A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

The title of this piece is from a song by a North London band called The Kinks – and it’s way before your time, dear readers (1966, to be precise). ‘Twas a satirical little number about the fancy, peacock males of Carnaby Street, during the Swinging Sixties when British fashion was simply it. 

Carnaby Street, London W1, was a "fashion mecca" in the Swinging Sixties. (Photo: tumblr.com)
Carnaby Street, London W1, was a “fashion mecca” in the Swinging Sixties. (Photo: tumblr.com)

In the past few days I have been dabbling a little in the fashion scene. Last night was the sensational annual Met Gala in New York, where actors, singers and assorted celebrities sailed along the red carpet – some looking a little gawky in short skirts, others swish in yards of beautiful tulle and satin. The men looked simply dapper and delightful. My Facebook Fashion Police (male and female) sharpened their pencils (and their nails) as I posted two albums full of photos online. This is a regular ritual with me and a group of Facebook friends. We have fun. Sometimes our critiques are more devastating than Joan Rivers; at other times we are in raptures. And sometimes we just say “meh.”

Members of the Alpha Boys' Band played sweetly.
Members of the Alpha Boys’ Band played sweetly.

The Canadian Women’s Club of Jamaica had a fashion show of its own on Sunday evening, as the sun went down on another warm and rainless day. All the Jamaican fashionistas were out, and the front rows was all taken by the time I arrived. Cocktails courtesy of J. Wray and his Nephew were flowing, and a group of musicians from Alpha Boys’ School played melodiously. The catwalk was laid out on the lawn of the Canadian High Commissioner’s Residence, and decorated with butterflies and flowers (the theme was “Spring Into Fashion.” Although in our part of the world it simply gets hotter in the spring, the thought was there and it was a pretty setting).

Canadian High Commissioner Robert Ready welcomed us, then allowed the ladies to take over...
Canadian High Commissioner Robert Ready welcomed us, then allowed the ladies to take over…

After Canadian High Commissioner Robert Ready and his wife Joanne had welcomed us, the amusing compère, Joan McDonald (a former Miss World and international model herself), started proceedings. I cannot identify all the models in the photos, nor the designers, I am afraid. I am not such a hot fashion commentator as I thought I was, and was too busy snapping away to think. It was all moving rather fast, as daylight faded. But I do know that all the outfits (including hats and jewelry, too) were designed and made in Jamaica – by designers Symonne Natasha Gordon, Ayanna Dixon, Heather Laine for Elan, Courtney Washington, Cinderella Hats and Megan Allison Jewelry. I have all their contact numbers if you need them.

Pretty summer style (yes, you've guessed it - we don't have winter styles…)
Pretty summer style (yes, you’ve guessed it – we don’t have winter styles…)

Not only were the designs vibrant (there were even one or two dresses I could have worn); the models (all women – and girls) were lovely. Blogger, journalist, CUSO volunteer and runner Kate Chappell was stately and tall. Ms. Barbara Grant was in perfect command of the catwalk.

Ms. Barbara Grant tips her (Cinderella) hat.
Ms. Barbara Grant tips her (Cinderella) hat.

There was a lovely mother and daughter combo – Dominique and Abigail Coke – and two young girls drafted in at the last minute practiced that hand-on-hip move with the utmost cool. Joline Whiteman, the wife of a former Government minister, was most elegant.

The lovely Ms. Hargitay, Miss Jamaica World 2013. Yes, she turned heads.
The lovely Ms. Hargitay, Miss Jamaica World 2013. Yes, she turned heads.

We were all somewhat in awe of our current Miss Jamaica World, Gina Hargitay, who was tall, slender, beautiful and with an effortless smile. In a change of pace, the Honorary Consul of Ecuador to Jamaica, Clelia Barreto De Hunter, modeled (and danced in) the national costume of her country, while we clapped along to the warm Latin rhythm.

Mother and daughter, Abigail and Dominique Coke.
Mother and daughter, Abigail and Dominique Coke.

Yes, Jamaicans love what they used to call “style and fashion.” The good part was that, unlike the models on the catwalks of New York, London, Paris and Milan, our models actually smiled. No scowls for them.

Kate Chappell was a graceful model.
Kate Chappell was a graceful model.

A note on the Canadian Women’s Club of Jamaica: Active for over sixty years, the Club is much more than a social organization. It  does a great deal of outreach – “a lot of little things,” as Mrs. Ready said – but little things add up to a lot, don’t they. Among other organizations, it has provided support and materials of various kinds to the Victim Support Unit, several children’s homes, the Trench Town Reading Centre, Children First, the Jamaica Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and many others. The Club also organized a Christmas party for children in the Burn Unit of the Bustamante Children’s Hospital.

Joline Whiteman modeling an outfit I would actually rather love to wear myself. Lovely jewel colors.
Joline Whiteman modeling an outfit I would actually rather love to wear myself. Lovely jewel colors.

This event was a fund-raiser to send a group of 25 Jamaican schoolchildren from under-privileged backgrounds, all members of the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ), for a “Dream Tour” in Canada this August. This will be an amazing and inspiring opportunity for them.  The NYOJ, a non-profit organization, is only five years old and seeks to empower youth and turn them away from anti-social behavior through music. If you would like to support this worthy venture, take a look at the crowd-funding website and contribute: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/canada-dream-tour-nyoj-2014. Or contact the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica directly…

So here’s to the followers of fashion – amateurs like me, and those who really take it seriously!

The lovely Ms. Hargitay.
The lovely Ms. Hargitay.
Honorary Consul Clelia Barreto De Hunter expressing the culture of Ecuador.
Honorary Consul Clelia Barreto De Hunter expressing the culture of Ecuador.
A splendid Cinderella hat and lovely jewelry too.
A splendid Cinderella hat and lovely jewelry too.

 

 


10 thoughts on “A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

    1. You are welcome! Yes, it was a great event (seems like a long time ago now…) The Kinks were a great little band, real Londoners… Thanks Elizabeth, and do keep in touch!

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  1. Reblogged this on Jamaican Journal and commented:
    Good morning! I am reblogging this lovely recap of the Canadian Women’s Club Spring into Fashion Show that took place Sunday evening. Thanks for writing about it and attending Emma. I must add that while I did stay upright, as was my goal, I was severely challenged by the fact that my own shoes (of course) broke right before the show and I had to borrow some beautiful but too high and too big shoes from a fellow model. So I could hardly walk! Nonetheless, we had a strong turnout and raised some money which will go towards the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica’s trip to Canada this summer. Enjoy your day!

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    1. Thanks for the reblog, Kate! You did not look severely challenged at all. I thought you walked very gracefully, with a lovely smile. It was a good turnout. I hope as many of the National Youth Orchestra as possible will be able to go to Canada this summer. I should probably share that crowd-funding link some more.

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    1. Well, it was fun and in a good cause. You see your fellow countrymen and women are doing some good things in Jamaica! I love the Kinks too, such typical Londoners. Their song “Waterloo Sunset” is my favorite – a wave of nostalgia comes over me when I hear it! 🙂

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