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?

Color Revolution SXM (Part Un)

So what exactly do you do when your editor calls you and asks you if you can go to St. Maarten to cover one of the most talked about fashion events for the year? There is no choice. You say yes. You plug in for a vacation day, make sure your passport has some months left, make sure you don’t need a visa, and you say yes.

You board that plane for a six hour excursion, taking the maxi of the skies – LIAT – hope for the best where luggage transfers are concerned and you touch down in one of the most beautiful islands you’ve ever had the privilege of visiting – St. Martin.

For those who may not know, St. Martin is an island divided between two nations – France (St. Martin) and the Netherlands (Sint Maarten). The majority of the trip was spent on the Dutch side of the island, as we were all based in Simpson Bay near the airport and close to all the bars, hotels, clubs and casinos. St. Maarten is a happening place…they don’t have happy hours, they have happy days – virtually every drink is two for one for ridiculous periods of time in any of the multitude of bars and restaurants you visit. The beaches…gorgeous, but beware, the water is incredibly cold.

I was there to cover Color Revolution SXM, a hot, colourful, exciting initiative by a combination of forces – Caribbean Fashion Style Journal (aka CFStyle.com) and the newly formed National Fashion Development Association (NFDA) of St. Martin. The designer lineup read like a dream – designers from all over the Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago bearing the strongest representation) and the United States of America were hitting up the picturesque isle of St. Martin to serve up some FABulous fashion.

We kicked off the weekend with an Opening Gala Ceremony at the Blue Mall in Sint Maarten. We sipped some bubbly, snagged some hors’ d’oeuvres and waited for the metaphorical curtain to raise. Once the speeches were speechified, we got a preview of some of the collections we’d be seeing over the course of the next two days – Kimya Glasgow, Kaj Designs and Kai Designs. There was also a presentation by one of the sponsors, a Blue Mall resident retail store, Opera. There was an after party but I bowed out, blaming my exhaustion from a long morning of travel and no nap time before the gala. The rest of the media went though, which probably explains why I was the only one awake and ready for our Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel Adventure the next morning.

I met my media liaison (now referred to as Mama Cotton from here on out, or maybe just Laura) around 8 to grab breakfast and waited as she issued an assembly call for all remaining passengers. We ended up departing with a small but energetic group of seaworthy explorers – photographers, Colin, Sean and Clint, Analiese (model, former ANTM and BNTM contestant, and our hostess for the weekend), buyer/presenter Nikki, journalists Isaul and Devon, and Laura. I go into the details of this particular excursion in another post, so stay tuned for that! Didn’t want to get too sidetracked from the fash-on (as Analiese kept referring to it).

Once we returned from our VERY eventful morning activity, it was time to decompress and begin preparing for the first runway night of Color Revolution SXM, titled ‘Color Elegant’. Hosted in Philipsburg at the Harbor Facilities, the first night promised a show from five designers, four of whom, I’m proud to say, were repping the red, white and black.

Donna Dove opened the show with a collection described as ‘wearable art’. This woman is a sweet, kind, soul and her love for what she does reverberates through the fabric that she artfully manipulates into fashion. Men’s shirts stitched and hand painted to create sexy cocktail dresses and voluminous gowns, distressed jersey creating more casual, but well styled skirts and tee shirt combinations, and glorious bubble hemmed dresses and tops that gave a touch of whimsy an otherwise structured collection. It was an amalgamation of different styles and disciplines, but it worked well on the runway. I have nothing short of hero-worship for this veteran designer, so perhaps it would be difficult for me to call her collection anything but exciting. I also loved the touch of the handpainted glass being used as an accessory by the models.

Kai Designs, one of the two St. Martiners scheduled to show over the weekend presented her line of crochet creations to the audience. I can’t even begin to imagine how arduous creating a colour-blocked crochet collection must be. Kaishah Peters, the designer behind the brand, obviously put a lot of thought into the colour combinations, keeping them fresh and functional. Lots of knee length skirts, tube and cropped tops, and cocktail dresses came down the runway.

Anyone who’s been to Upmarket will probably recall Lisa’s Fabrics – a booth adorned with gorgeous, luxurious hand-dyed silk scarves, and more recently, kaftans and dresses. Well Lisa Sarjeant-Gonzales was there and she presented those beautiful creations to what turned out to be a very appreciative and receptive audience. I mean when you talk about Caribbean resort, this is what comes to mind – loose, flowing fabrics all colours of the rainbow, and as extra icing on the cake, necklines tastefully embellished with accoutrements sourced all the way from India. Remarkably enough, this was only the second time on the runway for Lisa, having showed for the first time the week before at the Power of Beauty Media Launch.

