Kyle Walcott at Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival

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So Kyle is sneaky.

Unbeknownst to me, he has a film in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, a short Documentary, Glass Bottom Boat which is in competition for three awards at the festival, Best Short Film - Documentary, Best Local Short Film - Documentary, and People's Choice Award.

I'm so mad at him.

One of my goals for this blog is to promote Kyle and his work and he not telling me the work he doing?????? LOL

According to the Film Festival,

"Glass Bottom Boat is a poignant tale of enduring love. It tells the story of Janet Wells, who came to Tobago on vacation with her sister and fell in love with more than just the beauty of the island. This enduring love became her solace despite profound loss and pain."

The word proud doesn't even begin to define my feelings about this news though. I'm heading to the Q & A Screening of Glass Bottom Boat on Monday 22nd September, with a crew in tow. I encourage all fans of this blog (and hence fans of Kyle's wonderful photography) to check out one of the four viewings of what I'm sure will be a wonderful film.

In addition, my good friend Ryan Lee, who has helped me out with photography on this blog here and here, also has two films entered in the festival and one nominated for an award as well. Check out Cubes and Flying the Coup during the festival as well.

Screenings of Glass Bottom Boat:

Mon 22 Sept, 8.30pm, MovieTowne POS, Q+A Fri 26 Sept, 3.30pm, MovieTowne POS Sat 27 Sept, 8.00pm, MovieTowne Tobago Mon 29 Sept, 8.00pm, MovieTowne Tobago, Q+A

Screenings of Cubes:

Wed 17 Sept, 6.00pm, MovieTowne POS, Q+A Wed 24 Sept, 3.30pm, Little Carib Theatre Sat 27 Sept, 6.30pm, UWI, Q+A

Screenings of Flying the Coup:

Fri 19 Sept, 8.00pm, Little Carib Theatre, Q+A Wed 24 Sept, 10.30am, MovieTowne POS, Q+A Sat 27 Sept, 6.30 pm, UWI, Q+A

THE Brown Cotton IRIS Photoshoot - Behind the Scenes

_MG_6094 _MG_6095 _MG_6098 _MG_6100 _MG_6109 _MG_6104 _MG_6110 _MG_6112 _MG_6114 _MG_6113 _MG_6124 _MG_6134 _MG_6122 _MG_6139 _MG_6166 _MG_6144 _MG_6165 _MG_6154 _MG_6151 _MG_6167 _MG_6172 _MG_6175 _MG_6184_MG_6186 So by now if you're my Facebook or Instagram friend, you will have seen the photoshoot I worked on with Risanne Martin of Brown Cotton, because we literally social media spammed people with the images for a week or more. (If you haven't seen the pics yet, they're coming up in the next post).

What I want to highlight in this post is the behind the scenes amazingness that went on with this shoot. I don't even know if I think that the final images truly illustrate the synergy that went  on on set. Everyone present was truly invested in creating great results, from photographer, to Risanne's wonderful and supportive team of friends that she brought to assist us.

Risanne has an energy as well that is perfect for a production set of any nature. She easily diffuses tensions, makes sure that everyone is on equal footing and she FEEDS YOU!!!! A LOT! WITH WINE! I would be blessed if every shoot I worked on in Trinidad could be as professional and well organized as the one I did with her team.

Special mention also goes out to Ms. Kimi See Tai who literally had just come from a party and really was a trouper all day long. Thank you so much Kimi for making this shoot as beautiful as it was.

Photography: Kyle Walcott

SHOOT CREDITS

Designer: Brown Cotton by Risanne Martin

Photography: Justin Ifill-Forbes

Stylist: Kathryn Nurse

Makeup: Arry Cruickshank

Hair: Kimbalene Blackman

Nail Art: Solange Richardson

All Jewelry by Rachel Rochford Jewelry

Flower Crowns: Sasha Ann Clement

 

 

Birthday Brunch at Dianne's Tea Shop

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My good friend Herlene tried to organize a lovely surprise for me for my birthday. Because she wasn't in the country for the actual birthday, she wanted to plan a brunch in a fabulous location  and surprise me with makeup and photography for my blog (she fancy! Y'all know my makeup on here is usually self-applied. This occasion was the first time I had worn eyeshadow since Carnival!)

