It was that time again, when fashionistas around Barbados were anticipating the island’s premier fashion event, BB Fashion Week! They battled through last week’s horrible weather with their excellent designer line-up & fresh model faces that were great additions to this year’s show.
My dear friend Jalicia Nightengale, a former Barbadian model who was based in Switzerland, was my date for the weekend. She & I mingled up a storm & met some great designers & fashionistas who I will later interview for my blog. During the days I attended, the highlight designs came from Kesia Estwick, Shanika Burnett, model-turn-designer Rhea Cummins-Jordan, Charu Lochan Dass, Anthony Redd & Kimon Baptiste.
Shanika Burnett of Shakad Designs started off the weekend with her fabulous designs. Her use of natural fibers & colorful hues come as no surprise, but her newest collection brought a more contemporary twist to her usual look. Shanika is known for her very afro-chic/afrocentric style & excellent tailoring. She did not disappoint.
As you all may know, I am slightly biased to Kesia Estwick due to my undying love for her impeccable taste as an artist. Kesia showcased both her popular KISS collection & her new SS2014 self-entitled collection. Her SS2014 Kesia collection, which features pieces that were used in one of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model‘s couture photoshoots, gave the audience a eyeful of modern elegance. This collection is a testament to her versatility as a designer. Kesia is already known for her edgy/risqué urban looks of KISS but switched it up to show that she is no ‘one trick pony’. The collection comprised of black & white combos, wine reds & navy with a touch of luxury for the sassy, sophisticated woman. Elements of sheer & cut-outs were focal trends in the Kesia collection. When I asked her what inspired her, she said, “It was a spur of the moment collection. I just had the feeling one day to create something beautiful so I started sketching & didn’t stop until I had about 20-something sketches on paper. Just like that, with no solid inspiration. Just a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I used a mix of brocade, lace, silk chiffon, sequined fabric & quilts in the collection. The Kesia SS14 collection I would say is soft & ethereal yet bold & powerful.”
Rhea Cummins-Jordan is also no stranger to the local fashion scene. The Barbadian model & ‘it-girl’ showcased her first ever collection, entitled Aria. It was a huge hit!! The collection was filled with fun, funky, effortless style. Perfect for teens & young adults. Denim, stretch twill & jersey were all used in the making of the collection. When asked about what inspired her, Rhea said, “My line was fun & quirky. It was a reflection of my personality & everyday dress basically. I drew inspiration from shapes & lines so a fair amount of patchwork is on many of the pieces.” Rhea is definitely one of the newest designing talents to watch out for.
A dynamic duo of two Trinidadian designers, Charu Lochan Dass & Anthony Redd, made for a great combo. Jalicia & I actually met these two during the intermission on the first night. We all instantly clicked & started chatting away. They had mentioned that they both actually have their own lines, but decided to come together & showcase under the name Anthony Redd Fashion House. Charu’s line is self-entitled, whereas Anthony’s is called Island Urban. I was immediately a fan of both of them when I saw their designs on the second night. Charu’s designs had classic, tailored lines with sensual cuts & alluring patterns. She describes her aesthetic as poised, elegant & confident. “Fabrics used were mainly silk for that look of aristocracy. Sheer fabrics for movement & lace to add that sexy element,” said Charu. Her professional counterpart, Anthony Redd, designs the male aesthetic of the collection. His look is much more relaxed with a casual urban finish but does not stray too far from the aim of confidence & polished style.
Last but by no means least on my list is Kimon Baptiste. Baptiste’s refreshing take on the use of color & patterns served up an ambiance that was authentically Caribbean, but with a contemporary take. Her all female collection was also wide ranged, from casual chic to feminine glamour. Pieces shown could easily cater to the trendy woman looking for something one of a kind to wear to a cocktail party or lunch/dinner with friends, & even to Caribbean pageant queens looking for that eye catching dress that stands them apart. All in all, despite any discrepancies, BB Fashion Week has always got great fashion talent on showcase with dazzling designs. Producer Rodney Powers has been a constant supporter of the arts & I congratulate him on pulling off yet another BB Fashion Week. I look forward to next year’s showcase.