Ceola does Colombiamoda // Day 2

My Day 2 and Colombiamoda’s official Day 1, Tuesday was a very long but very exciting experience.
It’s not every day you get to see how a world class fashion show and convention is orchestrated and executed. Not to say I took a glimpse backstage or anything, but the entire operation from the point of view of a spectator was seamless.

The day began with the herding of the press into our cool Inexmoda/Colombiamoda mini-buses to get us to the venue – Plaza Mayor – in time to go through the rigorous security checks and get seated comfortably for the inauguration of the trade show. Present was the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, who spoke about the tremendous growth the country has seen not just holistically but especially with regard to their position as the fashion hub of Latin America. The fashion industry of Colombia accounts for some 15.7% of employment in the country and there has been a 20% reduction in imports since 2013, an indication that far more preference and support was being shown to the national product. Those are statistics we in Trinidad & Tobago can only dream of seeing one day. If I’ve learned anything from this experience so far…it’s that Trinidad & Tobago has a long way to go before it can reasonably claim to have anything even resembling a fashion industry.

When I worked in government, we used to host a few developmental forums, and invited representatives from places like Singapore to conduct workshops and lectures on how to move from third world status to first world status. While Colombia may not be, on paper, a first world country (yet), I would not be surprised in the least if we would find more relevant and poignant solutions to our current crime scourge and societal issues by looking to countries like Colombia.

Anyway, enough politicking, on to the fashion! And fashion there was! This entire complex is basically a fashion mecca – so large  I haven’t even been able to see more than 30% of it’m sure. I hope to rectify that in the time I have left here. Yesterday was mostly a day of runways or “pasarelas”.

First up was the Non-Stop Runway, featuring four designers – Andrés Pajón, Bastardo, Mariangélica Guerra and Purpuratta. Andrés Pajón was my favourite in the lineup, due in part to his bright, colourful designs, heavy embellishment and distinctly feminine aesthetic. It also helped tremendously that he sent his models down the runway to Busy Signal’s Tic Toc :)

I also really enjoyed the intricacy of Mariangélica’s collection. Her largely neutral colour palette allowed the details of the interwoven fabric  to shine through. Loved the pops of teal throughout as well.

The next show I hit up was presented by fashion magazine Fucsia – Ashes by designer Vanessa Gomez. It was a collection inspired by rock and roll bohemian and it showed. I loved the incorporation of fragmented knitwear throughout the loose, flowing fabrics. There’s no way you can wear this collection and not feel like a rockstar. Loved the styling as well.

La Alcaldía de Medellín…or the Mayor’s Office to us English-speakers, presented three designers, all of whom went above and beyond my expectations – Natalia Londoño, Love Citizens and Andrea Landa.

Natalia Londoño was soft structure with amazing prints. I´ve noticed, throughout all the collections, a subtle but very consistent attention to and respect for detail. Natalia’s was no different.

The super cool Love Citizens were next. While they were principally beach wear, their outerwear and separatess stunned, particularly the white mesh & neoprene (I think) skirt and jacket pictured below.

Last for this segment was Andrea Landa. She blew me away…so much detail – both the hand crafted macramé and the slashed leather were stunning, juxtaposed with the relaxed fit of her garments. Easily one of my favourites for the week so far.

Next on the agenda was a super fun show – the Ipanema x Paradizia presentation. The suits were bright, colourful and detailed…pretty much everything we seem to want from suits nowadays. It’s only kind of amusing how little we purchase swim wear now for actual swimming.

Last but not least was one of the few brands I knew about prior to arriving in Colombia. Custo Barcelona, in partnership with Haceb, produced a beautiful collection. It was cacaphony of colours, prints and textures. It’s amazing how one does not even question the combinations presented…it just makes perfect sense once you see it in motion.

And so concludes the first official day of Colombiamoda! Hope you enjoy the clothing as much as I did :) Time for bed…10+ hours of fashion looks a lot better on paper than it actually is in real life – exhausting.