Well I'm too much of a control freak for that which Herlene soon realized and revealed the whole plan to me when she figured out that I would need to direct this whole photoshoot action lol! But still it was a wonderful birthday gift and I think the pics from our girls brunch truly communicate that. My friends Nichola, Hannah and Joanna all joined Herlene and I in the shenanigans. Many of the pics were actually not blog appropriate because they featured our faces contorted into different (horrible) facial expressions, so deep and juicy was the old talk.

We went to Dianne's Tea Shop in Maraval, a recently opened emporium for those who appreciate leisurely brunches, high tea (scones! clotted cream!) and quality time with friends. (Disclaimer: We intended to get pics of food as well but greediness took over and all the dishes were half finished when we remembered! Nobody wants to see a half eaten brunch.)

All who know Dianne's DH Gift Shops, won't be surprised that she has also filled her tea shop with lovely imported snacks and small items to immediately make any home chicer. Dianne deserves special mention for having the patience and grace to let us photograph all throughout her gorgeous reflective white and silver space. Thanks Dianne!

Photography: Kyle Walcott Photography

Makeup: Miles of Beauty - Natalie Miles

Dress: French Connection

 

Adrian Foster at #NYFW

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 6.16.03 PM Yesterday was the official beginning of New York Fashion Week S/S 2015. This week's fashion week roster contains some familiar names that we need to look out for.

I just left New York on Tuesday, but I really wish I could have stayed to see Adrian Foster show his new collection on Sunday 7th September as part of the 9th Fashion Gallery NYFW event at the Helen Mills Event Space in Chelsea. This showcase is really focused on giving young designers exposure and that includes our local talent as well. The FOMO is real people.

And just because he's presenting in the Big Apple, doesn't mean he's forgotten his Caribbean influences. The inspirations for this collection, come from Caribbean architecture, specifically raw concrete surfaces, whitewashed walls, and the way light travels through louvres and fretwork. Adrian is one of my favourite young designers because he is really exploring how pieces can be uniquely Caribbean but still function in foreign countries.

I could only get my hands on one teaser image from the collection (courtesy the designer's Instagram page) and am already mentally putting in my order for those striped wide leg pants.

I can't wait to see the images and I hope that anyone who's interested in moving Caribbean fashion forward  heads over to Chelsea to see this show at 8 pm on Sunday. Local designers Charu Lochan Dass and Delia Alleyne are also participating in this showcase so be sure to check them out as well!

Know Your Country 2014 - Mate-Not

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Not that they're wrong. Living on a small island will always leave you faced with very limited options.

But it could be worse. We could be in St. Kitts. I'm sure there's much less to do in St. Kitts. (To anyone reading this from St. Kitts, I apologize, I don't actually mean that).

Living on a small island sometimes leaves you very limited in scope and creativity as well, however. And lazy. You can get very lazy. If it's not within 12 minutes of your house, you refuse to go. "I don't go past the lighthouse" is a real mindset. But as I've said on this blog, when you place those silly limitations on what you're willing to do, then you will find yourself in a trap.

Anyway, it should be little surprise that when my friend Sean suggested we do a Know Your Country trip to Matelot I didn't think twice. A whole group of us jumped on a maxi early one Saturday morning and headed off on on adventure.

First we stopped at the Galera Lighthouse in Toco, which I had never been to but have to return in some long dress diaphanous dress that blows in the wind. It's literally the end of the island romantic and terrifying all at the same time. Selfies were taken,  and then we headed to our primary destination...

We really intended to reach Matelot eh, we really did.  But the road gods were against us. Forced to turn back,  we had lunch and a nap at Mission Bay followed by some deep existential convo and plenty sandfly bites. My friend Ryan Lee, whose birthday we were also celebrating, offered me these pics for the blog, which I gladly accepted.

By the end of the day it barely mattered that we hadn't reached Matelot. Who can be disappointed when you've been drinking all day, your belly is full, and you'd listened to back to back  old school dancehall and 90's R & B (my personal favorite genre) mixes all day? And now we have a reason to do another KYC ASAP.

 

Photography: Ryan Lee

Top & Pants both by Meiling.

The Caribbean Aesthetic - Meiling's Kite

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_MG_6091 Since I became involved in Caribbean fashion, the words Caribbean Aesthetic has been a term that has been thrown around liberally. Apparently we desperately NEED to define the Caribbean Aesthetic. Designers who experiment in black, white and grey are told that they need more colour, because monochrome isn't the Caribbean Aesthetic. Apparently, the Caribbean Aesthetic is floaty caftans, maxi dresses and bikinis. PRINTS! PRINTS! PRINTS! But who's to say that Adrian Foster's black and white clean or architectural looks also don't fall within the Caribbean Aesthetic?