Husband and wife team, Shurnel Designs put the ‘Elegant’ in ‘Color Elegant’ with their line of simple but beautiful gowns. Attention to detail was key, with lots of ruching, twisting, and draping of silk blend fabrics to create the fantasy that was this collection. I liked quite a few pieces, notably a very wearable blue floor-length dress with a thigh high slit, and of courseeee the showstopping off the shoulder grecian-esque gown that Athaliah Samuel closed with. I mean you HAVE to be a glamazon to rock that dress right? Athaliah worked it out like rent was due yesterday. Can’t commend this model enough for how she brings garments to life on the runway.

For a designer that only launched in November of last year, Charu Lochan Dass has had a hell of a lot to say. This is her third collection shown to date, her Resort 2014 collection that, from her lookbook, was a melting pot of monochromatic looks, as well as vibrant colourful prints. She opted to show only the black and white creations at Color Revolution though, and in my opinion, these were some of the strongest looks in the lookbook anyway (not that the others weren’t amazing, but black is life for me, so yeah, bias). Black and white print translated well onto the feminine collection – full circle skirts, floor length dresses, divine sheaths that screamed resort and a very sleek crop top and pant combination. Pops of neon pink throughout made things more interesting and fresh, not that the collection needed much help in that department.

I left ‘Color Elegant’ feeling more patriotic than I’ve felt in a while. It was an excellent showing by the Trinbagonian contingent and through my well-developed eavesdropping (read: maco) skills I was able to ascertain that the international media and fashion industry stalwarts LOVED what they saw.

Stay tuned for (Part Deux)

 

TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Giveaway!

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Who doesn’t love a giveaway?

No one…that’s who. And today I have a fab TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Treatment System to give away to one of you lucky ladies (or gents…because an alarming number of my male friends apparently get keratin treatments). 

I’ve had no experience with keratin, because I was born with annoyingly straight hair and has only recently begun frizzing because I bleached the crap out of it a year and some change ago. I do however have a lot of girlfriends (and guy friends) who do it and the results are always remarkable…like where is Sally and what have you done with her? But no one can deny the confidence boost that a great hair day gives you. That amazing feeling post salon visit when you feel like a superstar and walk around like you’re the bomb? Yeah….you can get it at home now. Which is pretty cool if I do say so myself. I mean we’re probably gonna have some pretty egotistical folks walking around soon enough, but they’ll have fabulous hair, so that’s ok.

Before I get into the details of the giveaway, let me give you some background on the product, in case you weren’t already familiar.

The TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth System allows women to achieve frizz- resistant, smooth and straight hair at home that lasts through at least three washes and promises up to seven days of keratin smooth hair without any expensive trips to the salon.

“Women will no longer have to choose between costly straightening treatments at the salon or smoothing products that need to be applied daily,” said celebrity hairstylist and in-house consultant for TRESemmé North America, Brandon Pope. “The new TRESemmé smoothing system uses a non-damaging formula that lasts through washes, leaving women with salon-sleek hair for seven days.”

For those with more questions about how the product works, Marketing Manager – Hair & Skin Cleansing, Shelly Ann Simon-McKell explained the technology behind the product, “The new TRESemmé system achieves smoothness by using thermal technology, which harnesses the strength and smoothness already found in hair. The heat of a flat iron works with the thermal technology by bonding it to the hair cuticle for smoothness that lasts up to seven days and through washes.”

The system includes three products, designed to work together for optimum results – the TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Shampoo, the TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Conditioner, and the real star of the system – the TRESemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment.

Yay! Ok so follow the link below to see how you can enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The competition begins at 3:00PM today and ends at 11:59PM on Friday night. The winner will be selected randomly from the list of entrants. Best of luck folks!

