson. Robertson’s designs drew audible gasps and cheers from the audience when his two pieces were transformed—with the gentle touches of the models live on the runway—from a knee-length party dress into a flowing gown, and from a handbag accessory into a brilliantly coloured jacket.
The second collaborating designer was Shaun Griffith Perez with the theme, "Nostalgia: the 70s, the decade that defined us." Students were required to internalise and capture the following idea: The 1970s was a decade when T&T experienced prosperity and good fortune! Create a collection which uses this time period as your muse.
Winning the Shaun Griffith Perez Award was Fanny Murray with a fashion interpretation of the 1970s oil boom with black and gold A-line silhouette gowns reminiscent of the towering oil rigs of the southland. In second place was Nicketa Frank, showcasing two pieces inspired by the hibiscus flower in rich leaf green and lush orange floral designs with layered and tapered hemlines that spilled from the waistline to the floor.
The Senior Thesis Fashion Show was the highlight of the evening. Each final year fashion student was given the freedom to research and conceptualise her own themes, building on her imagination and years of training in art and design. A mini thesis collection of six looks was required. The Senior Thesis Fashion Show designs appealed to many different styles and tastes. The CAFD does not produce homogenous designers. The vast array of influences and target markets among the collections was exciting and encouraging.
The Peter Minshall Mancrab Carnival King-inspired print incorporated into the Fe26 collection by Renee Williams was both innovative and wonderfully unexpected.
Picture:retro wedding dresses
Kimberly Luces’ pale leather dragon-scale inspired long-sleeved white jacket debuted just in time to catch the international trend of interest in fantasy-themed fashion. The trend is fuelled by top pop-culture references like the TV series Game of Thrones and movies like The Desolation of Smaug and How to Train Your Dragon.
Shanice McDonald dropped her Streets of Mongolia theme into the Caribbean Sea with a colourful splash of sharp angles and delicate fabric manipulations in teals, yellow-golds with shocking accents of red. Up close, one could only marvel at the detailing of Paulene Dennis’ plus-size Curvaceous Woman of Luxury collection, with asymmetrical lines complementing the more ample figure combined with well-tailored workmanship—subtle and intricate.
Sheneice James presented a collection entitled Chaos Theory. Her exploration of the theme and approach involved using a stiff, grey wool blend fabric with an almost patchwork frame, within which she established the structure of one of the pieces, a trendy, sleeveless trench coat. James will be attending Central Saint Martins College in London, England, for her postgraduate studies in fashion.
A favourite with the audience was Shurland Pasea’s 18th century Victorian collection entitled Victorian Warrior. Pasea, who won the CAFD Creative Design Award, said he wanted to change around the soft, ruffled signature style of the era and marry it with Roman-era female gladiators. What came down the runway was a crisply tailored, earthy-coloured mahogany- and mustard-hued collection of signature looks. They would appeal to the feminine but strong spirit of a woman who has a brave, bold personality.
The CAFD 2015 Student of the Year was Kaleen Sanois of fashion brand Kalois (pronounced "Kalore"). Sanois’ eclectic, pre-fall sportswear collection entitled Kraken included unique hard and soft fabrics.
A self-described non-conformist, Sanois remained committed to a very clean colour palette and A-line triangular shapes inspired partly by the tentacles of the mythical Kraken sea creature and partly by her love of architecture. There were some surprising colour insertions like a denim-blue chambray dress with a triangular silhouette, and a similar cropped chambray shirt with a deep velvet pair of shorts.
There were genuinely innovative groupings of fabrics, with truly unconventional combinations like her boxy, A-line sleeveless dress created using grey Svelte—a material typically used in flooring and furniture—with black novelty grey wool, along with a grey, short dress and hoodie, completely hand-knitted.
Some examples of fabric-use innovation included her use of neoprene in the creation of a stylish three-quarter length black hoodie. Neoprene is a soft, thin, synthetic, rubber-like material bearing the qualities of stretch, cushioning (to absorb the shock of everyday handling), low friction (it is scratch and rip resistant) and weather resistance. The fabric is made to shed water, making it an ideal outdoor material against rain, snow, sand and dust; sporting garments of the future indeed.
Kraken by Kaleen Sanois was the most organic, artistic and risky approach to design seen at the CAFD Bachelor’s degree level and it certainly paid off.
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