Fash­ion IS Free­dom for HOT Cou­ture on May 6

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

Dee Lundy-Charles

The HOT Cou­ture pro­duc­tion team headed by Mae Sab­bagh Wayne and Adrian Augier is work­ing fever­ishly on plans for the May 6th event which prom­ises to excel it­self as a unique fash­ion spec­ta­cle at this year’s Jazz and Arts Fes­ti­val.

Once again the John­sons Cen­tre in Rod­ney Bay will be the venue for a glit­ter­ing pro­duc­tion, the de­tails of which are grad­u­ally emerg­ing, as builders con­struct the set, the sound crew mixes the back­ing track, de­sign­ers fi­nalise their col­lec­tions and HOT Cou­ture buzz heats up. Al­ready, ac­tiv­ity be­hind the scenes has amped up with hours of model re­hearsals tak­ing place for the last two weeks. Many familiar faces from 2014 have re­turned, cit­ing HOT Cou­ture as a piv­otal mo­ment in their bud­ding cat­walk ca­reers, and a new crop of tal­ent is join­ing the cast this year.

The HOT Cou­ture theme was in­spired by pro­ducer Mae Sab­bagh Wayne’s own re­la­tion­ship with fash­ion as an ex­pres­sion of the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural zeit­geist of gen­er­a­tions. “Fash­ion and free­dom—or the lack of free­dom—are in­sep­a­ra­ble,” stated Wayne at the me­dia launch for the show ear­lier this month.

“We ex­press our­selves via the lan­guage of fash­ion. Fash­ion is his­tory. Fash­ion is Free­dom! Fash­ion was closely as­so­ci­ated with the hip­pie move­ment; with the war in Viet­nam; with Women’s Lib, with Punk Rock, and with the [deca­dent] 80s. And fash­ion is at the heart of how we live to­day.”

Given the theme, this year’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Cuba is a stroke of timely ge­nius, as our Caribbean neigh­bour makes strides in re­con­nect­ing with the west­ern po­lit­i­cal ma­chine af­ter fifty years of cold war and em­bargo. Arte Y Moda is a stunning vis­ual show by a col­lec­tive of Cuban de­sign­ers who take their in­spi­ra­tion from art and trans­form it into fash­ion, which is “per­formed” on the run­way in an avant garde blend of dance and move­ment.

The con­cept was first high­lighted lo­cally in SHE Caribbean, af­ter Mae Sab­bagh Wayne ex­pe­ri­enced Arte Y Moda’s par­tic­i­pa­tion at a fash­ion event in The Ba­hamas. The show is de­scribed on cubaab­so­lutely.com as “very Cuban, imag­i­na­tive, dif­fer­ent, home­spun. Cuban artists are paired with Cuban de­sign­ers and the work . . . rep­re­sents a syn­the­sis of the artist’s work in the de­sign of the out­fits. The ef­fect can be spec­tac­u­lar . . .”

And if re­bel­lion is in­trin­sic in the strug­gle for free­dom, Saint Lu­cia HOT Cou­ture’s fea­tured designer cer­tainly rep­re­sents on the fash­ion front. The Caribbean’s fash­ion rebel and high priest­ess of Trini mas, Anya Ayoung-Chee will show a spe­cially de­signed col­lec­tion on the run­way at the John­sons Cen­tre. She is also on the cover of the cur­rent SHE Caribbean Mag­a­zine with a fas­ci­nat­ing ar­ti­cle about her jour­ney thus far in the de­sign in­dus­try.

Ayoung-Chee hails from Trinidad and Tobago via New York City. She was ed­u­cated at both Cen­tral Saint Martins in Lon­don and Par­sons New School for De­sign in NYC. Her ca­reer as a designer be­gan when she rep­re­sented Trinidad and Tobago in the Miss Uni­verse Pageant in 2008, and her love af­fair with flow­ing sil­hou­ettes and bold prints would cat­a­pult her into a world of de­sign. She launched her first women’s la­bel, PI­LAR, in May 2009 and in 2010 fol­lowed with a lin­gerie line named ANYA DE ROGUE, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

In 2011, Anya was cast as the un­der­dog in Sea­son 9 of Life­time Tele­vi­sion’s Project Run­way. She emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter show­ing a stunning Spring/Sum­mer 2012 Col­lec­tion named TOBAGO LOVE at Mercedes Benz Fash­ion Week in New York, win­ning the en­tire com­pe­ti­tion and the ‘Fan Favourite’ prize.

Dur­ing the past three years she has done much for her coun­try, Trinidad and Tobago. In 2012 she was ap­pointed Tourism Am­bas­sador and vis­ited many parts of the world as a spokesper­son for the twin is­land des­ti­na­tion. Po­si­tion­ing her­self as a ma­jor player in Trinidad’s Car­ni­val in­dus­try, 2014 was her third year designing, host­ing events, pro­duc­ing fash­ion shows and launch­ing prod­ucts cu­rated for T&T’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of mas.

With a designer line up in­clud­ing lo­cal vet­er­ans Queen Esther, Shazi Chalon and Lyn Bris­tol, along with crowd favourites like Fiona Comp­ton and Taribba Do Nasci­mento, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers from Guyana, Guade­loupe, Trinidad and Turkey, it’s all sys­tems go for Saint Lu­cia HOT Cou­ture on May 6th at the John­sons Cen­tre.

Tick­ets are avail­able on­line at www.stlu­ci­a­jazz.org and via out­lets of The Cell in Vieux Fort, Cas­tries and Bay Walk Mall, Rod­ney Bay. For be­hind the scenes news and up­dates check SHE Caribbean’s Face­book page.

Anya Ayoung-Chee who is fea­tured in the lat­est edi­tion of SHE Caribbean mag­a­zine will show a spe­cially de­signed col­lec­tion on the run­way at the

John­sons Cen­tre.

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