Let me know which are your favourite looks in the comment below! h

Ceola does Colombiamoda // Day 1

Ok so some of you may have figured out by now that I am in the land that gave us Shakira, Gabriel García Márquez and James Rodriguez (no ladies…I am yet to see him or any of his doppelgängers).
To be more specific, I’m in Medellín, the former stomping grounds of one Pablo Escobar, and a city that’s seen a radical transformation since the aforementioned’s reign.
To be fair, where I’m staying is one of the more affluent areas – El Poblado is an upscale neighborhood nestled in the hills just outside of the city centre of Medellín. Here there’s lots of hotels (as it seems to be the preferred domain of tourists), restaurants and malls. I love how green everything is – trees line the streets and there are a lot of green spaces or parques scattered throughout the area.

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I’m here covering Colombiamoda on behalf of Metro Magazine. The actual Colombiamoda didn’t kick off til last night with an inaugural presentation by Camilo Álvarez, a Medellín native and one of their rising stars in the fashion circuit. Anyway, I’m jumping ahead. Will give you more on Camilo’s show later.
The press (and we are a hefty number) was invited to attend an overview of the city and brunch hosted by the Medellín City Hall and the organisers of the event Inexmoda.
One of Medellín’s most impressive features, to me, so far is their Metro system. They’re obviously quite proud of it as well, because we all hopped aboard to head out to Parque Arví, where the event was being held. Their Metro system is new, clean and accessible. Imagine my surprise when I realised that they’ve integrated cable cars into their Metro – a concerted effort to provide more accessible transportation to those who live further up the hills of Medellín (the more impoverished communities here proved to be a stark contrast to the sanitized facade of Poblado). We sailed in the sky above a sea of red brick and galvanize.

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I noted with some amusement that rather than having billboards, some advertisers have actually painted marketing messaging on the rooftops of some homes. Apt, when you consider the length of the journey up to the top of the mountain. Eventually the scene changed from houses to forest and we made our way across an expanse of greenery before arriving at our final destination. – Parque Arví.
Parque Arví is stunning. As soon as we walked out of the Metro station we were greeted with a quaint reception – finger foods and a delicious fruit juice (I think it was pineapple).

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After milling about for a bit, we were all invited to don our cool gardening gloves that we got in our goodie bags and go plant a tree! I named my tree Paco, and with any luck I’ll be able to come back to Medellín in a few years and see him again.

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After flexing our green thumbs, we assembled for brunch. First course was a delicious stuffed portobello mushroom. I was about to dig in when my seat mate Monica (one of the directors of Look Magazine in Guatemala) informed that there was ham in it. Whoops! Don’t eat ham. The caterers were kind enough to organise a ham-free plate for me though. Main course was a tomato quiche and desert was rice pudding and a cheesecake made with a local fruit called uchuva.

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Once we finished brunch it was back down the mountain for us. We headed back to the hotel and I headed out to a nearby mall SantaFe to capitalise on all the ‘Rebajas’ signs in the windows of some of my favourite stores. I also managed to find a sushi restaurant in Poblado – Sushi Light. The sushi was fair to fine considering they didn’t have the variety of rolls I’m accustomed to. It’s always fascinating to me how sushi differs from country to country depending on tastes.

That night was the inaugural runway of Colombiamoda featuring one Camilo Álavarez, in conjunction with title sponsor Cementos Argos. A curious marriage no? Of construction material and fashion…? Not when you think about it though…for many designers, architecture and environment are a key influence and inspiration and for Álvarez it was no different. The press release by Inexmoda had this to say:

This interest for urban themes was taken as a theme of study and analysis, perfect for collaborative work with Cementos Argos – which takes the idea of fashion and the city as a construction – an idea that is becoming both stronger and viable in Medellín as well as Colombia as a whole. The strengthening of these themes is partly due to talented young designers who have started to reconstruct national identity through design.

Camilo Álvarez has been a key player in the transformation of a new generation of critical, creative and original designers. “Desayuno” is an example of the evolution of Colombian design. It is a collection through which the inspiration of the designer is seen through a series of tones which travel from early morning until midday hours demonstrated in a palate of colours that go from cold and neutral colours to warmer shades.

Naturally, I loved the collection. I’m a fan of anything I consider to be ‘elevated casual’ and that looks super comfortable while still bringing something unique and fresh to the table. I was a particular fan of the colour palette, and the way the looks transitioned from white to light blue, to blush, to black, to the metallic copper accents found on many garments later in the show.

Álvarez set the bar quite high for the three days to follow.

Bliss 2015 Picks

Plane to catch this morning but I’m up since 1:30 watching Bliss costumes. Priorities people. Sleep is not one of them. And apparently…neither is eating after today. Ha. I keed. Of course I’ll eat…but my diet gonna have to be SUPER strict cause these costumes are skimp-ay. I mean…what’s the next level up from a Brazilian wax?…cause the FL ladies are gonna need it.

I’m in the airport now waiting to board so I figure I’ll do a quickie post to go over my favourites from my band of choice – Bliss.

I knew what section I was going to be in before the band launched but that doesn’t stop me from oogling some other befeathered (I’m sure that’s not a word…squiggly red line tells me it’s not but I don’t care, it stays) beauties.

First up is MY costume for 2015. Pai. Designed by my boo thang and spirit animal Valmiki Maharaj. From the time I heard Indian Mas I was sold. When I heard royal blue and chartreuse I was like…I’ll have another please. Obsessed with this colour combo, I think it will look FABULOUS on my skin and on the road as a collective. I’m here for that headpiece. Not so much for that bikini bottom though…like I love it but it hates me. Val clearly doesn’t want me to be great. Oh well…have to go HARD in the gym and in the kitchen for the next few months. Thank God these bands launch well before Carnival yes…ample time to get in tip top shape.

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Next up is a faboosh costume by a woman I admire so much for her ability to turn out unique, sexy and forever feminine costumes year after year. I mean she never has a bad year…not once since she debuted with Caged Canary many moons ago. Solange Govia née Shaw-Gopaul is a design genius. This year she’s put out 4 fabulous costumes…2 in Bliss and 2 in Tribe and they’re all to die for. This shade of yellow wouldn’t really work on my skin tone but I imagine this costume is going to be totally majestic on the roads of POS for 2015. Ara

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And last but not least is a costume by a designer I admittedly don’t know that well. Ruana Booker has been designing for Bliss for a few years now but to be honest…none of her costumes ever really wowed me. This year though…uhh…wow. Aether is amazing…that headpiece…that bra…that neck/shoulder/chest piece is so simple but so effective. Honestly my heart dropped a little when I saw this and loved it because I told myself my greatest fear was to see a costume I loved as much as Val’s. This comes pretty darned close…

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However! I’m still Team Pai for 2015. I’ve always wanted to play Indian Mas and since I missed out with Tribe this year I’m all too ecstatic to get a chance next year with Bliss. Better yet to be with a designer I love and admire as much as Val. I know his customer service will be over the top and he’ll do everything to ensure his masqueraders have an epic experience from registration to Carnival Tuesday. Team Pai…squad up.

Costumes are available to view now on
Bliss’s Website

Beauty Bomb // Batiste Dry Shampoo

Pretty sure it’s no secret to anyone that I’m ridiculously low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I mean I do my duty and wash it twice a week, but I take no pleasure in the preening and styling that many girls do. I guess I have neither the patience nor the hand-eye coordination to pull off anything other than a top knot. Hence…the top knot.

Honestly, even washing my hair is a laborious task given its length…so it really caused me some degree of despair when I got more into fitness, and I realised I would probably have to squeeze a few more washes into my regularly scheduled life programme. Bleh. But what’s that thing they say about not washing your hair every day? It strips your hair of its natural oils and dries it out? Right, so I invoked that as a means of avoiding this whole every day washing hair business, but the issue still remained – how do I not wash my hair every day, but still keep it looking relatively presentable, ie, not greasy and limp from rigorous workouts and running of errands in this blazing tropical sun? (sweat, gross)

Enter: Batiste Dry Shampoo.

