The fifth anniversary of Cayman Islands Fashion Week was a whirlwind of celebrity events, including Saturday’s “Fashion Rocks” catwalk show hosted by Caymanian TV actress Grace Gealey and photographer and former model Nigel Barker.
Fashion Week kicked off Thursday night with a welcome dinner and party at Cayman Cabana, attended by Ms. Gealey and her “Empire” co-star Trai Byers, Miss Cayman Tonie Chisholm, designers, stylists and models.
On Friday, Mr. Barker, who signed copies of his best-selling book “Models of Influence” at a champagne reception at NKY Collections in Camana Bay. Later, Mr. Barker, Ms. Gealey, Mr. Byers and Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden attended a special private dinner at Blue Cilantro, and then the “My Style Soiree” at XQs, joining all the designers, participants and organizers of “Fashion Rocks.”
‘Fashion Rocks’ show
An audience of 900 gathered to watch Ms. Gealey and Mr. Barker present “Fashion Rocks” at the Lions Centre on Saturday night. The two-hour show opened with kidswear designers Soopergirl, Supertrash Girls, La Minatura, Anthem of the Ants and Partial to Blue, modeled by Cayman’s finest child models. Next were presentations of 12 designers’ collections, starting with Isy B. and continuing with Afrodesiack, YNC, K Rose, Andre Brown, Nasty Pig, Korto Momulu, Aqua Couture by Roger Gary, Akeel O’Connor, Anthony Franco, Cesar Galindo, NKY Collections and Yumi Katsura.
The event was covered by new television show “Beyond the Red Carpet,” which added to the glamour of the evening. The front row boasted Mr. Byers, Rosa Harris, director of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Jay Ehrhart of the Department of Tourism, Minister Osbourne Bodden and Governor Helen Kilpatrick.
“Grace and Nigel were warm, engaging, entertaining, and funny,” said Ms. Obi. “They kept the excitement building and the laughs coming as they bantered between themselves and with the crowd.”
She added, “Grace Gealey is one of the most inspiring women I’ve met. She is the epitome of the Isy B. woman – stylish, confident, self-assured and audacious in following her dreams – and Nigel Barker was gracious and supportive, and in many ways, like his book, a true model of influence.”
“It was amazing to have so many people come out,” said Cindy Rosan-Jones, organizer of the event. “As of today, we are preparing for 2016. We are giving ourselves an entire year to prepare for the sixth anniversary. We are in post-production and marketing mode and are putting plans in place to target the international cosmopolitan travel market.”
“It was wonderful to see Cayman’s own Grace Gealey host this event, alongside notable international photographer Nigel Barker,” said Ms. Harris. “The show was a great platform for local designers and models, including the adorable opening catwalk session featuring our youth. It was overall a special evening for fashion in the Cayman Islands.”
Ms. McGaw-Lumsden, host of the new “Beyond the Red Carpet” show on Cayman 27, said among the highlights of the interviews she carried out on the red carpet was talking to Ms. Gealey “about the family, her island and the importance of prayer. Additionally, to speak with Nigel on his definition of beauty behind the lens of a camera opened my eyes to another way of defining beauty.”
Isy B.’s collection featured a specially designed fabric in black, white, orange and turquoise chiffon for chic dresses, floaty skirts and pants. A black pencil skirt and gray halter-neck dress were edged with lime, and the collection was completed with a turquoise V-neck cocktail dress, a jumpsuit with black leather obi belt and black-and-white silk jersey dresses with cut-out backs and caped shoulders.
Afrodesiack, designed by Athaliah Samuel, was a swimwear collection in rust, bronze, orange, lace and black net. YNC showed its street sportswear line with T-shirts in red, white, black and yellow, printed with the Cayman map and compass images.
K Rose by Kenzie Rose showed a mostly black collection of shorts, wrap jacket, short skater skirt with cream chiffon underskirt, ruffle textured crop top and skull-printed chiffon top. This was accented with silver and white pieces.
Andre Brown showed one-shoulder and strapless dresses with balloon skirts in black gold, red, petrol blue, raspberry and purple. His petrol blue sheath dresses were either slashed at the waist or with raspberry and cream net inserts.
Nasty Pig showed a briefs and shorts swimwear collection on some of the most honed male bodies.
Korto Momolu’s collection saw silver and pale blue brocade, duck egg and gold chiffon, matt bronze sequin and cream lace fabrics in short cocktail, long sheath and spaghetti strap dresses, belted tunic tops and pencil skirts.
Aqua couture by Roger Gary opened with bright hues on shirts and pants inspired by jockeys, followed by stunning swimwear worn with chiffon skirts and belted coats in jewel-bright shades of orange, lime, purple, raspberry and emerald.
Akeel O’Connor’s collection included a brightly colored modern print mixed with purple, black, gold, yellow, orange, navy and red pieces. Highlights were the black lace palazzo pants, red halter-neck dress and red satin strapless flounced gown.
Anthony Franco prints were stunning on dresses, and for men, tailored suits, some with shorts. There was a beautiful red satin and chiffon ruffled dress, bronze lurex shorts suit, and monochrome patchwork and black sequin sheath gowns.
Cesar Galindo’s fabrics included marbled chiffon in mustard, orange, lime and taupe, and there were gorgeous lemon, pale pink and orange sequin shift dresses. All were worn with multicolored snakeskin strappy sandals.
The “Fashion Rocks” show closed with a dramatic and theatrical collection with Japanese inspiration from Yumi Katsura. There were black brocade printed golden cranes, swathed origami-folded gowns and patchwork capes. Model Monica Walton wore a stunning silver brocade dress with kimono jacket. The finale was a red silk satin dress worn with an enormous red tulle ruffled cape.
“CIFW 2015 has begun to transition into the event that was the original vision when I was recruited in 2010,” said Carlton Jones, one of the show’s stylists, who flew from New York for the event. “It’s great to see local designers like Isy B., Kenzie and others present in preparation for the world stage, and equally as rewarding to produce an event that’s received by a sold-out audience.
“I look forward to this event, managing the challenges that continue to align with producing a movement of this nature, as the growth of the event now has the attention of the global fashion community.”
“The models, starting with the super kids, were all amazing,” said Minister Bodden. “The hosts did a fantastic job as well. All in all, with great attendance, the night was a success.”
“Cayman brought its fashion ‘A’ game to Cayman Fashion Rocks,” said Ms. Obi. “The show was glamorous, entertaining and inspiring – everything an international fashion week should be.
“We love fashion in Cayman, and Cayman Fashion Week has been a platform that allows us to indulge in all things beautiful for the last five years. It has the potential to grow as one of the Caribbean region’s major international fashion platforms, and that’s exciting for me as a Cayman designer.”
“Watching the lineup of 12 beautiful girls wearing my collection, amped up and ready to strut out on stage. I sent up a prayer of thanks at that point. It was an incredible feeling,” said Ms. Obi.
“We also had Nigel Barker come into the Isy B. dressing room in the final moments of fitting the girls to give the models encouragement and a quick pep talk before they hit the runway. I think he r
eally helped to calm any nerves, particularly for the girls who had never walked before, and it was a very generous thing for him to do.”