Carnival Prep Part 2

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Feathers! Gems! Trims! Oh My!

Though we had a long Carnival season this year, Carnival week still managed to sneak up on me. As I mentioned before, I  I had purchased all my materials in January, but by the Sunday before Carnival I had a completely sheer monokini as my costume base and nothing attached to it.

Instead, I was busy working on a friend's Monday wear. Thank God for Featheration Motif. The new trim store  opened in the middle of February on Bournes Road in St. James. It stocks a great selection of trims and a SUPER extensive variety of gems in a spectrum of colours and styles that will either render you completely inspired or completely overwhelmed. Luckily the store also boasts great organization in a clean space and helpful and friendly staff, led by proprietor Tisha Neilson, who never complain about their painstaking efforts counting out gems for you (me). They're open year round but definitely keep them in mind for Carnival 2015.

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A lot of my costume work was done at the Liilah Workshop, which was bustling out Monday Wear and bathing suits throughout the Carnival season. Designer Lisa Marie Henry, sewed my monokini out of a nude sheer mesh that she hand dyed to match my skin tone. I was so impressed with Lisa this season and how she was able to not only bring together my monokini from a handful of disparate images that I gave to her, but do the same for countless other clients, and manage her time to make sure it was all complete by Carnival Sunday night. Big up to her assistants Vanessa, Ornella and Aquila who all kept me laughing throughout the entire process.

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The colours of my costume were inspired by the pastel peaches, pinks and purples of the gorgeous foil fabric used in Anya Ayoung Chee's Cheyenne costume. I played off of this with peach and rose gold trims and chains and lots of fantastic gems. Lisa and Anya both helped me mastermind construction of the costume with extremely helpful hints along the way  ("I need to add another ring here for support", "Sew the feathers to this seam for the angle you want" etc.) to help me bring the design ideas to life.

And all praises are due to Gem-Tac, the new glue specifically for gems that I just discovered. Basically, throughout this entire process I didn't pick up a glue gun ONCE. Gem-Tac (also available at Featheration btw), delivered the cleanest look I have ever achieved when applying gems to fabric and it lasted. I was super nervous all of Carnival Tuesday because I only used gems to cover my sheer-fabric-ed ass but literally I only lost one gem during the whole day, and honestly I don't even know from where.

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And then, just like that it was Carnival Tuesday morning. As usual I commissioned my father to help with tying of straps, spraying of sunscreen, and, yes, last minute trim sewing lol. After a quick photoshoot with Kyle at the house, I was ready!

The only issue I had with the costume was that my collar trim dug into my neck leaving some great Ash Wednesday battle scars, but of course, I have noone to blame for that but myself!

I missed Carnival last year but 2014 was an amazing return to the road for me. I had literally no complaints (okay except that the big men monopolizing the bars with their height and breadth really annoy me. Next year can we have a girls only bar truck TRIBE??). I can't wait for Carnival 2015 and I hope everyone had an amazing, safe and enjoyable Carnival season as well.

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Makeup: Natalie Simone Miles of Miles of Beauty

Truck on D (Side of D) Road

IMG_3477-2 IMG_3479 IMG_3481 IMG_3484 IMG_3486 IMG_3489 IMG_3491 IMG_3495 IMG_3504 IMG_3509 IMG_3518 IMG_3522 IMG_3526 IMG_3527 IMG_3532 So there are two empty trailer trucks parked on the side of the Diego Martin Highway and I was super excited to shoot in them. Why? I see these trucks as a metaphor for my current Carnival situation. For those who don't know, the trailer truck is really the heart of contemporary Trinidad Carnival. As controversial as the number of trucks on the road during Carnival Monday and Tuesday is (they cause massive congestion in our narrow streets), the speaker boxes that they carry and the music that they pump is really what gives you the drive to walk, chip, wine, dance throughout the streets of Port of Spain every year and not wonder ... what the hell am I really doing? These trucks ARE Carnival.

But these two lonely music trucks are so removed from the action currently. Don't get me wrong. Dey READY. Their painted and primed up and all they need is to be hooked up to a truck, speakers'd up and banners'd out, and they ready to go. But they're not there yet.

This is how I feel right now. I do feel deep down that Carnival is a huge part of me as I am of it, but as of today, Carnival Wednesday, I feel like it is happening without me. I am not ready. My costume is not complete (thought it WILL be). I've been to like a fete and a half for the season. And because of my current job I feel completely removed from the building hubbub of Carnival that continues around me.

