Fashion aficionados looking for a fulfilling experience were not disappointed.
With a nearly packed house, unpredictable weather was no match for Islands of the World Fashion Showcase (IWFS) as the world-renowned event set Fort Charlotte on fire.
With 19 designer showcases packed into two nights, the sixth installation of IWFS proved to hold its own with spectacular showcases and an electrifying crowd.
Showcasing this year were ExÎles, Alshante Foggo, Ashton Hall, Bathhouse Swimwear, Charmaine Spicer, Froilan Amaya, Ismael de la Caridad, Jose Luis Gonzalez, Jesus Frias, Kazz Forbes, Laura Macias, Renaldo Geumm, Oscar de la Portilla, Ray Vincente, Rolando Ruiz, Omar Alexander Jimenez and Thatch Collection. Countries represented include Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, The Bahamas and the United States of America.
Resort, sport and swimwear were the order of the day on Friday.
The evening kicked off paying homage to the Japanese tradition of war thanks to the Samurai Collection of underwear and chic resort wear from the Exiles Boutique, interspersed with powerful dance routines performed by students of The National Dance School of The Bahamas. It was followed by a very sporty yet refreshing collection by Kendra Wilkinson’s Thatch Collection. Designers Rolando Ruiz and Omar Jimenez embraced their Cuban roots with bright colours and classic cuts for their showcase.
Rolando Ruis Omar Jimenez
The concept of tie-dyes, oceanic themes and florals were a focal point for Cuba’s Oscar de la Portilla and is collection of swimsuits and sarongs. The designer explained his ethereal collection by saying, “No two women are the same so I make clothes for women who are tall, short, shapely, and slender.”
Then there was Bermuda’s Alshante Foggo who kept close to her island roots with a very deliberate island themed collection of swimwear and caftans.
“I grew up on an island and I remember as a little girl being fascinated by the scenery,” said Foggo. “I just thought it was important to incorporate the beauty of my island in what I create, hence the colorful birds and flowers on a lot of the pieces.”
Then there was Jose Luis Gonzalez with a bright swimwear collection that offered a unique option of caftans and linen gypsy skirts as well as a number of cutting edge options for men.
Rounding out night one was Ray Vincente’s exclusive menswear which brought an eclectic feel to the weekend.
Designers on Saturday night were all primarily about haute couture.
Hound’s-tooth prints were the focal point for Bathhouse Swimwear with elegant curve accentuating lines and high end feel throughout the US brand.
Young Bahamian and BTVI graduate Renaldo Geumm gave a fierce runway presence with a series of high end evening gowns extravagantly embellished with lace and tulle.
Ashton Hall’s showcase was a vivid array of exquisite lace infused pieces for men and women. The American’s Jamaican roots, island inspired prints and vibrant colours made for a collection to take the audience from day to night in attire.
Turks & Caicos native Kazz Forbes, and his label, Saint George Fashion House, took the audience to the ultimate ball and red carpet with an array of high end evening gowns rounding out the series of traditional yet awesome runway experiences.
ARTE y MODA
The anticipated highlight of the weekend went beyond the expectation of the show’s audience and coordinators alike.
The segment got off to a sensational start with a mini opera piece followed by a group installment of live mannequins. Local and international models alike stepped up and embraced the daunting task of literally bringing avant garde designs to life on the runway through interpretive dance and acting.
“It was not what I expected,” said one happy audience member. “I was amazed with everyone’s designs and the art in motion was spectacular.”
The elaborate designs and interpretations were awarded with a standing ovation by a thoroughly energized crowd. The 27-piece collection was a collective effort by the seven Cuban designers at IWFS.
The original art inspirations were projected onto a screen on stage to give an eclectic contrast to the designs which came to life on stage thanks to the models.
“The culmination of the two-day event with the spectacle of “Arte y Moda” was a strategic spectrum of casual prêt-a-porter to red carpet designs to what I have described as the ‘haute couture of art’. The event was professionally staged with an emphasis on the business and cultural diversity of fashion. It is hoped that significantly more Bahamians will have the opportunity to witness such creativity” said Owen Bethel, producer of the event.
Since 2008, IWFS has held to the platform which caused it to be endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its promotion of cultural diversity, and as a means to bring value-added levels of production to the fledgling fashion industries in developing nations, particularly more vulnerable small island developing states. The intent is to draw attention via international media and trade exposure to the skills and creativity across the spectrum of the fashion industry in the islands.
To date in excess of 130 designer showcases representing 20 countries have presented their creations on the catwalks of Islands of the World Fashion Showcase.
For more information and updates, visit the website www.islandsfashionweek.com or the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/islandsfashionweek or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When I first entered the Miss Turks and Caicos Universe Pageant, I knew that I would win since I believed that I possessed all the necessary qualities to be the next Miss Universe Turks and Caicos .” These were the confident words of the newly crowned Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2014, Shanice Williams. Not only was she crowned Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2014, but she also copped the special titles of Miss Intellect, Best in Swimsuit/Best Body, Best Evening Gown, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic.”
Shanice Williams Miss TCI Universe 2014, Photo by Barry Williams. Dress SGFH. Hair & Make-up: Arlene Deveaux
Before competing in the pageant, Shanice was the reigning Miss Grand Turk Summer Jam. On a regular work day, one can find her fulfilling her duties as aSecretary at the Turks and Caicos Islands Government Crown Land Unit and Survey and Mapping Department. Although her professional duties place her in a geographical environment, Shanice’s professional goals lie in the realm of finance. At present, she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Management at the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College. After, she hopes to complete a Ph.D. in Finance which she hopes will allow her the opportunity to work with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands to help improve the financial structure and statuses of citizens throughout the islands.
This busy lady took some time out to chat with Nu Woman about her pageant experience and life beyond the crown.
“From the coronation evening to being crowned Miss Grand Turk Summer Jam 2013, I knew that the Miss Universe Turks and Caicos Beauty Pageant was next in line for me”, beamed the new crown holder. “After seeing my capabilities and getting that ultimate feel of the stage, I was more than convinced that I will once again excel in the next round.”
Shanice says that her number one reason for entering the pageant was to “become a goodwill ambassador and become associated with many organizations and meaningful causes.” She believes that her “new celebrity status will focus people’s attention and sensitize the public about targeted social issues, while assisting with their eradication.”
Photo by Barry Williams. Clothing: Saint George Fashion House
Although Williams exuded confidence throughout the pageant, she encountered a few challenges; time management was the biggest difficulty for her.
“Being the only contestant from another island, Grand Turk, I had to travel to Providenciales two and sometimes three times a week for coaching, training sessions, appearances and other activities. These all lasted for a total of four months”, she admits. “I have a full time job and I am also a full time student so the traveling required a lot of planning, time management and extra coordination of activities.” Nonetheless, these obstacles were minor when compared to the wonderful “life changing” experience that was received from the Miss Universe Turks and Caicos Pageant. “I’ve learnt so much about myself. I am more familiar with my body and have a better understanding of just how confident I really am”, she declares. “Most importantly, this experience has reminded me that through all my endeavors, I should always remain humble and be appreciative of everyone’s love and support. “
Filled with emotion, Shanice is adamant that the entire experience has given her a different outlook on life. “It has been more of an emotional experience than anything else. I am overwhelmed by all the love and support that I have been receiving from my family, friends and well-wishers. I feel that everyone is going an extra mile to make me feel royal and I am forever grateful.”
Shanice also believes that the pageant has helped to shape her concept of beauty. In her mind, beauty can never be defined by one singular definition. “A woman’s beauty is shaped by her perception of herself and being truly genuine and optimistic from the soul. It is all a matter of how she feels within, carries and respects herself, how comfortable she is in the skin that she’s in and her ability and willingness to help and inspire others. That’s what makes a woman beautiful.”
Shanice is of the firm belief that “beauty pageants offer participants more than just a title and crown. Pageants help to mold young women into productive citizens and help to further shape these women into being great assets to their country and to the world. “ Having already been molded into a brilliant talent and representative for the Turks and Caicos Islands, this young beauty now has her eyes on the 2014 Miss Universe Pageant.
“Besides traveling, all the glamorous photo shoots, appearances, television and radio interviews, I am making final preparations towards my platform which is to alleviate the challenges faced by youth particularly with unemployment. I’ve also started intense coaching and training and will be completing all the necessary preparations in order to be a strong representative for my country at the 2014 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant”, notes the twenty one year old.
Shanice is appreciative of everyone who has continued to support her throughout her pageantry and hopes that everyone will be empowered by her favorite quote: Pray more. Fear less. Live better
If you will like to follow the updates and pertinent news during Shanice’s reign as Miss Turks and Caicos Universe, you can visit www.MissTCI.org.
Read Nu Woman’s summer issue here – http://issuu.com/nuwomanbs/docs/summer_2014_finalman
Photo: Barry Williams
Gown: Saint George Fashion House by Kazz Forbes
Hair and Makeup: Arlene Deveaux