Category Archives: Art & Design

In Luxe with Terra Nova

Visiting Jamaica is always a pleasure; in the last few years there has been a spate of renovations and upgrades to some of the established hotels in Kingston, making them ideal choices to for business travellers or visitors staying in the area; popular with locals for dining or partying, hotels such as Terra Nova have redeveloped with international standards and style, cleverly combining the history of the original with a modern chic aesthetic.

Terra Nova All Suite Hotel Kingston Jamaica

Once a stately home, the Terra Nova Hotel is a lush little spot in Kingston, Jamaica; there is a feeling of space, as foliage is used to separate different areas and walkways.  Nature creates ‘walls’ surrounding the conference rooms, pool, spa & gym, with sculptures with an equine theme (a rearing stallion!) in front of the hotel, with the backdrop of the blue mountains. Gardens and grounds Terra Nova Hotel Kingston Jamaica Art is clearly an important element of the hotel – stunning life-like masks by Nakazi Tafari adorn the walls, can be found buried in amongst the plants in the gardens and hanging, surrounded by vines. Caribbean art by Nakazzi in Jamaica Terra Nova is an all suite hotel that goes the next step with lovely touches – complimentary fruit plates, water, coffee & tea; each day a fresh bottle of water with a chocolate – the little things that make us feel good!  The showers were incredible – after a long day returning to our rooms was a welcome respite before venturing out again!  We loved the elegant decor and luxurious details. Design decor Terra Nova Kingston Jamaica One of our party had been assigned the Presidential Suite – upstairs from the lobby, it is fit for a king with it’s own terrace looking out over the grounds and private staircase downstairs; it has it’s own wet bar conveniently hidden behind screen doors and enough space to host our entire group…….the wine and a fruit bowl as a welcome gift was quickly opened and shared! Lobby at the Terra Nova Hotel, Jamaica The lobby’s cozy seating in rich colours with comfortable chairs, grand piano and what can only be described as sheer temptation at the patisserie – a gorgeous display of macaroons with other yummy delights was hard to ignore; it was the crossroads to a plethora of choices: two dining rooms and the hip Regency bar and lounge with the most spectacular wine wall display where those-in-the-know collect and connect.   The food was simply delicious; the breakfast buffet made us put on a few pounds while the dinner menu was full of lip-smacking choices that we could barely finish!

While walking off the food, we discovered two European fashion stores on the ground floor and outside the back entrance a classic casino/gaming lounge with all the one-armed bandits and gaming machines you could want.  On top of all that – the staff were always helpful and friendly, despite our many questions!

www.terranovajamaica.com

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Celebrating the Wild Feminine Divine

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné’s talent is rendered in gorgeous images and succulent words that capture both your heart and your head; the beautiful colours, flowing lines and inherent wildness of her artwork draw you in, while her poetry captures your soul from the moment you hear or read it; a searing honesty steeped in the divine feminine.

Caribbean art by Danielle Boodoo-Fortune
‘Zaboca Goddess’

Her inspiration comes from a very personal place; growing up in rural Trinidad – “it’s a huge part of who I am” – between her grandmothers (a blend of East Indian, Chinese, Carib & African descent), she learnt the meaning of feminine strength and where true power lies. Her creations make sense of her multi-cultural background and the many stories and narratives from her childhood shared by these “amazing women” in a beautiful and magical way; recurring elements throughout her work include her own map of symbols that come to her unconsciously.  “I usually don’t know what they represent or mean until after [the] pieces are created.”

Caribbean artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortune
‘In The Quiet’

The story of Persephone and the cycle of relationships is a consistent theme – “it’s a tale of a mother and daughter, sadness & loss, oneness and yet separateness, the complexity and difficulty of relationships between the two.  It comes back to the same place of memories.”  The branches or antlers denote sensitivity and understanding: “it’s important not to let go of your innate wildness, a freeness, a connection to your own needs & impulses.”  The cursive, flowing shapes have a seamless fluidity, connecting directly with the landscape and surroundings like roots.

