The majestic Halse Hall Great House will form the backdrop for the debut of the Saint International-created Clarendon Fashion Escape tonight in the southern parish.
According to Deiwght Peters, founder and CEO of Saint International (Jamaica) Limited, the event is an effort to highlight the positives of his birth parish and to present an image that combats the stereotypical message that the parish is crime-infested and unprogressive. Peters hastened to add that Clarendon is home to some of the country's most venerable educational institutions, such as Glenmuir High School (his alma mater), Clarendon College, and Vere Technical.
"Clarendonians are ambitious, hard-working and stylish people. Saint is excited at this prestigious initiative," Peters explained.
The event also attempts to engage the support of prominent Clarendonians. Custos rotulorum and prominent businessman, William 'Billy' Shagoury, will be the official patron of the event. Other business leaders, including Trevor Dunkley of Trevor Dunkley & Company Limited, are sponsors of the event.
Head of the Clarendon police, Superintendent Dayton Henry, welcomes the initiative as a refreshing adjustment to the image profile of the parish.
"I am happy that this event will be taking place in Clarendon as it sends the right signal to the rest of Jamaica, that Clarendon is open for business. The police and residents have worked closely together to make the parish safer and we have had a reduction in crime rates. Now we need to get the story out," said Henry.
"The event will be a spectacle like never seen on the south coast," promises Peters. Saint has assembled some of its brightest stars, such as Chantel Lee, Orneila Edwards, Jotasha Turnbull and Orlando Lopez, to strut the runways at the great house in fashions from Jamaica's leading designers, including Neah-Lis, Nish, Kaydian Nicely, Franchesto Christie, and celebrated menswear designer Dexter Huxtable for Spokes apparel.
Interestingly, the event will serve as a homecoming for Huxtable, who is also a born Clarendonian. This will mark the first time Huxtable will be showcasing his brand in Clarendon.
In keeping with the normal approach of incorporating famous heritage sites into its productions, Saint International will be creating another first. The event is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. Finalists of the Fashion Face Of The Caribbean contest will also make appearances.
Tickets are $1,200 general admission, with a $2,000 VIP charge. There is a special and limited student ticket series for $800.
According to Jamaicatravelandculture.com, "The history of Halse Hall began during the Spanish occupation of Jamaica when the estate was named 'Hato de Buena Vista' (Ranch of the beautiful view)."
When Jamaica fell to the British in 1670, the property was gifted to Thomas Halse, a British soldier who fought the Spanish. Halse built Halse Hall on top of the original Spanish foundations.
He died in 1702, leaving the great house to his son, Francis Sadler Halse. Halse Jr added a second storey to the house and an elaborate staircase.
In 1969, Halse Hall was purchased by Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica.