London, Belgium, Paris, and New York descended upon Kingston, Jamaica for Saint International’s Style Week ’06, and witnessed
a rather humble but energetic fashion week eager to break out of its fringe label.
Expectedly, the week delivered fashion pieces native to the Caribbean: comfy beach- and lounge-wear. Numerous incarnations
of the cotton guayabera shirt adorned chiseled Adonises; The Fader‘s contributing stylist and designer Mobolaji Dawodu paraded models in brightly-hued silk shirts, trousers, and dashikis;
linen skirts and loose, airy tops abounded, as did temperature-raising two-piece bikinis; Yolande Bennett showed a tiered
cotton Jamaican apple-colored dress; a Masai-inspired blanket wrapped one model wearing a beaded string headpiece; New York-based
‘s silk and floral printed swimwear pieces were knockouts, and their white shirt-dress with outsize sleeves was belted, keeping
the look in step with fashion’s current nipped-waist obsession.
Unsuccessful at times, but still managing to surprise, were the avant-garde eccentricities that littered several collections.
For teenager Schnel Francis this meant a series of black and white outfits with offbeat cutouts and a transparent mini-dress
with dangling garter belts. Ande Sew crocheted sweaters à la John Rocha, and used random seaming, ruching, and distended puffs
to temper the over-the-top sauciness of her skintight skirts and tops. But more on point was Zam Barrett: he opened with a
model in an all off-white ensemble whose face was fully covered, a likely nod to Viktor and Rolf; there were jodhpur pants with distended thighs; several rosette-composed tops; a skirt shaped by a crinoline; and a deftly
constructed, black tuxedo-lapelled, bubble-skirted dress that genuflects before the exaggerated volume trend.
If there was a designer that taught us how to effectively mix the conceptual with prêt-à-porter, it was the Gaultier- and Mugler-trained Gaspard Yurkievich, who normally shows in Paris, but decided to bring his cool Parisian aesthetic to Kingston. Yurkievich not only justified
his place as one of the world’s 150 most important designers (per the Fashion Now), but along the way showed the local designers — dare we say — how to party? He was in an "I just want to have fun," ’80s
mood, and accordingly produced hip party looks, including a translucent green sleeveless top paired with neon-lime-accented,
sequined trousers; an arbitrarily sequined fluorescent pink dress matched with a brown slip with frayed edges; outsized bows,
some in jacquard, adorned the hips and busts of dresses. Sequins and black feathers trimmed a breezy white dress; and Yurkievich’s
mood was fully captured by an oversized sport-meets-glam hoodie over matching silver-sequined trousers. Also worth noting
were the translucent (in blue and neon green) stiletto-heeled boots.
Despite fashion weeks in Barbados and Trinidad, Kingston, Jamaica reigns as the Caribbean style capital. But with continued
support from the international fashion community, like the counseling of local talents by two Parsons School of Design professors, and the support of the French Embassy, who facilitated Gaspard Yurkievich’s visit for Style Week ’06, Kingston
could jerk its way to becoming an official stop on the global fashion week calendar.
Saint International Style Week ’06
Mobolaji Dawodu s/s ’07
Abaeté s/s ’07
4-5 Gaspard Yurkievich s/s ’07
Saint International Style Week ’06