French women in Paris just are effortlessly chic no matter what they wear. Their gallic ease and confidence in their dress defines their aesthetic, not necessarily any specific item that they wear (unless you count scarves. And cute bikes lol). Then I take a glance at Caribbean people in their daily life. Is what we wear on the street the  Caribbean Aesthetic? Don't get me wrong, I love a caftan. But certainly, only a few of us can pull off a hand-painted silk caftan on a Tuesday afternoon.

Aside: I believe that uniform culture kills the ability of a society to form personal style. I may have mentioned this before on this blog, but here goes again. When we grow up we have school clothes (uniform), party clothes, and home clothes. That's about it. And the average Caribbean person grows up not knowing how to develop personal style around the clothes they wear day to day because the importance of individuality in daily wear has been minimized historically. However, send us to a party, and we want to splash out, grab ALL the attention that ever was, sometimes to horrendous result. Just look at some recent boat ride pics to illustrate this point.

So here we are forcing a Caribbean Aesthetic that is not happening organically. Meanwhile, international designers create annual resort collections that perfectly pinpoint a Caribbean Aesthetic  with collections that contain solid colours, black, trousers (gasp!) and sleeves, alongside the backless numbers, jumpsuits and flowy dresses. They do this because its easy. And that's all the Caribbean Aesthetic ever needs to be, is easy fashion, while still hitting all the necessary marks of a complete wardrobe.

When I think easy dressing, I think of every Meiling piece I own. Meiling's aesthetic is decidedly her own, but if you're looking for clothes to serve you every day, that are easy and fresh and light and fantastic for our weather, and our personalities really you need to look no further. My birthday dress this year was one of Meiling's iconic Kite dresses, that I wore to the opening night of her collaborative pop up space at the 101 Gallery last week called Times Five. I loved the outfit so much that I had to photograph it. And what better background to focus on a clean easy dress than a crazy busy mural in the Queen's Park Savannah.

The best part of this dress: it's a sneaky caftan. It's made in a sturdier fabric, and with a button neckline and a collar. But it's still a caftan, with sexy elements like the unexpected backless peekaboo. This is what the Caribbean Aesthetic is all about. Taking those islandlife influences and creating a wardrobe and style that really becomes every day, or that can be dressed up or down based on occasion, as a Kite absolutely can.

A Parisian woman on the streets of New York can easily be spotted. I feel like the Kite is something I could easily wear on the streets of some distant city and have an observer say, "Ah that woman looks like she's from the Caribbean!" Sometimes I feel like if we in the local fashion industry took so much pressure off of creating things that we need to have, and just let them happen organically, we would be a lot better off.

 

Photography: Kyle Walcott Photography

Dress: Courtesy Meiling, 6 Carlos Street, Port of Spain/ 627-6975; Sandals: Zara; Bag: Cuyana; Necklace: Nastygal; Sunglasses and Watch: Michael Kors

 

 

Lopinot

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Every child remembers going to at least one field trip during their primary school career to the Lopinot Historical Complex. Very little stuck out in my head from these trips. I couldn't remember how far it was (further than expected) or how long it took to get there (longer than expected). I forgot what I did when I got there. Not being the most physically active child (okay, adult, person. As I write this post I am actually procrastinating going to the gym), I couldn't imagine strapping on a pair of sneakers and kicking a ball down on the football fields. So when Kyle and I got there, a couple of weeks ago, though the former estate was devastatingly beautiful and meticulously maintained (seriously that first shot doesn't even look real to me and I was there!), pretty soon after we snapped a couple of pics, I kind of thought, "Okay soooo, what now?" I had not packed a lunch of multi coloured cheese paste sandwiches as I undoubtedly had when I was seven. I was unprepared.

One thing miniature primary school-sized Nervous Nancy did remember, however, was ghosts. Each time we were taken to Lopinot in our yellow band maxis we were regaled by tales of the phantom of the cocoa plantation owner riding through the estate and neighbouring towns on a spectral horse.

NOTE: Somehow, in my memory I conflated this story with Sleepy Hollow's Ichabod Crane and the ghost became headless. I found no evidence of this in my research. By all reports, the ghost does indeed have a head. I also have never read Sleepy Hollow. Lol.