All that ends tomorrow though...

 

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Tank: Express (old). Pants: River Island. Wedges: Qupid (similar here). Sunglasses: Nastygal. Lace Bra: Calzedonia.

the cANYAval POP UP shop Launch (pic heavy)

IMG_3081IMG_3034IMG_3051IMG_3053IMG_3039IMG_3037IMG_3066IMG_3091IMG_3064IMG_3087IMG_3058IMG_3111IMG_3114IMG_3099IMG_3103IMG_3105IMG_3123IMG_3149IMG_3154IMG_3155IMG_3161IMG_3163IMG_3164IMG_3167IMG_3170IMG_3174IMG_3177IMG_3182IMG_3185IMG_3219IMG_3234IMG_3238IMG_3240IMG_3259IMG_3254IMG_3268 IMG_3270IMG_3249 Last week Thursday, Anya Ayoung Chee hosted the launch of her cANYAval POP UP shop at Meiling's (6 Carlos Street, Woodbrook). The cANYAval shop was conceptualized as a one stop shop for all cANYAval (Carnival) needs from printed tees to jewelry to embellished Monday Wear. Any has teamed up with a team of great local designers including Sanian Lewis of Sanianitos, Elena Molchanova and Nick Salloum of SAYSM, Keegan Simon of the 1ndividual Aesthetic, Keisha Als and Lisa Henry of Liilah resort wear and all the designers showed up to introduce guests to their great lines of cANYAval needs. Oh. My Immortelle Beauty products are in there too. Perfect products for your feet's POST cANYAval needs.

Kyle got some great behind the scenes set up pictures and I think the images really capture the tone of the event and the bubbly expectant cANYAval energy that was there.

If you haven't visited the cANYAval POP UP shop yet...what are you waiting for?? It's open daily until cANYAval Sunday at Meiling at 6 Carlos Street, Woodbrook.

Photography: Kyle Walcott

Carnival Prep Part 1

IMG_2715IMG_2714IMG_2707 IMG_2708IMG_2717 IMG_2722 This year, I'm doing a little something special for my Carnival Tuesday costume. Let's just say I'm taking the excitement I used to have for masterminding Monday Wear kits (which has recently dissipated due to the commodification of Monday Wear design lol) and applying it to my Tuesday costume. Here's a sneak peek of what I'm up to.

Photography: Kyle Walcott

#islandlife Series: New Hair...New Gear

IMG_2680 IMG_2677 IMG_2663IMG_2687 (2) IMG_2654 IMG_2652 IMG_2645 IMG_2641 IMG_2638 IMG_2634 IMG_2632IMG_2690 IMG_2705 IMG_2702 IMG_2699 IMG_2697 IMG_2696 As soon as my father sees this post I know exactly what he's going to say. "So you couldn't pass a lil iron on that dress?" (Romper.)

So I spent all of the past year and a half taking gorgeous pics of cities around the world, but while I'm home for the next few months I wanted to turn the focus to the beauty of the island(s) where I'm from. This post is the first in a new series that I will be doing showcasing my experience over the next few months in Trinidad. I'm calling it the #islandlife Series.

It's so interesting to me how Chaguaramas has turned into a complete playground. I got reacquainted with the activities there when I went ziplining at ZipITT a couple of weekends ago, but there's all sorts of other fun things to do as well from bike riding to water jetpack-ing (???). I couldn't wait to come back and explore some of the places I've always driven by in passing, or haven't been to in a minute like the arresting Bamboo Cathedral, Samaan Park and creepy old St. Chad's Church. The best part of it for me was treading barefoot over fallen Immortelle blossoms (my company is named after the Immortelle tree, which you can see up there as well).

Of course, I'm an extremely anxious person, however, so a lot of the exploration consisted of me peeking down tracks hoping that no wild animals would come charging out the bush at me Puumba style.

Aaaanndddd I have new hair. I started experimenting with this hairstyle last month in a copper colour but now it's the perfect golden shade. It gives me a very monochromatic look so I like doing neutral makeup and starkly contrasting outfits like black or this white layered romper.

Photography: Kyle Walcott Photography. 