10300665_651150358289029_330768927317382986_n Danielle sees her life unravelling as a journey of evolution through discovery.  “Poetry came first.  I started seriously in 2008. The art came 3 or 4 years later. Both happen on different frequencies, although I find painting easier.”  More recently, her paintings have featured snippets of her poetry, strings of words flowing around her subjects that create a new dimension to appreciate.  It’s the authenticity of her work that really enthralls; an homage to mother nature, a celebration of the wildness that resides deep inside.

Art by Caribbean artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortune
The Sisters

A published author, her poetry has been featured in several print publications and she has appeared at many of the literary festivals in the region, making new connections along the way.  “Each one is very different, and has their own vibe.”  A recent trip to the Bim Lit Fest in Barbados saw her participate in a workshop for 8-12 year olds, which she found particularly rewarding; she strongly believes in passing on her knowledge and experience to a younger generation, encouraging them to express themselves in a creative space.

Danielle Boodoo-Fortune at Bim Lit Fest 2014
Bim Lit Fest 2014

While the business of art via brick and mortar retail stores can be challenging, she has built an online presence that not only allows her to connect with other artists and designers outside of Trinidad – it has become the primary way she makes a living, selling a small range of products including limited edition original art, prints, bookmarks and a colouring book.  Together with her husband, a graphic artist, also run their own business – an art studio supplies store in Trinidad.  Currently in a transition period, her focus has turned to improving her body of work and creating larger pieces, a timely decision as in our view her style begs to be rendered on an oversized canvas.

Caribbean artist Danielle Boodoo-Fortune
Highlight of an older work

Particular about her use of media, Danielle prefers to create certain shapes on wood, for instance, as she feels the longer, straighter lines and deeper colours work better, whereas the curves and fluidity of watercolour are best on paper.   She’s also not a fan of traditional exhibitions, and would rather show her pieces in a relaxed environment, surrounded by nature.   “Art galleries can be too sterile.  It’s hard to connect with the pieces on a white wall.”

celebrating the wild feminine divine
Criatura

While confident in her artistry, Danielle acknowledges that it’s been hard to let go of feeling as though she has to constantly validate what she does.  “I am mapping my own journey.   It’s actually a simple change but so hard to implement because of the academic focus at school and how the school system beats [the creativity] out of you.  I’m figuring it out as I go along.”

Website: danielleboodoofortune.com

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Jamaica’s Calabash Goes Globalishus

Calabash Literary Festival Jamaica 2014 GlobalishusFrom auspicious beginnings, Jamaica’s Calabash Festival has become THE literary event to attend in the Caribbean, attracting some of the biggest names in literature from around the world and inspiring the development of regional literary festivals in islands such as Trinidad, Barbados and Dominica.  Caribbean Bazaar spoke with Calabash co-founder Justine Henzell to find out more about how the “greatest likkle festival” has earned it’s stellar reputation.

There is a tale, often repeated, of how the first Calabash Literary Festival in 2001 was heralded by the arrival of yellow butterflies as the event opened, then disappearing as soon as it was over, as if the spirits of writers gone before were sending their blessings.  A labour of love, Calabash has been built purely through the tireless work of volunteers and co-founders into a must-attend event for aspiring and published writers and authors where there are not only readings but seminars and workshops, all free to attend.

Co-founders of Calabash - Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes, Justine Henzell
Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes, Justine Henzell: Co-founders of Calabash Literary Festival

The idea for Calabash was sparked by the frustration felt by friends and authors Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer as they embarked on a disastrous book tour in the UK.  Recognising that there was a opportunity, their “crazy idea” was to stage their own literary festival in their homeland of Jamaica.  Realising they needed someone on the ground, Colin contacted his friend Justine Henzell, a freelance film producer with a predilection for crazy ideas and a family owned hotel called Jake’s.  So the journey began……

Held every year for the first decade, Calabash is now a two-day biennial event held on even years, welcoming authors, writers, poets and musicians to the beautiful surroundings of Jake’s Hotel at Treasure Beach, a tiny fishing village in the south of the island.  “It’s a heavy workload to put on an event like this every year.  Holding it every two years makes it easier on everyone” acknowledges Justine. It was a practical decision,  not just for the volunteers but also for sponsors and funding, which they have found to be the most challenging aspect.

“People thought we were crazy and insane – not only for developing a literary festival but also because of it’s location” Justine explains.  “We started with 300 people attending and are now getting 3,000.”

One of the attractions of Calabash, she explains, is that “it’s not a staid and stuffy event.”  The vibe is relaxed and casual, readings are framed with a gorgeous oceanfront backdrop; the stage is simply decorated with flowers and calabash gourds; the lectern is made from bamboo and uses rocks as paperweights.  There is a feeling of authenticity, of genuine appreciation for the work being shared – the ambiance is that of a friendly hangout, where everyone mingles together.  It goes without saying that reggae music is an integral part of the whole event, with performances from artists at the end of each day – Justine could not have conceived Calabash without it: “Music is a big part of it organically – every day ends with music” she says.

Calabash Literary Festival at Treasure Beach Jamaica
Images via http://www.susumba.com

“We aim to share a good balance of literati [at Calabash]” says Justine, revealing a line up that includes representatives from Asia, India, Kenya as well as the Caribbean.  For 2014, Salman Rushdie heads up a delicious roster of names including Jamaica Kincaid, Zadie Smith, Robert Antoni, Karen Lord, Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, Ngugi Wa Thiong’O, Mervyn Morris (Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate inaugurated this year) and K’wan Foye to name just a few of the nearly 30 invited to participate this year. calabash-2014-lineup

Indeed, previous participants wax lyrical about their experiences at Calabash. “I can’t tell you how many authors say to us it’s the most responsive/respectful audience they have ever had.  [The audience] are sitting there…..they are not silent…….they are responding to what is being read, they are not chatting amongst themselves.  Simultaneously responsive and respectful.”

When co-founder Colin Channer made a decision to resign from the board officially in 2012, many speculated on the reasons why.  Justine is unfazed by the so-called controversy: “Kwame and Colin are best friends, even when we launched….[the 2014 event] in Kingston, Kwame referred to the ghost of Colin Channer that was hovering with us.  Colin is not actively a member of Calabash but he is absolutely there ….if we need to bounce something off him, he is still there.  Colin was such a huge force and part of creating the festival….the festival is imbued with him.  It is hard to separate Colin from the festival.  The three of us worked very, very closely to make this happen.”

The benefits emerging from cultural events held throughout the Caribbean often go unstated – for Calabash, being located so far south in the parish of St Elizabeth has enhanced and generated not only international interest but has also encouraged internal tourism.  “It’s not a place you would pass by”, says Justine.  “You have to be going to Treasure Beach.”

The influence of Calabash on the literary culture in Jamaica and the Caribbean is undeniable.  “Local authors refer to B.C and A.C (Before Calabash and After Calabash).  It has exposed our writers to such wide, diverse styles and forms.  Many now published writers have emerged from our workshops, such as [award-winning Jamaican writers] Marlon James and Ishion Hutchinson.”  In order to keep the event fresh, the Committee, led by Kwame Dawes, are discerning about who is invited and seek to promote a diversity of voice and genre, with 2014 seeing the inclusion of sci-fi and fantasy fiction for the first time.  Participants are chosen not only for their brand appeal; other criteria include having a book in print within the last two years and ensuring a roster that includes emerging Caribbean writers alongside internationally acclaimed names.  Invitees can only attend once every three events.

From the start the Calabash team have been very particular about the organisation and timing during the event, having been described as a “drum & bass mentality with Swiss precision.”  Events start on time, which is sometimes lacking at Caribbean festivals and many would say that’s simply the Caribbean way.  Justine disagrees: “[you] can be…..vibesy and rootical and start on time and have a PA system. It is not at odds with our culture to be punctual.”   Having firmly established itself as a significant event on not only the literary calendar, but also as one of the major Caribbean cultural festivals, Calabash continues to raise the bar.  All costs related to the staging of the event are raised by sponsorship as well as direct support from Jake’s Hotel, which closes down for a week to host the participants and attending press.

“Most challenging – without question – is the money. Everything else is a joy. Raising money for the arts..[is difficult] when people don’t get it. 12 years later they now realise [the opportunity].  We have proven it can work.”