Anyway, up at Lopinot, we had no tour guide, and the "museum" didn't provide much information in the way of ghost stories. So I had to revert to my old friend the Internet to refresh my memory of the legends that surround the plantation. Apparently, as the story goes, the Count of Loppinot, after whom the area and plantation are named (the museum is his former house), wasn't the most lovey dovey slave owner (as so many were?) when he established his plantation in 1800. Apparently the cashew tree where he hanged his slaves is said to bleed their blood, and Lopinot himself is said to ride through the village on stormy full moon nights. There is even a soucouyant thrown into the mix.

So strong is this ghost story that apparently, Ghost Hunters International came to film an episode at the plantation in 2011! Please avail yourself of the comments of some Trinidadians on said episode:

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We. Are. Hilarious. I do agree though, this type of international exposure does draw a new wave of interest to our lesser known tourist sites. However, I also believe that it's our job to carry on the awareness of these places domestically.The Lopinot ghost stories are an important part of our oral tradition that are slowly fading out. I hope that primary schools are still taking their students here so that they can not only experience the beauty of the area, and the freedom of running kinda wild in the recreational grounds, but also to carry on the stories of our history.

 

Photography: Kyle Walcott Photography

Sources: Entertainment from d' Net, Paranormal Stories, The Rough Guide to Trinidad & Tobago

Top, Zara; Shorts, Nastygal; Sandals, Zara; Handbag, Michael Kors; Rings, Rachel Rochford; Watch, Michael Kors.

Finding a Man...grove - with Kathryn and Thais

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLiving on a small island, it's so rare that you make a true discovery. Everyone, everywhere has always been there done that, knows more about it than you and yawns when you get excited about it. So it's truly exciting to go somewhere that people literally haven't put their hands all over and is truly new. 

That's how Thais and I felt the day we came across the mangrove forest at Point Petit Trou in Tobago one Saturday. Now obviously, we weren't the first people ever to see this place, (not trying to be a Columbus here) but it was a first for both of us.

Thais and I had been exploring a vacant villa complex in the Tobago Plantations (extremely creepy by the way. I kept waiting for the zombies to emerge if we made too much noise) when we noticed a very Blair Witchish entrance (or what I would assume a Blair Witchish entrance would look like, as I hate suspense and horror and have watched few horror movies in my life) to a series of interconnected bridges through the mangrove. The bridges originated from multiple different points and converged into one path that led to a small hut, and a wide jetty with a bench overlooking a lagoon.

Some of the best adventures are the ones where you're experiencing just a dash of trepidation, and yall know me, Nervous Nancy, can always serve up the trepidation. "How perfect this would be for murderers to leave bodies", I thought. "How perfect this bench would be for ritual sacrifice", I thought. But I continued on through. Even more of a surprise was that my companion, who can skew a little ... rigid...(love you UTT!) was completely up for the adventure and took on the impromptu but welcome role of photographer! In fact, the only truly scary moment of the adventure was when she spotted a snake in the box that housed the electricals for the lighting. I never get my ass out of some mangrove so fast...

We tried to surmise all the reasons that someone had created this hidden treasure. It seems made for wedding photos, and little limes. But if you guys have any insight definitely let me know.

One of my goals for this blog, is to focus on situating Trinidad as a destination in itself, even for the people who live here. If you're not careful, you can really start to focus on  leaving Trinidad & Tobago in order to get the true excitement of discovery and otherness that you get from foreign travel. I hope that Cities and Islands does some work in making people realize there is a lot to discover right here, if you just make the effort (and lets be real, we can be a bit lazy). Because not everyone can travel every weekend, every month, or even every year. Thankfully, I have been blessed to come from a family where traveling was almost a family value like generosity and forgiveness. But it inspires in me a wanderlust that is satiated when I'm home as well as when I get on a plane. I'm glad I get to share that with you through Cities and Islands.

 

Photography: Thais McGowan

Dress, La Maison de FiFi; Sandals, Zara; Sunglases, Michael Kors.

Thais is wearing her favourite silk caftan. Lol.

Briefly Back in NYC

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Hi! Remember me?

How has it been a month since I last posted anything?

Oh... I know. My June was really dominated by trips starting with New York (as the title suggests), followed by short trips to Tobago and Barbados. I ended up really tired and a bit emotionally drained and I'm just starting to recover from that. PLUS, all my pictures from these trips were taken by friends, which meant all the editing was my job. The procrastination was real. After I'm finally finished I'm realizing....I'm not a good photo editor lol.

