Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ali Lue Shines at Island Couture

It was approximately four years ago when I met a bubbly spirit by the name of Ali Lue. She was then trying to get her foot through the door with a piece she had designed for Saint International's Avant-Garde competition; new and up-and-coming designers created a high-fashion piece based on a theme, in hopes of winning a relatively large sum of cash. It is the sort of thing every designer dreams of winning.
History would have it that Ali didn't win, even though, in my estimation, hers was the best piece there. What they say about good things emerging from bad happenings is true- Ali and I have been friends ever since.
Today, she is still bubbly, and humble as ever, always publicly gracious for the least amount of help she receives; a breath of fresh air in these times of divas. It's this amicable spirit that draws one to her, but even without it, Ali would still stand-out in a sea of imitators simply because of her talent which was on full display at the monthly staging of Jamaica Fashion Cluster's Island Couture. The show is staged on the last Saturday evening of each month, in hopes of displaying the huge talents we have here in fashion design, fashion styling and modeling. It's shows like these Ali is glad for as she is able to display her work to possible buyers, as well as ably market her line to potential local and international clients.
In trying to reach these clients, Ali is constantly trying to challenge herself and innovate her line. It may seem an odd choice for a couturier to do something as seemingly blasé as tees, however, for Ali, it was the next logical step. You might say couture can't be worn every-day, especially here in our type of climate, right? Well, yes and no. With Ali's "couture t-shirts", one probably can wear couture every day. In keeping the sensibilities of her more artistic, high-concept dresses and gowns, Ali designs her t-shirts with 3-D patterns, prints and styles. "Fashion for me is like having different personalities", she says. "It's the way to express yourself". And express herself she did at last Saturday's show. Styled by fellow friend, Michael Atkinson, the collection was colourful, bright and full of funk. The models were all decked out in fishnet stockings, colourful totes, and accessories courtesy of Bianca Bartley's Peace Is of Bianca line.
She credits God as the source of all inspiration for her designs, but also acknowledges the rhythm of music as an artistic source for her work. No surprise there, as ever since Michael Jackson passed away, Ali's Facebook status seem to be devoted to expressing her shock and sadness at his unfortunate end.
Not one to lament on the negative, Ali truly has faith in, and is excited by the fashion climate here in Jamaica. "Designers here are so talented, we can compete in an international market", she openly admits, something often not seen by the very people who live here and call themselves fashionistas.
So what are the future plans for the fashion and somtime-interior designer? To have only the fashionable wear her designs, of course; that is exactly the type of person she caters to, after all- people who are not afraid to lead stylishly, or be the centre of attention.
Having started designing at 7 years, Ali decided at the age of 12, that she wanted to be a fashion designer. After attending the International Fine Arts College in Florida, she returned here and became the designer for Cedella Marley’s Tuff Gong Clothing Line (now Catch A Fire Clothing). In 2006, she decided to start her own line- an "elegant ,whimsical, funky and avant-garde mixture of moods, colour and fabric".
If Ali Lue has her way, her line will be sold in only the most exclusive boutiques here and internationally, and of course, worn by the most gorgeous celebrities. With talent like hers, those dreams aren't far-fetched, they are an expectation.

Ali Lue can be reached by
Email: alilue1@yahoo.com

Facebook: Ali Lue Couture

and by Phone: 876-361-2421

CFW 2009: Claudia Pegus

Taking inspiration from First Lady Michelle Obama, Trinidadian designer, Claudia Pegus closed the show on Caribbean Fashion Week.
With models elegantly clad in flirty knee-length dresses made from two-toned shiny tafetta (a Pegus staple), the collection juxtaposed Mrs. Obama's styling sensibilities (the pearls, the collar, the gloves) along with the Caribbean aesthetics (the colours, the cut, the fit).
The appropriate styling ably elevated the collection, and the runway presentation wasn't without its theatrics with models re-enacting the Obama's waltz to Etta James' "At Last" at the inaugural ball.
Pegus is a consummate designer and couturière at heart, and even in a collection that sought to take cues from one of fashion's simplest icons, there were still pieces, namely a floor-length black gown with a fur shoulder wrap, that manged to incite awe.

Images from SociaLingua used by permission

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gareth Pugh

Currently living and working in Paris, Gareth Pugh is an English fashion designer. Having started at the age of 14 designing costumes for the English National Youth Theatre, Pugh started his fashion education at City of Sunderland College and finished his degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins in 2003. His graduation collection consisted of balloons used to accentuate the limbs and joints of models, a technique that later became his signature.
Pugh is a regular fixture at the London Fashion Week, where his every collection has attracted intense media attention, celebrity attendance and critical laud. His famous clients and supporters include Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, Beyonce, Róisín Murphy, Kylie Minogue and Lady GaGa.
Pugh is the latest collection in what is a long line of highly visionary, avant-garde designers including John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Viktor&Rolf. His pieces are said to be autobiographical, taking reference from Britain's extreme club scene. Known for distorting and even hiding the human body beyond recognition, Pugh's black and white motif indicates his themes of ligntness and darkness.
Although not yet confimed, it has been reported that Pugh has been signed by LVMH to design Dior Homme menswear, replacing Kris Van Assche.

Model of the Week!

Sean O'Pry

Born: Kennesaw, Georgia

Year: 1989

Represented by: VNY Management (New York)

Walked for: Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy, Moschino

Campaigns include: Bottega Veneta, Fendi, D2, American Eagle, Lacoste, Gianfranco Ferre

Factoid: Listed as the 8th most successful male model of all time by Forbes in 2008, O'Pry was discovered in 2006 by Nolé Marin, fashion-editor of ELLE, from his MySpace prom photos.

Style Icon of the Week!

André 3000, born André Lauren Benjamin, wears many hats- rapper, father, singer, actor,
songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer.
Born in 1975, Benjamin grew up in the South (Atlanta, GA) and is best known for his work with the ground-breaking, acclaimed, multi-Grammy award-winning rap duo, Outkast.
But to be a true icon, mere talent isn't enough. One must chart a new course, which is why Benjamin makes the cut. His musical talent is astounding, but so to is his wardrobe which can really be seen as an evolution or re-interpretation of his own personal style culled from his many interests and penchant for English-inspired vintage clothing.
The hats are ever-present, of course, (so too are the bowties
and denim) but it is his combination of fabrics, colors and patterns that set him apart. Perhaps it was his understanding of the possibility of music to incorporate various and divergent styles that allowed this high school violinist to become a superstar and redefine the sound and image of hip-hop from the ground up. Having worked with the likes of Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and Norah Jones, Benjamin is a lover of all things eclectic. Laced with charisma, his style is all his own. With the launch of his own line Benjamin Bixby, André has now added fashion designer to his name. Reflecting his love of vintage clothing and his own superior personal style, the line comes with the approval of Miss Anna Wintour herself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stella McCartney

Showcased at a soiree held at her L.A. store, the Resort collection from Stella McCartney was largely comprised of pieces that could actually be worn to a soiree, or cocktail party, or night out on the town. There were plenty of relaxed pieces (over-large blouses-dresses, striped pull-overs), and 15% of the collection used 100% organic fibres, but for the most part, the collection maintained a cool sexiness through-out.

Prada 2010 Resort Collection

Miuccia Prada seem to revel in doing things that reasonably shouldn't or can't be done. Her 2010 Resort collection is a prime example- adorned with bows either at the waist, neckline and elbow, the pieces were boldly adorned with late 20's/early 30's wallpaper-like prints. And who would pair a handkerchief-print bikini brief with a button-down and have it all work? Prada, that's who.