Unlike the US and Europe, voluntary support of the arts is not a culture in Jamaica or indeed the Caribbean as a whole.  “It’s another cultural thing that we are trying to champion.  We are committed to keeping the festival free – with voluntary support it can work.” Now a registered non-profit in the US, donations can be made directly through the Calabash website or via cheque to Calabash International.

In it’s 12th year, Calabash is going from strength to strength, and has built a legacy with tremendous impact on the Jamaican and Caribbean literary landscape.  “I am incredibly proud,” Justine shares, “Calabash is like my 3rd child.  No matter how challenging, I feel truly, truly blessed to spend a weekend in one of the most beautiful places – with 30 of the most interesting people in the world.”

Thanks to Justine Henzell for her time.

Images via Calabash Festival, Susumba

Counter-Culture Caribbean Art With A Social Conscience

A self-taught artist with a vibe reminiscent of a dreadlocked absent-minded professor, H G Fields appears introspective and thoughtful, with a demeanour that belies the depth of his work.  Scratch below the surface, however, and one finds the heart of an activist seeking to challenge the status quo and educate the masses.  Growing up in an open, progressive Caribbean family who lived mainly in Barbados (with a short stint in Ireland in his early teens) H G was taking art classes at 5 and by the time he was 10 he already had awards under his belt; an interest in graphics and illustrations was fueled by reading Tin Tin and admiring the “lovely pen and ink work” by Herge.  He recalls being read to by his father from classics such as Dr Seuss and Alice in Wonderland, the influences of both of these are evident in his work.

Caribbean artist H G Fields Alice in Woodstock
MadHatter Gaddafi/Alice in Woodstock

Studying at Central St Martins in London was a catalyst for H G’s creative inspiration – the discovery of a book on counter-culture art became a turning point, galvanizing him to create pieces based on the racial, social and cultural issues of the day, challenging the perception of others, the ignorance and fear that leads to assumptions and uninformed judgements. Researching into the ‘wog’ ethos, he took an in-depth look at the ties between culture, racism and marijuana – the literal arguments and the marginalisation of minorities through the war on drugs. It became his degree dissertation and a genesis for his exhibition pieces.

“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.” ~ Salvador Dali

Caribbean digital artist HG Fields
You Should Have Listened/Wog House in the Dollhouse

As for digital art as a medium, H G waxes lyrical about the benefits for emerging artists “Digital media is really cost-effective,” he explains. He dips into styles influenced heavily by surrealism and pop art – Salvador Dali, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol’s iconic treatments are rendered in a contemporary environment; he also looks back to the past, presenting vintage images in a tongue-in-cheek way, bringing them firmly up to date. “It’s an observation of life & what is going on. I [need to] voice my opinion through art.” H G accepts what is, yet acknowledges education and awareness is key to shifting attitudes and prejudice.

Caribbean digital artist H G Fields on the Trayvon Martin incident
Fear Eye Tray – H G Fields’ interpretation of the 2013 Trayvon Martin incident in the USA
Caribbean digital artist H G Fields reflects on racism in his artwork
The House I Live In

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” 
― 
Salvador Dalí

Caribbean digital artist H G Fields' work has a surrealist influence
Persistence of Prohibition/Runaway Train

His blog began innocuously enough “my flatmate was into social media and got on my case to do one, so I decided to put it up during the degree show as a point of reference.” It became part of his portfolio, an evolutionary extension of his sketchbook/journal and allowed him to voice his “rants,” and to share his creative process, as well as his thoughts and reasoning behind each concept. “It’s constantly evolving with insight….giving context to what I am doing. I do it to keep people up to date with what is going on, to share what inspires me. I enjoy it – it keeps me busy and motivated; I get inspiration from it too.” It also helps him maintain a level of discipline, keeping him focused on projects at hand. He marks his progress and scope of where he sees himself going with “blocks” – each piece of art is a goal, a step forward, another opportunity to see where this journey takes him. “See where you’ve come and where you’re going” is his mantra from Central St Martins and one he reminds himself of often.

“It’s not for me to describe it,” he says. “It’s for others to interpret.”