Anyway, New York was a movie. I went with my friend Krista, for a weekend that was filled with entertainment and partying so you know all your shopping and errands get put off until your last day which exhausts you. These are the pictures from that day. My great friend Trixie (@bellatrisk) came with me and gamely took pictures of me while doing these last minute randomnesses (and also adventurously searched the bowels of a shady Canal Street building with me in search of pashminas for a friends wedding). The above pics are just a few highlights.

For me New York will always be the second home I have never actually lived in. I know I'll end up there for an extended period of time some day, and I'm just trying to experience and be grateful for what I have (a lovely 10 year tourist visa, and the freedom to travel) without wasting energy being wistful about the things that I don't (a beautiful well appointed brownstone and a cute French Bulldog to run around in it lol. Dont judge me).

What I do know is that the next time I visit it won't be as short as five days. I'm already saving up for next Spring's trip!

Photography: Takisha Griffith

Temple In The Sea: Trini Style Perseverance

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Last weekend Kyle and I headed down to Waterloo, in Central Trinidad (an area I'm not familiar with at all, so level cuss on the road), in search of the Temple in the Sea, a Hindu temple built over water.

I was really initially inspired to go because of the beautiful photography of the location at nighttime that I had seen on the internet. It's only when I started researching the temple after my visit, I realized the importance of this site as a symbol of tenacity and perseverance.

For those of you who don't know, Trinidad is an extremely multicultural nation. Because of colonialism, slavery, and periods of indentured labour, our modern population consists of a blend of black, Indian, Chinese, Syrian, indigenous and European peoples and every possible mixture in between. While I would love to say that we always live in harmony, we really don't and suffer from the same stereotyping and prejudice that other nations do, especially at times of political upheaval...like right now. However, we do maintain a basic respect for the many various religions that are practised here, particularly because this respect allows us at least 15 public holidays a year.

But anyway, back to the temple. The temple you see above was built by one man (and then later restored in 1994). Siewdass Sadhu, a devout Hindu, decided to build a temple of worship in Trinidad, where he was a sugar cane labourer, when he could no longer afford to make pilgrimages back to his native India to worship at the shrines there. He first built it in 1947 on the lands of the Caroni sugar company, who were understandably not too happy.

What followed, is a story that seems taken straight from the pages of a favourite Caribbean history novel. Sadhu was sent to jail and forced to pay a fine of $500, two years wages and the site was demolished. No local would dare carry out the demolition, so the job was done by a European...who was struck dead a month later. The man who granted the court order for demolition also died of mysterious reasons.

Completely undeterred by his stint in prison, Sadhu was released and was determined to build a temple, in a place where no one could stop him, and so he decided to construct it in the sea. By hand. He created the causeway bit by bit with broken bricks, sand and cement. Oil drums filled with cement  connected with steel became the foundation.

Of course, in true Trinidad fashion, he was ridiculed for months, until it was completed in beautiful fashion, at which point everyone rushed to see it.

But what a lesson to be learnt from this true Trini tale! I know those working in innovative and creative fields have often felt like they could be working against the tide here, and any time any progress is made something comes to wash it all away (or bulldoze it to the ground). If one man could make something so beautiful by himself, with just the materials that were available to him, who are we to complain about tight deadlines, early call times, lack of resources.... The answer is always, "It Can Be Done (yes, even in Trinidad)".

To this day, Hindus still use the temple for puja ceremonies, weddings and funerals. Indeed, the day I was there a group was preparing a ceremony inside the temple and a cremation was happening at the cremation grounds not too far off.

The temple, damaged by erosion from the salt and the sea, was restored in 1994 for Indian Arrival Day, exactly 20 years ago. This Friday we once again celebrate the arrival of Indian labourers to our shores, and with them an enriching and deepening of our collective cultural heritage.

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Shirt: H&M; Pants: Meiling x ANYA for the cANYAval shop; Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell; Bag: Michael Kors; Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Sources: Destination360.com; Caribbean Beat Online

Far Tobago

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The other day I was speaking to a Jamaican guy and he was telling us how baffled he was at Trini's definition of 'far'. According to him, Jamaicans love to drive, and would willingly jump into the car spontaneously for a 4 hour drive, whereas Trinis complain that a 25 minute drive is too 'far'.