Romper: Tobi still available here. Shoes: Zara. Similar here. Clutch: American Apparel. Lots of colours hereRings: H&M, Nastygal. Gold Wire Ring: Red Fire Innovations by Rachel Rochford (LOCAL!). Chain Bracelets: H&MWraparound watch: Michael Kors. Similar here.

Nails: Solange Richardson. Nail Wraps: Melody Ehsani for NCLA in Masai.

The A's Have It

I'm really excited to see young designers in Trinidad, stepping up and producing work and marketing material that's really on an international level. I really want to highlight two of these, Aisling Camps and Adrian Foster, who both released really impressive lookbooks last week of their recent collections. I think it's Aisling's engineering background that lends itself naturally to her focus, precision and technical skill when it comes to knitwear (if you don't believe me check out her behind the scenes pics of her graphs on her Facebook page. GRAPHS.). The result is an undeniably beautiful collection of knit dresses, tops and skirts in soft neutrals, that can be worn forever. Aisling's growing brand is attracting a lot of welcome attention.

Color blocked pullover, cotton polyester monofilament

Aisling's label

Double strap tank & pencil skirt 100% linen w polyester monofilament details

Cropped top w cutout detail Cotton, polyester monofilament

Double Strap Tank 100% linen

Open back tunic 60% viscose 40% Nylon

Price information available on the Aisling Facebook page. Photos courtesy Aisling. Photography: Donald Michael Chambers.

Just in time for Carnival, Adrian Foster, a graduate of the Caribbean Academy for Fashion and Design, just released the lookbook for his new collection Shadows. I'm in love with the monochromatic imagery, chic minimalist fashion (something that we don't easily achieve in the Caribbean generally) and most importantly, clear prices and ordering information!!

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Black Linen Shirt Dress

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More information available on the AF Adrian Foster Facebook Page. Pictures courtesy AF Adrian Foster. Photography: Marlon James.

The Process

20140119-195918.jpg I'm alive! And planning and researching for all my plans this year. Here's a sneak peek of my vision board for my Carnival 2014!

This year I'm inspired by Selita Ebanks in Runaway, monochromatic hair and makeup, ethereal beauty, pastels and feathers, feathers, feathers!

Conservative Chic

20131020-161609.jpg It's another day here on Earth, and of course that means Rihanna has given us something to talk about. However, in a break with tradition, this time we're discussing how much clothes our girl Riri had on.

Riri's in Abu Dhabi, and while there, her photographers, Steven Gomillion and Dennis Leopuld, shot a stunning series of photos of her posing in front of the world's largest mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. In the pics, Ri appears conservatively covered from head-scarf to jumpsuited toe.

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20131020-162556.jpg It's Rihanna of course, and wherever she goes she draws controversy. The pictures are undeniably beautiful and while she's receiving praise for respecting cultural requirements, some see it as disrespectful to take glamourous style snaps outside the sacred site to begin with.

Whenever Rihanna posts a picture it zooms out to her 10 million plus Instagram followers and always causes a stir. However, one only need look to the effortlessly elegant style of Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, or one of the Middle East's more modern style setters like Ascia Al-Faraj (below, a master in layering, turbans and a strong brow) whose unique takes on conservative values help us all over the world understand that embracing conservative traditional mores doesn't mean abandoning personal style.

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Picture Credits: Rihanna Instagram, Ascia AKF Instagram

Evolution

20131015-233238.jpg I've been getting subtle signs recently that I should take steps to formalize my blog. You know stuff like create a real logo, buy a domain, customize the template etc. But I've been hesitant for a lot of reasons, mostly cause having a .com would be a lot more pressure to post regularly.

Last week, one of my Instagram friends in my head Giselle, over at Gigi and Nini Designs, who's a designer who always has fun experimenting with handwriting, played around with the title of my blog in her gorgeous script and it really started me thinking even more.

I mean, I've already made some small changes. As you can see, I've currently moved to a cleaner aesthetic for the blog which kind of blends with the more fashion oriented approach I want to take. The blog started pretty much chronicling my journey around the world, but as I narrow down what I'm interested in showcasing, I'm worried that I lose the friends and followers that I had when I had a crazy China story every two days.