Like many creatives, H G struggles with coming to terms with the commercial side of being an artist, although his comfort level with technology and the internet gives him a head start in gaining exposure. Produced in small, limited edition runs his work can be found in homes in the UK and the Caribbean; a recent foray into commission work – painting a mural – became a challenge, forcing him to go back to using a paint & brush, sketching out ideas and concepts to show a client, rather than just please himself.

Caribbean digital artist H G Fields reflects on the state of celebrity
Idolatry

Describing his art as “surrealist counter-culture”, the synergy with his work and lifestyle is evident.  It is art with a social conscience, full of symbolism and meaning; his pieces are multi-layered, with rich colours and subtle details. “I like stirring up racial & social issues,” he explains; “It’s not for me to describe it,” he says. “It’s for others to interpret.”

Caribbean artist H G Fields' take on the current craze for 'Selfies'
HashTag Selfie

His personal experiences with racial issues were sporadic until he left Barbados; travelling to the UK for college was an eye-opener.   Friends would joke about being racially profiled by the Police as ‘driving while black’ while the sordid mess surrounding the death of Stephen Lawrence played out in the media. “I know what they’re about……I’m not interested in that. It must be difficult to be a bigot. You have so much that pisses you off around you all the time……[it] must be really stressful.”

Caribbean artist H G Fields's work reflects the influence of iconic artists like Andy Warhol
Can of Abyss’ Soup

Indeed, H G Fields is a bit of a conundrum. While his medium is based almost entirely on technology, he is not a tech-head – his mobile phone is an old Nokia with a cracked screen; his well-worn tablet he calls “a necessity”, a concession made to further develop his craft. Yet he always goes back to his sketchbooks, a habit that began at college. There is no particular methodology to his creative process: “I don’t always sketch an idea out – sometimes I like to get a feel for where I’m going with it. The beauty of computers means that you can erase and go back over…sometimes I sketch on the computer, clean it up and then start applying textures or I might look for textures….then draw.”

His advice to other artists is Warhol-esque: “Stop trying to be perfect, use whatever you have and just create.”

Details:

H G Fields Website

Images courtesy H G Fields

An extended version of this article appeared in MPeople Barbados Issue 15.

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Dream Machine: Artist Steven Sebring Takes Photography to the 4th Dimension

Steven Sebring shares his experience in photography for MAC

M·A·CZINE MEETS ARTIST STEVEN SEBRING AND GOES INSIDE THE WORLD’S FIRST FOUR-DIMENSIONAL COSMETICS CAMPAIGN

In 1872, a wealthy racehorse owner hired the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle the debate as to whether a galloping horse’s feet leave the ground at the same time. By 1878, Muybridge had come up with an innovative solution – cameras stationed along the edge of a track, each triggered by an invisible thread at the exact moment the horse raced past. The resulting sequence of images became a huge leap in the evolution of still imagery towards moving pictures (and yes, they do leave the ground at the same time).

135 years on, the influence of Muybridge’s 19th-century innovations could be clearly seen at artist Steven Sebring’s show in New York’s Armory gallery, where he debuted the results of a new and revolutionary multi-camera set-up.

On display were huge, haunting stills and videos of moving subjects frozen in time and space, including the supermodel Coco Rocha, as well as interactive touchscreens and 3D-printed sculptures – all ways of visualizing and exploring what he refers to as “the fourth dimension.”

Three months later, we are in Sebring’s downtown studio for the shooting of A Fantasy of Flowers. A model ascends a small staircase and clambers cautiously inside a large geodesic dome, pausing to ensure her pink tulle creation clears the opening. Inside, 100 cameras await, staring inwards and slightly upwards from a circular rail around the bottom edge. The stylist and hairstylist complete their final adjustments, then emerge from the futuristic silver capsule in a light cloud of hairspray. Assistants wheel away the stairs and seal the model inside, along with the artist cocooned in his viewing station. Two technicians at a mission control of monitors quietly observe pulsing colour signals and numbers – then, on Sebring’s command, the cameras fire in sequence, split seconds apart, and the first phantasmagorical frames from within begin to appear on their screens. This Revolution is being televised.

Watch the A Fantasy of Flowers video.

How do you feel about the results of this collaboration with M·A·C?