 

I don't generally disagree. I spent my formative years in the Port of Spain area, and living in Diamond Vale was a big adjustment for me. It now takes twenty minutes to get everywhere instead of ten. That's a 100% increase! Lol. And imagine, my father once toyed with the idea of moving to the East!

 

The reason of course is that driving in Trinidad is such a hugely frustrating experience. Between the traffic, and the antics of the other drivers sharing the road with you, most people rather just get to their destination quickly. In Tobago it's even worse. Most people believe there is no reason to be in a car in Tobago for more than 10 minutes in order to get where you need to go. So when I said I was staying in Speyside, easily an hour, or an hour and fifteen minutes away from the airport (depending on who you were driving behind), over Jazz Weekend, people flat out laughed at me.

 

And yes, it was very far. Me and my friend Hannah worked out a system so that we would only ever have to do the drive once per day. But it was so worth it, to have a local homegrown adventure and see places we had never seen before.

 

These pictures are taken at the Speyside Water Wheel, a relic of an old sugar plantation from the late 18th or early 19th centuries that lies in ruins around it and was literally one of the most interesting places I've taken pictures thus far. However, as we often say, "Tobago sun real different" and in most of the pics I look, hot, bothered and molten. So please avert your eyes in the direction of the water wheel.

 

I would love to revisit this location in rainy season because I've seen other pictures of the ruins covered in creeping vines giving it a very lush, Secret Garden vibe. But it just goes to show, that if you drive just a little bit farther, you make great new discoveries.

 

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Top: Nastygal; Shorts: Zara; Sandals: Zara; Earrings: Michael Kors; Sunglasses: Nastygal

#islandgirl editorial: Joan Smalls for Vogue Italia

solve-1 solve-2a solve-2b solve-3a solve-4a solve-4b solve-5 solve-6a solve-6b solve-7a solve-7b Fresh off the heels of Rihanna's irritatingly stunning shoot for Vogue Brazil, another island girl, the actually super supermodel, Joan Smalls (she's from Puerto Rico) is starring in another international edition Vogue shoot. In the May issue of Vogue Italia, Joan appears in molten metallics effortlessly lolling off on some rocky terrain.

It. Is. Gorgeous.

It always shocks me how models can make this mess look so easy! If any normal person were to attempt this shoot, a scorpion would crawl out dem rocks very normal and bite them up, then they would roll off and bounce down the jagged rocks into the depths below...or something. Some of these pics, shot by Sølve Sundsbø, actually defy gravity! Some things are best left to the professionals. 

In general Vogue Italia is lauded for it's inclusion of black models and it's attempts at creating more diversity in their editorial pages, but every so often their efforts can go horribly wrong. This is not one of them. Just a few months ago a team from Vogue Italia journeyed to Trinidad's shores ostensibly to look for shoot locations, models and designers. The government put on a big (and unnecessary) show for the stylists who did end up shooting here, so I can't wait to see the results (and if they did end up including any of our local designers).

If you have a good eye, you'll realize that in one of the shots she's smoldering in the same metallic Gucci frock that RiRi smolders in on the cover of the Brazilian edition.

(P.S. Allyuh watch the size of Joan foot nah! All hail big footed island girls!!)

UPDATED: This post has been edited to reflect that Joan is actually from Puerto Rico and not the Dominican Republic as I originally wrote. I imagine this must be a mistake as egregious as asking a Trini if they from Jamaica.

 

Pictures courtesy Sølve Sundsbø/Vogue Italia/Glossy Newstand

Shift

IMG_6995 IMG_6996 IMG_7001 IMG_7002 IMG_7005 IMG_7010 IMG_7013 IMG_6979 IMG_6993 Took a couple of pics before I headed to participate in Runway Shift, in which three local designers, Adrian Foster, Lisa See Tai and Megan Charles won the opportunity to sell their pieces in boutique, Simply Runway. Retail is my specific focus in the fashion industry so I was excited to see it being paid more attention to in Trinidad as well. The designers really had to consider the commercial viability of their looks, the price point they would sell them at, and the reproducibility (not a word) of their items, if they won, and in my opinion these are factors that aren't considered enough when designers go from runway to retail. See pictures of all the designers looks, and the fashion show in the event gallery here.

