Pencil This In // Racked 2.0

Racks on racks…on racks…of clothes.

That’s the forecast for this weekend with the highly anticipated Racked 2.0 touching down this Sunday at The Verandah on Rust Street, St Clair.

You know the drill (or do you? hmm) – show up early…because I can guarantee everything you love will be sold out in the blink of an eye (I know this because I’ll be the one buying them, ha!).

Doors open at 11am and the first 50 customers get a complimentary cocktail from the bar. Parking is available on both sides of Rust Street on a Sunday so there’s no fear of the wrecker swooping through and grabbing your shopping money. The event only runs til 5:30pm so it might be a good idea to skip the beach. The weather has been shit anyway…Racked is the better idea.

Ain and Emma, the ladies running the event basically dished that patrons can look forward to even MORE apparel designers this time around. They’ve made a concerted effort to cater to everyone – women (duh, but we always get the best stuff), men (with BCO Style, Mark Eastman and Peta Odini) and kids (San Sarai, Sew Lisa and ESPJr). There will be more than 22 of our best and brightest in local fashion on hand to serve up all the fabulous hand-made goodness that frankly, we don’t see enough of.

If you’re like me and are in the quiet throes of desperation, trying to get everyone’s name checked off your Christmas list before the end of November, then Racked 2.0 provides the perfect opportunity to do exactly that, all while supporting the #SupportLocal movement.

Here are a few of the designers you can look forward to at Racked tomorrow:

See you tomorrow guys!

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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

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?

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!