On the nights of April the 27th and 28th, local Barbadians and socialites mingled with Ebony Magazine’s Style Director, Marielle Bobo and were wooed by not only by the voice of Barbadian songstress Ria Borman but also by the high fashion exhibited at the first ever Barbados International Fashion Festival. It was a charity event held to provide funds for the programme “Adopt-a-Designer” where selected local Barbadian designers Alexis Campbell, Andrew Harris and Kesia Estwick, were adopted by the featured designers to be mentored; to help broaden their horizons within the international world of fashion. It was hosted by BB Fashion Week™, where local models walked the runway to the beats provided by Dj Kirk Brown in creations from two renowned international designers; California-based Filippino designer Oliver Tolentio and designer Romero Bryan out of London. Both designers made debut appearances here in Barbados and each has a very unique style and distinctive look, evident in their runway couture designs.
The first night featured Oliver Tolentio, known as the Valentino of the Philippines who had his designs featured in American Next Top Model All–Stars Cycle and many fashion weeks too many to mention. He has been designing for 20 years and his experience was evident as his couture pieces were complex in design and not construction as they moved freely with the natural rhythm of a woman’s body. Oliver’s designs portrayed femininity, elegance and well-detailed couture pieces. The inspiration for his collection came from the beauty of nature, colours and the tropics; thus showcased an eye-catching collection that was filled with vibrant colours and flowers. The beauty of Oliver Tolentio’s work is that all of his designs are wearable and not restricted to the catwalk alone. There was a wide variety of breath-taking dresses and well-tailored pants and skirt suits all appropriate for every woman. This is mainly because Oliver believes that a woman doesn’t have to show a lot of skin to be sexy, but rather feel comfortable and confident in what she wears. What made Oliver Tolentio’s collection more memorable, was the fact that they are eco-friendly and made from natural fibers including those of the pineapple, the abaca plant and raw silk cocoon. For this event, Oliver had international model Tutay Maristela flown in for the show and it was well worth it as the crowd enjoyed her every time she stepped on the runway. The Oliver Tolentio collection was very vast, so here are a few favorites:
On the second night, if you hadn’t heard of Romero Bryan, you definitely were in for a shocker. Ever since 2005 when he rocketed onto the fashion world, his success has grown rapidly with the likes of many A-list celebrities donning his designs. On this night, Romero did not disappoint as he engulfed the catwalk with many avant-garde designs made out of chiffon, leather, velvet, satin . Romero designs are very fashion-forward as he manipulated these fabrics along with basic sewing essentials like zippers, elastic, tassels, fringe, sequins and shoulder pads, and yes you read that right shoulder pads to produce creations that moved with fluidity on the catwalk. Romero drew his inspiration for this collection from the energy of the youth at London College of Fashion where he teaches and his love to create cutting-edge designs. Thus, a very futuristic collection was presented. It was filled with daring flirtatious dresses with frills, plunging necklines and cut-outs for the brave at heart and fashionistas. However, the collection also well-balanced as it displayed dreamy floor length, wide-legged rompers and elegant gowns, especially the signature £200,000 dress gown worn by model Sedia Jackman. From Romero Bryan’s collection a few attention-getting pieces and favorites:
The photos published aren’t claimed my Radical Trendsetters but of local photographers; Oliver Tolentino Collection was taken by BajanMovement and Romero Bryan Collection was taken by Patient Productions.