Wed | Aug 23, 2017

‘Touch Of France’ Ends In Style

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 11:00 AMMarcia Rowe
Dewight Peters (left) and Pierre Lemaire.
Designed by Edna Manley College students.
A design by Heather Laine.
A hat designed by Karl Brown.
Eliette Lesuperbe designs.
Designed by Edna Manley College students.
A hat designed by Karl Brown.
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A La Hot Couture fashion show brought the curtains down on Touch of France at the Spanish Court Hotel Valencia Pavilion over the weekend.

Coordinated by Saint International, the fashion showcase saw the bold, the imaginative, the chic, and the glam all nicely packaged in four collections by designers from Guadeloupe and Jamaica, giving a feel of professional elegance to the show.

After the fashionable late start, due to "an emergency", the anxious guests were seated on chairs dressed in black, arranged in four rows on all three sides of the white adorned catwalk. It was now up to the designers and their Saint International models to bring the show to life. And shortly after the guests, led by Ambassador of France to Jamaica Jean-Michel Despax and wife Line Despax were seated, they did.

The parade of creativity began with Jamaican milliner Karl Brown's collection comprising 15 hats in the colours of the French flag - blue, white, and red. Made from straw and other elements of nature, the hats ranged from the modest mundane to the chic glamorous.

This Touch of France-inspired Hatitude collection was made from "anything that I can manipulate" Brown told The Gleaner. This included feathers, beads, and flowers. The Portmore-based designer also shared that he had never been to France but hoped the show could be the stepping stone to do so.

STUDENT DESIGNS

The second of the Jamaican designers were students of the Edna Manley College Design Department. Their designs spanned pastel to vibrant shades in floral as well as plain white, capturing the French connection in plaited head bands. There was a feel of peasantry to the collection.

The last of the three Jamaican designers was Heather Laine. The collection was from her newest and was the only one to boast pants and the contemporary culotte and was made from light, high-quality cotton. All were in the ready-to-wear mode for work, church, and beyond. They, too, were beautifully designed and looked flattering.

However, it was Guadeloupian Eliette Lesuperbe who had the tongues of fashion connoisseurs wagging. The 17-piece collection was not only chic, but very bold. Her designs were mainly straight lines with a seductive edge, while emanating elegance. With a sprinkling of other colours, the pieces mainly reflected the colours of the French flag. The predominant fabrics were lace and silk. The standouts were the revealing black lace gown and the short white asymmetric tail short dress, both worn with confidence by the models.

Lesuperbe, who spoke through a translator, has no favourite. She loves all the pieces from the collection. It was not her first visit to Jamaica. She said that she likes the welcome, the people, and she feels at home.

On the other hand, no one sells Saint like its founder, Dewight Peters, and so he should. Therefore, it was not surprising that he used the platform to introduce his newest batch of protegÈs. Each one, confident and poised, walked the runway in dazzling designers.

Pierre Lemaire, one of the organisers of Touch of France 2016, described the three-day event as "interesting, tiring, challenging, but rewarding."

The surprise acts scheduled to close the second day, Thursday, did not materialise due to unforeseen delays. But thanks to one of Jamaica's musical icons, Ibo Cooper, the day still ended on a high-quality musical note.

The last Touch of France was held in 2013 and the organisers are hoping not to make the gap so wide as they plan to make it a biannual show. With this set timeframe, the partners and sponsors will be better able to plan for it.