But, thinking about it from the other end, I love blogs. And I especially love them when those bloggers seem like real people and show an evolution over the life of the blog. One of my favourite things to do when I find a blog I like is go back to the first posts to see who that person was before they got exposure. I remember my excitement in finding The Man Repeller 3 years ago and am so proud (yes, proud) to see how she has grown to be a true unique voice (complete with book deal), and to see how she's streamlined her look into this really sophisticated individual style. One of my other favourite bloggers, Karla Deras, of Karla's Closet, wrote just this week, that her readers seem to expect her to stay true to one thing, but ultimately, she's young and growing and changing and can only be true to herself.

So perhaps, in this transition, while I figure out what this transition even is (I really want this blog to be more personal style focused BUT no one will take pictures of meeeee) I may lose some followers, but I'll probably gain some in the long run as long as I stick with it.

Falling for Fall

Kathryn's Fall Picks I've never been too into Fall Fashion. To me coats and jackets were just things i threw on over my clothes so I didn't die while waiting for Spring.

But something happened this year that has made me really appreciate the beauty of outerwear and I'm actually excited about the approach of Fall (even as we're having lovely unusually warm October days - clearly I can't be pleased). Above - my recipe for a perfect Fall wardrobe.

1. Quilted sweatshirt - I think quilted accessories are a bit too classic for me but transfer the same finish to a sporty sweatshirt and I'm in love. This one is from Rag & Bone.

2. Leather moto jacket - Right now this is pretty much a wardrobe staple. If you, like me, cannot afford real leather, this one from Zara is a great faux option.

3. Masculine boxy coat - No sexy feminine silhouettes or waist cinching belts here. This season's boxy androgynous coats feel super modern. This is from Zara as well.

4. Gold ID Chain Choker - Topshop has a great one in store that I couldn't find online. But I still love a heavy gold chain.

5. Boots with gold details - Whether it's a sleek riding boot or a weathered cut out bootie, goldtone hardware adds some funkiness and visual interest to what might be everyday boots. The riding boots are Zara; the bootie is Steve Madden.

6. Leather shorts - I drank the fashion Koolaid and am now convinced that leather or pleather shorts (of a certain conservative length and paired with dark tights) are Perfectly Practical for Fall. Please don't try to convince me otherwise.

7. Matchy-Matchy outfits - I am going to go wayyy deep into my love for matchy-matchy outfits in an upcoming post. But this bejeweled bomber and skirt from (of course) Zara just make me happy on a really profound level.

Hashtag Farm Life???

20130929-202401.jpg The week I came back to New York I went to the most beautiful wedding on a farm in upstate New York. We stayed in a barn with a lake in the backyard, and despite the freezing temps (which I was sooooo not prepared for yet) it was a wonderful experience.

And of course I 'grammed the shit out of it.

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Im wearing a Top Shop crop top and skirt. I'm obsessed with matchy matchy these days. I will mention this many more times in future posts.

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Congratulations Shannon & D!

Six Hours of Summer

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So it's definitely Fall in NYC (where I am now, if anyone is keeping track). And I feel that I didn't really have a summer at all this year. Due to wearing heavy coats in Paris until the middle of July in what everyone described as the coldest spring and 'summer' in years; to coming to New York in July to be greeted by a monstrous heat wave which wouldn't even let me leave the air conditioned luxury of the apartment, far less engage in summery activities; to 6 weeks in Trinidad where, when I once tried to go to the Hyatt for some relaxation, was greeted by hordes of people, fully clothed, paddling in the pool (no seriously. One dude had on a striped polo jersey and CARGO pants in the pool. I. Just. Can't).

Long story short...I felt like the Summer of 2013 just passed me by.

So at the end of Summer 2013 I hadn't gone to the beach. Hadn't gone to any barbecues. Hadn't gone to any rooftop pool parties. No yacht trips DDI. And was constantly bombarded with images of people on Instagram and Tumblr doing the very same.

Until one lovely weekend in the beginning of September when I managed to extend what was supposed to be a one day trip to Tobago so I could go to the beach for a few hours the next morning. All the gods conspired to make it the most perfect beach day ever, complete with fish and crab sightings, and lots of beautiful photo opps!

Swimsuit by Liilah Resortwear.

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Giverny

20130725-165903.jpg One of the last things I did right before I left Paris was to go to Claude Monet's gardens at Giverny, where the Impressionist artist painted his famous water lily and bridge paintings. I went once 9 years ago and honestly it was one of the most beautiful places I can remember so I was extremely glad I got to go back.

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