Style Spirit Happened. Part 1.

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Boy, did it!

Because if you weren't there, clearly you were missing out!

Because if you weren’t there, clearly you were missing out!

If you can’t tell already, we were pretty underwhelmed by the show.

This was an event “committed to redefining the fashion trade,” for chrissakes. Everything from its minimalist, slightly subversive branding, to its intriguingly titled workshops (“How to Be a Sell Out,” “F*** Brands, Build Cultures,”), to its aim of showcasing the Caribbean’s freshest talent, to its location (The Warehouse, Champs Fleurs—to cool to keep to the West), suggested that this would be a weekend to remember. A game-changer, even.

Hell, even Vashtie Kola herself was there (or Va$htie, as she is more affectionately known).

Vashtie Kola. But you probably already know her.

Vashtie Kola. But you probably already know her.

We should state up front that we weren’t there for the workshops. We didn’t go to the after parties. We didn’t even make the Lookbook Brunch—nor would we have wanted to, come to mention it.

Our sentiments exactly.

Our sentiments exactly.

Bottom line is that we weren’t in the country at the time. So we can’t say whether it started on time, or who was in attendance, or whether it was a good spend of $750. What we can talk about though, is the most important part of the weekend—the clothes. And if you spent $750 just because you wanted to see some fresh, compelling, must-have pieces, then we’re sorry to say it.

But you would’ve been shit out of luck.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t some good stuff. For one, The 1ndividual Aesthetic‘s presentation stood out. Keegan Simon brought it just like we knew he would. His collection showed consistency, and presented some of the best styling we saw in the show.

The 1ndividual Aesthetic

The 1ndividual Aesthetic

Truth be told, we don’t really go for the Karmaloop-loving urban-hipster type thing. But that doesn’t really matter, because it’s exactly the kind of person the average 20-something Trinidadian wants to be. We appreciate The 1ndividual Aesthetic because it’s an honest-to-God brand created from scratch by a great designer with an even better business sense. He’s got a keen eye for what’s trendy overseas, and knows that a good brand doesn’t just sell clothes—it sells a lifestyle.

His models even walked down the stage to rock drummer Rhys Thompson’s beats. Clearly, Keegan’s brain is working. And we appreciate that.

Including Rhys Thompson was a stroke of genius.

Including Rhys Thompson was a stroke of genius.

The Art of Wear is another honourable mention.

Yes, the whole retro meets African print thing has been done to death, most notably by Boxing Kitten (whose founder, Maya Lake, actually has Guyanese roots).

Boxing Kitten

Boxing Kitten

But whereas the Boxing Kitten’s sexier and more youthful, the Art of Wear‘s collection’s prettier and more ladylike, which we dig. Each of their outfits look as something Dorothy would wear if instead of landing in Kansas, she clicked her heels and ended up on In Living Colour. Plus the clothes look well made and finished.

The Art of Wear

The Art of Wear

Some swimwear was also pretty good. Take this, for example, by Chandra Maharaj swimwear, which is a perfect example of a sharp, sexy, well-fitting suit. Check out more of her stuff here—it’s all impeccably crafted, and whether you want to go sexy or cute, there’s something for everyone.

Chandra Maharaj Swimwear

Chandra Maharaj Swimwear

Another stand-out was Rhion Romany, who created one of the boldest and most coherent looks of the night:

Rhion Romany

Rhion Romany

And we loved Loud by Afiya Bishop’s sexy (if not necessarily original) use of print, though we wished she could’ve sent more than pants down the runway, as her pieces deserved more than slapdash strips of black cloth:

Loud by Afiya Bishop

Loud by Afiya Bishop

But really and truly, if we could’ve given an award to Style Spirit’s MVP—to the designer who presented the strongest collection, whom we could see really going places, whom we could see being most well-received on an international stage—it would be to Darcel de Vlugt.

Crappy photo, stunning collection.

Crappy photo, stunning collection.

Presenting under the name Van der Vlugt, Vlugt’s collection was chic, timeless, and minimalist, but polished, in the vein of Halston or Calvin Klein. It’s no surprise that of all the photos we’ve seen of this event posted on Facebook, the ones showing her clothing are among those that have received the most comments.

Van Der Vlugt

Van Der Vlugt

Please, Ms. Vlugt, take a bow. Thank you for demonstrating how it’s done.

Of course, there were several others we didn’t feel quite so strongly about—ranging from the bland to the hot mess. but before we wheel and come again, we’ve got to catch our breaths (and call our lawyers). Stay tuned for Part 2.

Photography credited to David Wears, I. Douglas Photography, Islandnoise.net, Boxing Kitten, Style Spirit, and The 1ndividual Aesthetic

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