STEVEN SEBRING: My Armory show was not long ago, so this is the first time I’ve used the rig for something else – I really wanted people to see the possibilities first. This was a great experience because it was the first time I’ve had great hair, makeup and styling.

How did all these elements come together for this project?

The “revolutions” that we did in the past were brilliant without hair, makeup, styling and so on – just natural. But these images tell me this system is so incredible and beautiful that, whatever you put in there, it’s going to have its own style! It can be raw or off-the-charts chic, or whatever we want…There are infinite possibilities. We don’t even need a big team to run it. We just flick a switch and tell the cameras what we want.

Steven Sebring A Fantasy of Flowers Shoot

You make it sound so easy, but presumably there was a lot of work getting to this point?

The key to it all is that anyone can put cameras on a pole – but it’s what you DO with those cameras. That’s where all the software and technology comes in, and that took us a couple of years to create. Now when we shoot on it, it’s like a drug! People are entranced when they are watching.

It’s mesmerizing seeing the stills come in – a different feeling to video, but also not the same as stills…Why do you think that is?

Movie cameras don’t do what we can do. That’s what is so interesting – we’re shooting with stills, and that’s why I enjoy making movies out of them. There’s no effects – that’s the other thing people have a hard time understanding. It’s all pure photography, just going back to actually taking true pictures. And all we’re doing is stitching them together in sequence.

Steven Sebring A Fantasy of Flowers Shoot

It feels like this has come along at the right time, when people are starting to tire of CGI excess. Do you think people are looking for something else?

CGI has become very heavy. Big movies are now a tech-driven world, but a lot of these guys are not directors or artists. I’m already infiltrated in the film industry, the cosmetics industry, fashion, celebrity portrait. So for me, it’s just an extension.

Is that where the original inspiration came from, pulling all those worlds together?

Exactly. Now, we’ve got touchscreen, in-store, web, ad campaigns, and when I shoot 20 revolutions, you’ve got a film. You can even make a 3D print. Also, the biggest thing is the public can interact with it. They can zoom in, move round, look behind…We’re not about retouching either – the flaws are what’s beautiful. It really looks organic, like what Eadweard Muybridge was doing in the 1860s.

Do you see this as part of a lineage of artistic exploration?

He’s the holy grail of what I’m doing, and filmmaking generally…which is why I launched this in the art world. Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (also first shown at the Armory in 1913) is based on Muybridge’s Woman Walking Downstairs (1887) – we merged the two at the show, and it was like the atomic bomb! This is really a new way of seeing everything and interacting with it.

What is the ideal way of experiencing a “revolution”? These images can be sliced and represented in so many different ways…

It’s the full package – you have to think of these things as a full-on experience. We shoot a still – that’s cool. Then you go to a touchscreen and you can interact with it. It’s like, I always want to see the back of a Picasso painting. How was it framed? Did he write on the back of that thing? With this, you could see.

For this collection, M·A·C has been very inspired by the idea of flowers and fantasy – did that also inspire you when making these?

James Gager came to the show and saw Metamorphosis, with Coco on a 60-foot screen, and said: “That’s M·A·C.” It reminded him of flowers and fantasy…James is always looking for something new and exciting. A lot of people are caught in the past – people have been doing what’s going on for years and years now, and doing it really well. That’s great! But what if I then say you can achieve those same great images, but now you can interact with them? That’s really all I’m saying.

How much do you think this has the potential to change photography?

Honestly, once you’ve shot with this, you have to carry on – you can’t go backwards. It’s the new way. That’s why I call it Revolution – I truly believe that what we are doing is revolutionary. We are finding things in the fourth dimension that Picasso, Braque, Duchamp and all those guys saw in the Muybridge photographs – they were reaching for this in paint, and we’re finding the truth. And doing it very much how Muybridge shot. We’re just taking it to a new level.

If a photograph can suggest a fantasy of movement, are these images a reality?

In its purest sense! M·A·C is really going for it – that’s impressive. I’m a risk-taker, I go against the grain, and I’m such a believer in this that I am putting everything into it. It’s important to me that if a brand wants to use this, that aesthetically it’s bad-ass! The time is now. It’s not next year or in six months. It’s now. M·A·C is really doing the world’s first four-dimensional interactive cosmetics campaign.