I was also in the show modeling Lisa See Tai's collection. See me below with the designer trying to blend in and look like one of the other gorgeous models she had showcasing her looks. And below see one of my favourite looks that I got to sport on the runway. Lisa's collection blended an easy island-sporty vibe and I immediately gravitated to the raglan-esque sleeves and stripes that made a simple shift dress extremely cool.

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 Photography:Kyle Walcott

Other images courtesy Runway Shift and Gareth Leigh

Shirt: Zara, Shorts: Nastygal, Bag: Fossil, Shoes: Zara (similar here), Necklaces: H & M and the cANYAval shop, Sunglasses: Nastygal

Instagramming...Easter

20140430-204343.jpg 20140430-204515.jpg 20140430-204542.jpg 20140430-204559.jpg 20140430-204619.jpg 20140430-204631.jpg 20140430-204642.jpg 20140430-204649.jpg 20140430-204710.jpg 20140430-204726.jpg 20140430-204738.jpg 20140430-204757.jpg 20140430-204812.jpg 20140430-204824.jpg 20140430-204841.jpg 20140430-204900.jpg 20140430-204913.jpg 20140430-204931.jpg       I was lucky enough to get to do some travelling at Easter time. I went to Atlanta for a cousin's wedding with all my uncles and another cousin (have I ever mentioned that my family is full of men?), followed by a short weekend in Miami, and then to Tobago for the Tobago Jazz Experience (see...cities, islands). When I think about it, it was the perfect vacay: a lil family, a lil shopping, a lil spa, a lil John Legend, and a whole lot of rest and relaxation. Tobago in particular was a mini movie. My oldest friend Hannah and I stayed in Speyside in the North of Tobago (read: far) where neither of us had ever been before at the Blue Waters Inn. But it was beyond perfect with it's own calm beautiful bay, kayaking and snorkeling. More on Blue Waters in an upcoming post. When we weren't in Speyside, we were at a beautiful villa built around a former sugar mill, getting laughed at for staying in Speyside (I won't call names....*cough* Rianna *cough*) and celebrating my Taurus friends' birthdays (Hey Bobbie! Hey Sean! Hey Bumpy!) The last two weeks couldn't imaginably have been more perfect. Stay tuned for more pics from my Speyside adventures!

Rihanna for Vogue Brazil

Long time I haven't posted a Rihanna stan post. But, in case you missed it, that girl damn near broke Instagram yesterday with shot after annoyingly photogenic, IDGAF glam shot, from her Vogue Brazil May cover shoot, photgraphed by Mariano Vivanco. riri15 riri18 riri17 riri16 riri13 riri12 riri11 riri10 riri9 riri8 riri7 riri5 riri4 riri3 riri2 riri1 riri14

 

I can't believe how big this spread was. Did they have room for anything else in this issue? Here's all the pictures, including the two alternate covers. Btw,  from what I've seen on Facebook and Instagram, the Caribbean girls are loving the blue soap/ cement sink realness.

Jus. Ugh.

Images courtesy Vogue Brazil/Mariano Vivanco/http://fuckyeahrihanna.tumblr.com.

The OTHER #islandlife

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Trinidadians are really some of the luckiest people in the world. To all my foreign friends, one of the beautiful things about being from Trinidad & Tobago is Tobago itself.

A 15 minute flight to Tobago is always $300 TTD (around $48 USD, no blackout dates here) or $50TTD for a 2 hour ferry trip, and as soon as you land, you feel your heartrate slow, you forget to look at your watch. You take your time. It's the kind of place that as soon as you get there you think, "Why don't I come here more often?"

Kyle, my photographer, is actually from Tobago, and is there many weekends shooting footage for his upcoming documentary, so I decided to steal him away while I was there for work.

We had grand plans of going all over the place to shoot cool, undiscovered Tobago locations, but as I explained, Tobago is not about grand plans.

We ended up shooting at my hotel (because I was too lazy tranquil to leave), Kariwak Village, which takes a holistic approach to hospitality and does a really great breakfast (included in the rate every day). And the grotto!! As relaxing as Tobago is in general, Kariwak is the place to come for daily yoga and massage therapy, food seasoned with herbs grown on site in their greenhouse, meditation, and nature (a variety of tropical birds are your breakfast buddies. Don't let them steal your watermelon!)

Tobago has recently seen a decrease in international tourism, however our domestic tourism has seen a surge. Every long weekend (of which we have many) tickets, hotels and rental cars are extremely hard to come by. I already have plans of coming back twice (maybe three times) in the next few months, so hopefully Kyle and I can get to some of those grand plans. Or whatever. Lol.

