By Gerald V. Paul
Caressed by waterfront breezes off Lake Ontario at Queen’s Quay West’s HTO Park, the Cuttin’ Style Caribbean Gala Fashion Show and Dinner “just killed it”, as fashionistas say.
The Joan Pierre and Associates and PANAMANIA production was presented by CIBC on Saturday.
Don Shipley, creative director of PANAMANIA for arts, culture and festivals, proved to be prophetic earlier when he said the show was “guaranteed to be unique, bold, transformational, and memorable.”
Cuttin’ Style and its expression of culture and fashion is one of 28 commissioned works and amongst a series of unique visual art components within the 35-day arts and culture celebration which coincides with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
Pierre thanked Caribbean Airlines as a major sponsor of the gala, adding, “I thought that this festival would be a perfect vehicle to showcase the sophistication and flair of the Caribbean’s top designers, bringing their marvelous creations to the attention of our Pan American hemisphere and ultimately the rest of the world.”
Pierre said she was happy to present the work of “these fabulous Caribbean designers” like Trinidad’s Claudia Pegus, Zadd & Eastman and Simply Garnett.
Also shown were The Cloth by Robert Young, CLD by Charu Lochan Dass, designs by Shaun Griffith Perez, Noreen Philips, Couturiere by Noreen Philips and Delia Alleyne by Delia Alleyne.
The celebrity models showed outfits ranging from elegant to casual to beach wear.
Among the models were Tammi Sutherland, reporter and anchor for City News; Howard Green, stunt actor / film producer; Gwyn Chapman, TV broadcaster; Andrew Hunter, former pro basketball player; Patricia Tatham, Olympian, and Jason Faulknor, former international basketball player.
Anya Ayoung-Chee, a Caribbean designer from Trinidad and Tobago, one of the show’s co-hosts, delighted the audience with the sounds of the Caribbean with her nuance and cadence.
Ayoung-Chee – cast as the underdog in season nine of Lifetime Television’s Project Runway and who showed a stunning spring / summer collection called Tobago Love at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York – continues to contribute to the creative arts by founding a project in Trinidad entitled HOME, a space for Caribbean creative people to work and collaborate.
Pierre praised Ayoung-Chee for her work with the Tallman Foundation, an organization that focuses on bringing art and music education to underprivileged youth in Trinidad.