 

Out & About // Sunday Rush

Well after the super awesome day that was Saturday, I entered into Sunday (I’ve time traveled a bit…so this refers to April 13th by the way) with some trepidation. I had around 6 articles to write and was done with all of 2, so naturally staying in bed all day with my computer on my lap seemed like the perfect plan (by the way, it was a horrible plan…all I did all day was watch TV shows with Rob and eat food). By the time 5pm rolled around I figured I should start getting ready for the evening’s escapades, primarily, the launch of Charu Lochan Dass’ new boutique and then Runway Shift hosted by Simply Runway. The only thing that excited me enough to roll out of bed was the prospect of wearing my spanking new Shannon Alonzo skirt. Seen below in my spiffy outfit:

ASOS top, Shannon Alonzo skirt, Lend & Borough bag, Steve Madden shoes and accessories by Koko Karibi, We Dream in Colour & Forever 21

ASOS top, Shannon Alonzo skirt, Lend & Borough bag, Steve Madden shoes and accessories by Koko Karibi, We Dream in Colour & Forever 21

The CLD Boutique is located at #55 Gallus Street and it was pretty well populated by the time I arrived circa 6:30pm. The store itself is really lovely and stocked ceiling to floor with all of Charu’s beautiful work. I really love how well put together it all was – though that wasn’t the least bit surprising given the designer’s tendency to be fabulous and whatnot. I definitely recommend you take a trip down to the boutique to see what’s on offer there; you won’t be disappointed.

The second event of the evening was Runway Shift – the culmination, we were told, of 9 months of preparation on the part of the participating designers. The successful designers (yes, it was a competition) would each win a 3 month rent-free space in retail outlet Simply Runway ACCENTS [edited], located in Grand Bazaar. I fully intended to just go to the pre-amble and then head home to prepare for Game of Thrones that night…but fate had other plans, and I actually did end up staying for the entire show, seated between [caution: name drops ahead] Saucy of Trinidad Carnival Diary & friend, and MUA extraordinaire Krysta Wallace. I found the brochure on my seat a tad peculiar…the one that asked me to tick ‘Like’ or ‘Do Not Like’ next to designers’ looks for the evening. I thought perhaps this was a part of the judging process, but when the winners were announced without my having to submit said brochure, I gathered I was wrong. My brochure was left largely unchecked…save for the ticks next to ‘Like’ on everything from Adrian Foster and Lisa See Tai. I’d be hard pressed to check a box with the words ‘Don’t Like’ next to a designer’s work. No one cares what I don’t like…only what I like (assuming of course that anyone cares about anything at all). That’s all they should care about anyway. Lol.  I also got a smidge confused when the first set of looks to walk down the runway were actually from Simply Runway…but I suppose one must promote oneself no? My personal perspective though, is that if we’re here for a local fashion event…it should be an event featuring local fashion…exclusively. Is that too hard line of me? I don’t know. Maybe if I owned a retail store and was hosting an event for local designers I would feel differently about it. Maybe not? No way of knowing right now. Anyway! On to the show!

The designers who presented were Lisa See Tai, Adrian Foster, Mary April, Megan Charles and Anibrook. Lisa See Tai and Adrian Foster, as I hinted (rather obviously) earlier on, were my favourites for the night. They’re both right up my alley aesthetically, and I loved Lisa’s colour palette – coral/orange, floral print and a lovely blue-grey (was it a chambray? I don’t know). I’m actually doing an awful job of describing the colour palette, but no worries, pictures will follow. Adrian’s work I had actually seen before when he launched his RST’14 collection earlier this year, but it was nice to see the pieces in action. His styling is always impeccable, and this time time he had some assistance from Pieces TT, the accessory retailer that works out of Christian Boucaud‘s boutique on Havelock Street – great ornate, bold statement necklaces that complemented Adrian’s minimalist collection nicely.

I actually took so many pictures, all of which can be seen on my Instagram account @CeolaB.  I was taking so many shots that my iPhone kinda looked at me, went ‘Wut?’ and shut down completely at some point. Technology, you fail me.

I acquired these from the photographer who shot them – Lee Tung & Thomas Studios

I would post more images from the other designers that night as well…but now WordPress seems to be in cahoots with my iPhone and they both hate me equally. Check out the links below to their collections.

Megan Charles

Anicia Brooks

Mary April Coutou

Congratulations to the winning designers by the way – Lisa See Tai, Adrian Foster and Megan Charles.

As a total aside, one of the designers who took part in the Runway Shift show, Mary April, will be hosted at Meiling’s Pop Up Shop this weekend (and hell yes to that dress in the sketch). You’re welcome.

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Out & About // Oh What a Saturday!

Last weekend was murder. I don’t know why but it was THAT much harder to get out of bed to do anything at all, and yet, it was probably one of the busiest weekends I’ve had in a while. Because…life.