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The beauty bloggers I follow on YouTube almost always mention Batiste products in their ‘Monthly Favourites’ reviews but I had no idea they were available in Trinidad until my friend Darcel sent me some to review (an embarrassingly long time ago).

It’s quick and easy enough. You shake the bottle well and hold it about 30cm from your hair (I don’t know if I held it the right distance…does anyone actually check those things?) and spray. Massage into your roots with your fingers, wait about a minute (essential step) then brush it out, or style it or whatever you do with your locks on a regular basis. Be sure to brush your hair out well because otherwise it leaves some white residue that will be decidedly un-chic.

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After the 60 second grace period I definitely began to see some volume restored to my hair and the oily texture was diminished – not too shabby and not at all difficult to do.

Now I use Batiste whenever I need a quick pick me up for my hair…when I don’t have time to wash it, or have a strategic plan for washing my hair which means I need to go a day longer without a shampoo. I carry it around in my gym bag all the time now in case I have to do a quick re-up.

Now I guess I should include a disclaimer and say that dry shampoo is NOT a substitute for washing your hair regularly folks.

You can scoop up Batiste Dry Shampoo at several locations across the island including Quik Pharm (Woodbrook), Ali’s Pharmacy (Valpark), Bhagan’s Drugs (Price Plaza/Long Circular Mall/Crown Point, Tobago), Hair World (Curepe), and of course Pennywise outlets nationwide.

Mind you, different locations will have different variants so if you have your heart set on one particular scent, you may have to hunt around.

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Tropical is my personal fave :)

 

I’ll be doing a giveaway on my IG @CeolaB some time this weekend so keep an eye out for that!

 

NB: These products were sent to me for consideration. I am not being paid for this review. This is my honest opinion folks…you should know I wouldn’t give it to you any other way :)

Pencil This In // Pop Up Shop Times 5

Looks like I really will be living on ramen noodles for the remainder of July. Good thing I love ramen *smirk*

Right after Racked TT we have another shopping extravaganza to look forward to. It’s those three little words that every woman is dying to hear – Pop Up Shop.

A Pop Up of massive proportions as well…with five fabulous designers and all the wonderful goodies that come with.

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Get familiar with some of the designers/artists on show (in case you weren’t already)

MEILING

SANIANITOS

AISLING CAMPS

RACHEL ROSS

CHRISTIAN WAINWRIGHT

Admittedly I’m not familiar with this artist but I have on good authority that he’s the mastermind behind these gorgeous Christmas trees that were featured at the Christmas Pop Up Shop last year. I’m anticipating some fabulous decor and visual art from this individual.

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Pencil This In // Racked TT

Shoppppeeeeennnnnggggggg.

Nothing makes me happier. Well that’s not true….shopping LOCAL makes me happier than plain old shopping. For whatever reason – and I’m sure I’ve expressed this before – I just don’t get shopper’s remorse when I buy local. Even if I decide I’m not in love with something after the fact, seizing the opportunity to gift it is still a viable option.

Markets have been growing in popularity over the last year or two, with events like UpMarket and San Antonio Green Market hosting packed out installments every month and week respectively. However, markets tend to focus predominantly on the food aspect of our local industry…which is great! I love food, and locally produced food products…even better. But sometimes a girl just wants to be surrounded by clothes and accessories (and of course I’m not referring to a mall).

So I’ve already decided…the disposable part of my pay cheque for the month of June is going to have a very short lifespan. Thanks in large part to this little ditty right here:

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Racked TT – no doubt by now you’ve seen the super attractive flyers floating around the interwebs. Hosted by local fashion lovers Emma Forster-Hiscock, Ain Earle and Stephanie Rydle (who’s responsible for all the gorgeous artwork, btw) Racked TT promises to be the local shopping event we’ve all been waiting for with a plethora of local apparel and accessory designers including, but not limited to:

So if that hasn’t piqued your interest…I don’t actually know what will. Walk with your cash or cheque books ladies and gents…no cards will be accepted at the event, unfortunately.

I’ll be there at 11, opening The Verandah, obv. See you then!

Color Revolution SXM (Part Deux)

Oh yes….white sand between my toes, a comfy lounge upon which to rest my tush, a dedicated bar service and some mini tiki torches lapping playfully at the hem of my Christian Boucaud convertible dress (Oh hell no fire! Not you and me today). Contrary to what you may be thinking at this point…no…I wasn’t on some sun-drenched beach, but rather, at the painfully chic rooftop Sky Beach Bar & Lounge for night two of Color Revolution’s runway presentation.

On the cards to show that night were nine designers, hailing from Trinidad & Tobago, St. Martin, Barbados, St. Vincent, Haiti and the U.S.

First up was Tobagonian-based Kaj Designs – a minimalist, elegant resort collection named Tribu Savage, that boasted lots of neutral colour palettes and animal print. Kaj is always a dream to watch walk down a runway – what isn’t flowing and romantic is ultra-sexy and fitted, all with plunging necklines and slits to show off the legs darling, the LEGS.

The second designer from St. Martin, Sheila Sorton, interestingly enough, also featured crochet designs. Hers though, were a bit sexier and more resort than Kai Designs’ the night before. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see some socialite clad in while sipping cocktails on a private yacht, anchored off the coast of St. Martin.

When you think of menswear in the Caribbean…your first thought probably isn’t of sharp, structured, beautifully tailored suits, jackets and trousers, paired with stylish comfortable polos and dapper button up shirts. Well…Ecliff Elie, which is a name I’ve associated with menswear for as long as I’ve known myself, does exactly that. Ecliff (sidebar: who also happened to make a hot pink silk suit for my brother for his graduation) is something of a fashion stalwart in Trinidad & Tobago. His collection was, simply put, an immaculate interpretation of sleek modern menswear.

Barbadian but NYC-based Christina Goddard, under her brand Conrad Sinclair,  presented a collection that was, interestingly enough, a combination of Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Her inspiration came from the brief respite she got in her home island of Barbados, during the polar vortex that engulfed New York this year. I actually preferred her Autumn/Winter looks, like her smart capes and cropped jackets.

Kimya Glasgow, out of St. Vincent, showed a collection of what I could only refer to as Caribbean glamour. Amidst her palette of blue, green and white, she also offered up some beautiful hand painted fabrics and a floral print to die for. I really loved how easy all her clothing was, punctuated ever so often by luxurious raw silk details.

My boo, Jacqueline Charles of Koko Karibi Designs, was the sole accessory designer for the entire weekend. It’s great to see an accessory designer stepping up to the plate the way Jacquie has with the marketing and branding of her work. Of course she showed what she’s best known for – minimalist designs that are artfully and masterfully created. From more subtle choker necklaces featuring slices of agate, to more elaborate, statement pieces like her popular dreamcatcher necklace, Koko Karibi offered up something for everyone to lust after.

Pajje1983 was one of my favourite collections for the night. The mononymous designer, Prajje, is Haitian born, but NYC based, and you could easily see the influence of his tenure in the US reflected in his garments. The Prajje1983 girl is an island transplant, stalking the streets of New York City in the peak of summer. His collection featured a lot of bold prints and solids, with texture incorporated throughout with the leather panels, broderie anglaise and ruffle details.

The night closed with a whopping 30-gown presentation by Andre Soriano, former contestant on Rihanna’s Styled To Rock reality television show. Not so much a collection as an array of statement garments, Soriano’s clothes seemed a bit out of place in the grand scheme of things. There were of course many stunning pieces from his presentation, notedly the massive, ornate, Madonna-esque ball-gown that closed the show. Much love to Andre – I heard he was the life of the party and a real sweetheart to boot – but I had eyes (and photos) mainly for my Caribbean massive.

Color Revolution SXM, thanks for having me. Let’s do it again soon, k?