Fashionably late - Collection MoDA's jazzy HER Runway
The Collection MoDA Runway had an enviable reputation. The event expertly mimicked standard behaviour of international fashion houses, like the notorious practice of starting on time. Such behaviours have marked this couture-clad occasion as the premier, most highly anticipated, local fashion event of the year. However, that reputation appears to be at riskas for the past two years, the celebrated runway show opened to a stuttering start.
On Thursday, the double-doors of the ballroom, MoDA's traditional home - the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, - relaxed to the influx of fashionistas and sartorialists over an hour past schedule.
Lateness aside, patrons may have been sated by the show's cozy decor. Gold chairs and chandeliers shone against the mostly black backdrop. Life-size installations donning flamboyant feathered wings were perched atop columns. This was complemented by crystal light ornaments and elegant statues, complete with an 11-piece jazz band - the ambiance was like a high-end lounge. However, Kerry-Anne Clarke explained that the decor was not to make a cozy space. It was, rather, to emulate the essence of a confident, sexy woman in the contemporary space, under the theme 'Her'.
"Her represents a lot of different things. With everything that's going on, the (#metoo) movement... It's just a time when people are talking about women supporting each other, and I thought it was just fitting," founder Kerry-Anne Clarke told The Gleaner.
The spirit of women like the legendary Nina Simone, the legacy of Natalie Cole and the essence of pop music's sassy Lana Del Rey made their way onto the runway stage, through performances by Tessanne Chin and Zia Benjamin, supported by Peter Ashbourne and the E-Park Jazz Band.
The 11-piece band were a sonic centrepiece. Sitting beneath the event's control tower, the musicians tucked snug behind the designated media pit at the end of the runway. From there, with only the tops of their heads peeking above the photographer's, the band filled the room with controlled but still ostentatious jazz music. The sounds and cymbals of the band flurried beautifully and only got better with the accompaniment of Chin.
She opened the shiny, black runway in an elegant black dress to match, and set the tone for the show with a cover of Nina Simone's Feeling Good. Michael Sean Harris later joined her for a duet of Natalie Cole's Orange Coloured Sky.
The jazzy attitude continued when young songstress Zia Benjamin graced the stage for a short rendition of Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful, to open Kaysian Bourke's sensational, summery flowerchild1999 collection. Other memorable designers were Yumi Katsura, whose bold creations included sumo wrestlers pressed into gowns, and Salt Andino, who managed to marry Native American-inspired patterned ponchos with graphic printed leggings.
The Collection MoDA Runway also featured collections by Kahindo, Jae Jolly, TrEfle, Drenna Luna, House of Byfield, Korto Momolu and House of Raphelita.