on the catwalk: Designer Peter Elias escorts Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar along the runway during “Masquerade” at Hotel Normandie, St Ann’s. The Prime Minister’s outfit was designed by Claudia Pegus. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

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Kamla: Fashion industry a major $$ player for T&T

Italian ‘Vogue’ magazine to showcase local designers

By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

The creative sector is more than just “fashionably important” as a key diversification industry for the country’s more sustainable future, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Sunday. 

“The fashion industry and creative sectors of our country have the potential to assume an unprecedented level of leadership at home and abroad. … We have significant evidence that points to you becoming an increasingly strong partner in how our economy will be sustained in the years to come,” Persad-Bissessar said to the audience at Masquerade, a fashion show hosted by CreativeTT at the Normandie Hotel in St Ann’s.

The fashion industry, she said, employs more than 11,000 people either directly or indirectly and generates in excess of $25 million annually.

“CreativeTT’s partnership with Vogue Italia quite convincingly delivers the point that our sector still has tremendous potential to be explored. And I am sure that our nation’s fashion talent being featured in the Spring/Summer issue of Vogue Italia in May 2014 will present an excellent platform for that potential,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The show was the first major project organised by the newly formed State company, which has oversight of the industry, to show off the country’s creative design talents to a team from Vogue Italia, in Trinidad this week to shoot a multi-page spread for the magazine’s Spring/Summer issue in May. 

The iconic fashion magazine is one of the most influential in the industry from its base in the Italian style capital Milan, and is referred to as the best edition of Vogue. 

It is known for frequently pushing established fashion ideals, notably with its all-black models issue in July 2008, which went on to be the highest selling issue ever.  

Another first for the magazine will be its upcoming shoot in Trinidad, going on this week: Trinidad will be first Caribbean island ever used as a feature location for the magazine, senior fashion editor Giulio Martinelli told the Express.

“Some islands can be very flat; Trinidad has so much to offer—mountains, the beach, a little bit of South America, a little bit of Africa and India. For the shoot I was looking for somewhere that was a little bit hot, with beautiful beaches and beautiful people and I found that here,” he said. 

Setting up the shoot took plenty planning—almost six months preparation—and was facilitated on the Trinidad side by noted fashion photographer Calvin French, who has close ties to Vogue Italia. 

Martinelli said there will be local involvement on the shoots.

The show featured a mix of established designers and some recent graduates from the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Fashion programme. 

On show were Adrian Foster, Christian Boucaud, Claudia Pegus CLD (who outfitted the Prime Minister), Heather Jones, James Hackett, J Madison, Meiling, Noor, Peter Elias and Rhion Romany. 

Popular Carnival bands D’Krewe; Fantasy; Island People; K2K Alliance; Passion Carnival; Tribe; and Yuma also showed off their latest costumes for 2014.

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