Carnival Prep Part 2

IMG_3540IMG_3542IMG_3537IMG_3543 IMG_3541 IMG_3549IMG_3550

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.

IMG_3557 IMG_3562 IMG_3554

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.

IMG_3651 IMG_3646 IMG_3650 IMG_3661 IMG_3674 IMG_3668

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.

IMG_3700 IMG_3685 IMG_3697 IMG_3715 IMG_3727IMG_3704 IMG_3720 IMG_3739 IMG_3730 IMG_3740 IMG_3746

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

Clipped In

Most travelers prepare for their trips by planning itineraries, budgets, packing lists months in advance of their departure date. I pretty much figure that such things will work themselves out in time once I have a

ticket and a visa.

No for me, Vanity Smurf, the major concern that I need to address before I left was what on earth was I going to do with my HAIR while I spent a year in Shanghai, Florence and Paris. The question haunted me for months. Would I be able to maintain a weave in China? China is the hair capital of the world but do they know anything about installing all that hair they make and export? Would I even be able to get a relaxer? The pictures of the work of the one black hair salon I found online in China  didn't inspire me with confidence (hint: they used drugstore relaxer not professional brands).

Would I have to do my hair *gasp* myself??!!

I can confidently say that any DIY hair experiments I embark upon will be in equal parts hilarious and catastrophic. In my head I will be as adept at doing my own hair as my YouTube hair video idols. However, in reality, I will just be grateful to return with some hair still attached to my scalp.

I spent the better part of the last 2 years being a bit of a hair chameleon changing my hair every 6-8 weeks. In the hands of my genius hairdresser, Melissa, I've had funky short cuts, long mohawks and cascading weaves in shades from blonde to black. How would I deal with 3 months looking...the same?? So how would I satisfy my love for versatility and still have something that I could easily maintain considering I may not have a hair styling genius at my disposal?

Enter the clip ins. I ended up spending the majority of my last two days in Trinidad in my hairdresser's chair while she cut my hair into a highlighted bob and created for me a full head of made to order clip-in hair extensions that I could use for fancy occasions, or bad hair days. As she clipped in each track I began to wonder why anyone did sew-in weaves at all.

Clip-ins look way more natural because they attached as close to the scalp as possible, and blend with your hair. They don't cause that week-long tightness you get from your weave cane/cornrows. I used less hair which was easier on the pocket, and added to the natural-ness of the look, and talk about versatility! I could do a centre or side part, or use the clip ins on half my head and braid the front for a trendy boho style (see above. Do you see my knowing, "Girl you better get u some clipins" facial expression??). And the best part was I  can take them all out and start all over the next day in a completely different way! They can be washed off the head and therefore they last much longer than sewed in hair.

I am sold. Not saying that I won't still have my share of hilarious DIY hair nightmares (which I will of course post up here), but I feel a lot more confident knowing that my clip-ins are a safe backup plan.