 

Images courtesy www.stevensebring.com and M.A.C Cosmetics.  Story provided by M.A.C Cosmetics.

 

 

Caribbean fashion designers chosen for Black Dress

No less than four fashion designers with Caribbean roots have been chosen for a celebration of their creativity and entrepreneurship during the Black Dress exhibition now on at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York.

Black Dress - contemporary fashion at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NYC

Running through until 26 April, this free exhibition features ten contemporary fashion designers (all New York-based), exploring each designer’s background, how it influences their work and celebrating their ground-breaking, visionary designs along with their singular dedication to their craft.

Black Dress opens at a time when black designers, despite their growing influence and success, remain largely underrepresented in the fashion world.

These four designers include two with Jamaican heritage – Samantha Black, a former Pratt graduate, Project Runway contestant and Sammy B label maven, brings fierce feminine edge while Michael Jerome Francis shows his beautifully crafted environmentally-aware ‘sustainable couture’; and two with Trinidad and Tobago roots – Stephen Burrows, fearless fashion innovator with over 50 years in the industry and Donna Dove, visual artist and designer with her signature ‘wearable art’.

Samantha Black designs
Samantha Black and the Sammy B label – fresh and fierce!
Photo: Facebook.com/samantha-black-sammy-b
'Sustainable Couture' - Michael Jerome Francis
‘Sustainable Couture’ – Michael Jerome Francis
Photos: Michael Jerome Francis – Google+
Fashion innovator and fearless designer Stephen Burrows
Fashion innovator and fearless designer Stephen Burrows
Photos: stephenburrows.com
Caribbean fashion designer Donna Dove at Black Dress in NYC
Designer Donna Dove
Facebook.com/donna-dove-new-york

Conceived by Adrienne Jones and co-curated with art dealer/exhibition developer Paula Coleman along with with fashion consultant Walter Greene, Black Dress highlights the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that is required for success in the fashion world, presenting each designer’s work through an innovative installation concept showcasing each designer’s work as if seen through a store window, a la Madison Avenue.

Black designers are emerging on the scene with greater visibility than ever,” said Jones. “Black Dress will highlight the correlation between entrepreneurship, creativity, and locality. These factors work together to create opportunities for designers and their communities to become new destinations where fashion excellence and achievement are measured.

Pratt Manhattan Gallery – 2nd Floor, 144 West 14thStreet, NYC

Read about Black Dress at style.com

Swizz it….just a little bit…

Launched several years ago in Jamaica, Swizz Beads are a gorgeous range of handcrafted bracelets and accessories made using semi precious stones, charms and crystal beads. These bracelets have shown up on the wrists of fashionistas around the world and adorn the arms of many Jamaicans – a great way to create a personal style story by wearing multiple bracelets from different collections in a variety of colourways, or several bracelets in the same colour range. 

The Sunsation Collection
The Sunsation Collection

The signature collection, Sunsations, a silk ribbon adorned with sparkling beads that you can either wear as a bracelet, anklet, necklace, or headband, and it comes in several shades and combination of colors; they can also be worn under water, making it the ultimate accessory for a beach or pool party.  Genius!

The Naturelles Collection
The Naturelles Collection

If you’re into crystals and gemstones and their complimentary energies, The Naturelles Collection is for you – beautifully made with stones such as Tiger’s Eye.  One of our favourites is the Buddha Collection, and a funky, fun line for kids in bright, neon colours.

The Buddha Collection
The Buddha Collection
Neon bright collection for kids
Neon bright collection for kids

Tiffany designed a stunning collection to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th Independence anniversary, worn by the Jamaican Olympic team at the opening ceremony and being spotted on the arm of Usain Bolt during the Olympics in London.

Celebrating Jamaica’s 50th

Tiffany’s social consciousness led her to design a collection supporting Breast Cancer Awareness, with a portion of her profits going to both the Jamaican Cancer Society and Swiss Cancer Association.  Her love and passion for her creations is reflected in every piece of jewelry that she makes.

Supporting Breast Cancer
Supporting Breast Cancer

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