Bonnie Lee Unleashed for Carnival
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
While clothing design is not her profession, businesswoman Bonnie Lee, who has been handed her own section by Bacchanal Jamaica, is confident that revellers in the 2015 Carnival season will appreciate her costumes.
Lee says she has been a regular Road March participant since 2009 and has always modified her costumes. After deciding to design her own costume for 2014's Road March and seeing the positive response, she was pushed to dabble in commercial costume design with the goal of hosting a section in Bacchanal's parade.
"I wouldn't call myself a designer. I just see things and like them, or think of things, then I put them together on paper or in a physical costume. To some people, costumes are just jewels and feathers put together, but there is so much more to it than that," Lee said.
Lee said that in designing her costume last year, she added elements. She added that she hoped to help other designers raise the bar.
"What I did with my costume design last year stood out to many, and I have already seen where my design has influenced other designers. I am trying to push people to do better. Carnival has always been great, but everybody needs a little push," she said, laughing.
Lee's costume section for 2015's Road March is named Unleashed. The name was inspired by the unity that Carnival fosters.
"It is the only time I know uptown meets downtown. You let down your hair and just have fun with your fellow Jamaicans regardless of where you are from. It's like you are unleashing a part of you and having a good time. My designs have a lot of feathers, and my models will tell you they feel sexy and special wearing my costumes, and that ties in with being unleashed as well," she said.
The Unleashed costume will be part of a private section managed by Lee.
Lee said women often want to wear a particular costume that does not suit their body type. In her section, she will modify the design to fit the wearer.
She will also be introducing a thigh piece, to be worn on one leg, which comprises flowers and jewels. It is made to withstand friction that might be caused by dancing.
"For my front line, for example, I made it a full swimsuit. Not everybody can wear a wire bra, and I am cognisant of that, so I put a lot of thought into this," Lee said.
For the backline of the Unleashed costume, potential revellers will be able to choose from an array of styles.
"The real options come with the back line because you can get a wire bra instead of a soft bra, and a tiara comes standard with the back line. You can even get a big headpiece instead of the tiara," Lee said.