I kicked Saturday off with a trip to Vanity Fair with my co-workers Alina and Odini (Odini is a menswear designer from St. Vincent). I’m currently in the process of bribing Odini to make me some fab shirt-dresses so I’m being really nice to her until that happens (Hi Odini! You look radiant today!)

After browsing some fab fabrics, Odini left with a few yards of a super secret fabric that will be revealed at Style Spirit 2014, and we headed over to Pennywise in Grand Bazaar for some much-needed toiletries. What is it about Pennywise that makes you forget yourself and suddenly decide that you better buy that deodourant and shampoo in bulk…or else. Because God knows Pennywise won’t be there tomorrow for all your cotton pad and St. Ives Facial Scrub needs right? Sigh. Anyway, left there relatively unscathed and with the items I actually went in for. Someone needs to design some chic blinders stat so I can don those every time I have to go to Pennywise. By the way, it was brought to my attention recently that there are people on this island that have never been to Pennywise. Wut? How do you live?

We then headed off to the real highlight of the day: the Pop Hop Shop hosted at 6, Carlos by the fabulous Team M. Pieces by Meiling, Sanianitos, Rachel Ross, Shannon Alonzo, Zidelle and Anthony Reid were up for grabs at this chic little shindig, which also featured glorious desserts from Oh Sugar Cookies, Dulce DessertsSweettooth Cakery and Stella Magnolia. Meiling, was, as usual, the most gracious host, serving up lovely orange sangria and some rather conspicuous marshmallow eggs.

 

I personally left with one super gorgeous striped skirt by Shannon Alonzo. Easily one of my favourite things I’ve ever bought. It’s so feminine and lovely…really made me feel like what I imagine Audrey Hepburn felt like in most of her outfits – and to feel like Audrey Hepburn is, of course, one of my many life aspirations. I wore it for my Sunday evening shenanigans, so you’ll get to see the whole look when I post on that 😉

Right after I dropped those girls home, I changed quickly and headed to Fanatic Kitchen Studio for the launch of Off Menu – a brand new dining concept brought to you by the brains behind Meet Me At Fanatic, which you all may know is a fixture on my schedule.

The concept goes like so – Chefs Peru and Juman are given a ‘secret’ ingredient to manipulate into a four course menu and a cocktail. The ‘secret’ (and I keep putting secret in quotations because it really wasn’t a secret, lol) ingredient for the launch was apples. Yay! I love apples. We started out with an amuse bouche of granny smith gelatin spheres topped with Himalayan sea salt and apple brunoise relish. Tangy and delicious. I have a real weakness for salt, rather than sweet so this was a nice opener for me. Next up was a course I was particularly looking forward to: cream of coconut pumpkin soup with spiced apple fritters, thyme-cider foam and roasted pumpkin seeds. The apple fritters weren’t as sweet as I expected, which I was totally fine with. Everything about this dish was perfection, and it was served with some rustic garlic bread, which proved particularly useful for mopping every last bit of soup up at the end. The next course took a while to reach my plate (because I swapped out pork for the all-of-a-sudden-in-demand salmon) but once it arrived it was totally worth the wait. Tri-spiced pork tenderloin (salmon steak for me) drizzled with rosemary and red wine jus, served atop saffron infused risotto, grilled asparagus, fire-seared cherry tomatoes with a bell pepper relish and confit apples. Despite this dish being one of the most delicious things I think I’ve ever tasted in Fanatic KItchen Studio, it was also the one I felt was least influenced by the star of the night – the apple. I harbour no complaints though…it was definitely amazing and very filling. Somehow I managed to make a bit of room for dessert though (obviously), which was double chocolate brownies topped with apple-cinnamon ice cream, drizzed with fresh strawberry compote, tri-colourd apple salsa and sweet chips topped with pulled caramel sugar. I soldiered my way though this one…but it really was a struggle because everything was so sweet (thanks to Chef Juman for hitting me with ‘It’s a dessert’ when I brought this to his attention though -_-) and as I said before I’m much more of a salt girl. I’m also not a huge fan of ice cream, but Chef Juman had graciously obliged me with half a scoop rather than the full thing, so I made it through that part ok. I also have to mention the drinks we had that night – apple infused sangria, and a lovely dry prosseco with slivers of desiccated apple. Crisp and fresh on both counts and a really lovely accompaniment to the meal. I’m surprised I didn’t have to be rolled out of Fanatic, actually…

Enough talk though! On to what you really came here for: the pictures!