UPDATE: Special thanks to my Tobago girl trip buddies Thais and Rianna without whom this post would not be possible and whom I originally egregiously neglected to mention.

 

 Photography: Kyle Walcott

Cover up: The Trunk Show, Ellerslie Plaza; Bikini Top: American Apparel; Bikini Bottom: Liilah Resort Wear; Shoes: Sandalias.

Jus Chillin on the Block with the Boys

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So my list of side projects grows (and my gym visits have evaporated). I am now working with my friend, Keegan Simon, and his business The 1ndividual Aesthetic. For those of you who aren't familiar with Keegan's great work see Machel Montano's album artwork for Carnival 2014, and also his Addy Award Winning spraycan t-shirt packaging. Anyway, Keegan's influences include pop art and street art and our collaboration is making me pay attention to the 'graffiti' around Port of Spain a little bit more.

 

I was walking to my car from a restaurant and was literally arrested by these charcoal (?) drawings of faces on a wall in the veritable ruins of an old Newtown house (foundation, fence and front steps are all that's left). It was really the first time I'd seen street art in which the images looked so decidedly and unapologetically Caribbean. I couldn't wait to come back to shoot with  "the boys" (do you get it? It's like they're my friends...that's why I'm waving lol). And of course put on my new grafitti dress (isn't this the most literal outfit you can imagine! lol. No points for creativity for me here).

 

What do you think? Art or eyesore?

 

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Dress: Zara, Boots: Steve Madden, Identity Necklace: Nastygal

Mid Week Inspo: Zoe Saldana in The Edit

zoe-saldana-the-edit-1zoe-saldana-the-edit-4tumblr_n2e2uh0Gfj1qasnrqo4_1280zoe-saldana-the-edit-6zoe-saldana-the-editzoe-saldana-the-edit-7zoe-saldana-the-edit-2zoe-saldana-the-edit-3 It's been a while since I posted anything that's been inspiring me so I thought this would be a welcome change.

Any time I see an editorial with Zoe Saldana in it, I gasp. Audibly. So when I came across this photoshoot for Net-A-Porter's shoppable web magazine, The Edit, on my friend Tanya's Tumblr (Designer on an Island Tumblr and Designer Island Life)  I had to repost.

This. Is. Breathtaking.

I love the blend of different textures of the same glorious shade (I'm having a white and pastel moment currently. I have to tell myself...do you really need another lace/eyelet crop top? Also I'm not ashamed to say I'm currently exploring the topic of how much white is inappropriate for a wedding), and those Sergio Rossi leaf sandals are hurting me.

Photos courtesy Net-a-Porter.com

Mistress of My Domain: 100 Posts

IMG_5149 IMG_5162 (1) IMG_5168 (1) IMG_5181 IMG_5199 IMG_5202 IMG_5207 IMG_5215 (1) IMG_5218 (1)IMG_5225 (1) This is officially my 100th post on what once was http://whirldwind.wordpress.com and is now, officially, www.citiesandislands.com (for those who have wondered, I do in fact know how to spell whirlwind btw. The original URL was a cheeky play on a common Trini malapropism.)

Anyway I've been super grateful and excited about the positive feedback both Kyle and I have been getting on the site so far and I'm excited for the opportunities that the blog is starting to offer us. We were getting to a point where I think it could only benefit us to formalize things a little bit, so that we can continue on the path that we're going on.

We felt like we should do something celebratory and experimental to mark the milestone, and so we went to Movietowne's Green Park, the newest addition to which is the Enchanted Carousel to try and take some long exposure photos with the carousel (orrr merry-go-round as I grew up knowing it).

Seeing all the parents with young kids, and teenagers with their first puppy love crushes gathering around the carousel on a pretty Saturday night was heartwarming. It reminded me of the simple experiences we had growing up, going to Kay Donna drive in or even going by ourselves to Pizza Hut after a football match and mulling over Cheesy or Cinnamon breadsticks. It was nice to see that in a country that is changing so quickly (and not always for the better), there are still wholesome and warm spaces for our young people and families to go to. It's kind of why the last picture in this post is my personal fave :)

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Special thanks to Ryan Lee

Gold Ribbon Knit Sweater - H&M. Leggings (worn as pants *shame*) - Zara. Heels - Zara (similar here).