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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Evolution Launch, the review....

I really wish that band leaders would rethink Club Zen as a location for a band launch as it has to be the worst place ever to showcase costumes to the public! As I predicted, getting into Zen last night, for those not on a V.I.P. list, meant hours of standing outside patiently waiting to be let into the club. And while this might be the norm for the regular Glam Friday patrons, many people showed up last night for the sole purpose of Evolution’s band launch and they too had to stand outside and wait for hours like everyone else!

One would think that the obvious solution to the problem of having regular club patron and Evolution supporters, masqueraders, potential masqueraders, media and those interested in seeing costumes jostling for space and entry to the same location at the same time would be to rent out the club on a specific date for the sole purpose of the band launch. Luckily my wait was not a protracted one, even though there was a line to gain entry to V.I.P. Nevertheless it was a wait that was unnecessary in my opinion as I really did not care to party at Zen, my business was to see and photograph costumes.

We eventually get inside after having our names checked off on a list, at this time it was about 11:30PM, the launch was advertised to start “promptly at 11:00PM”; yeah right! At 11:45 the show began, a bare breasted body painted model enters a plexi-glass box on the stage and fog filled the entire area, it was then I knew we were in for some trouble! Another reason that Zen is so impractical for a launch is that the use of special effects like fog in an enclosed club means that it lingers in the air clouding the costumes in a hazy glow when photographed.

Not to mention the “runway” that the models have to walk on is too short and circles a bar; now the problem of not being able to get good shots of the costumes could be alleviated somewhat if the models STOPPED and POSED for the photographers. But no, they all marched down the runway with solemn, glum, unsmiling faces without one ever stopping and posing so that a photographer could get a great shot. I mean I would be mad if I were forced to wear some of those costumes too, but you are being paid to do a job so in future, would someone instruct the models to smile and act as if they are enjoying themselves and most importantly do not forget to POSE.

With the models racing on and off the stage the whole presentation came to an end in just about half an hour at 12:15! After all the sections were shown, the models came back for a second round, this time showcasing the male costumes. To be honest they look just as much as an afterthought as having them come out in a second showing while all the females were shown FIRST! Really, why bother to show the male costumes at all??? Maybe the idea of having the males in all white or whatever colour is a better one than having them in those hideous costumes, but wait they match the females!!!

As for the costumes, let me preface what I am going to say by letting you all know that for Carnival 2009 with all the new bands coming out and all the promises by band leaders of HOT costumes I am pulling NO punches on my costume reviews; you will be getting it straight, direct and undiluted! My first thought on seeing Evolution costumes… they were UGLY! The first section I thought was a teaser of better to come but it turns out to be the best of the lot. I don’t know what type of screening they had before showing these costumes to the public but anyone who said “ooh that is gorgeous” was LYING! Next time any of you bands want an honest and direct answer to “what do you think of this costume?” call me, I will let you know how it REALLY looks from a masquerader’s point of view and save you the embarrassment of presenting such UGLY costumes to the public. I know you designers probably slaved over the designs, but from what I have seen maybe costume design is not your calling!

And since no one saw the importance of giving out booklets I have no names to assign to the sections, but what does it matter anyway? None of the costumes look as if they fit any theme! So, unto the costumes by colours and order of appearance as pictured here:

Section # 1 Emerald Green – I am guessing the bigger headpiece is frontline, looked nice on initial presentation. Not much bead work or decoration on the bra but nice.

Section #2 blue and silver – For some reason this reminds me of Tales of Benguela (TRIBE circa 2006) I do not like the headpiece and as with many of the costumes this one looks unfinished.

Section #3 – Blue, black and silver – I like this one; like the working on the sides of the belt, I think it is an interesting detail. I also like the headpiece, not too sure I like the use of the black feathers on the back pack for the frontline however.

Section # 4 – Blue and Gold – Despise the headpiece and the few string of beads draped on the butt. Also not feeling the leg and arm pieces, another costume that is lacking something to make it look finished.

Section #5- Pink and Silver – A feathered mess! The feathers sprouting from bra and belt, in person looks worse than the pictures. It actually looks like a feathered butterfly on the crotch!

Section #6 – Turquoise and nude – I want to like this one, really I do especially since it is supposed to represent something from the Garden of Eden (I think) and maybe I like the fringe and hot shorts but I am just not seeing this working in real life. On the models, yes, on the road, NO. Ugh to the jeweled leg warmer foot pieces!

Section #7 – Copper, Gold, Nude formerly known as Lion Tamers – Well, I liked this one when it was Lion Tamers but it does nothing for me a second time around; been there, done that! The belt is cut too high and too wide.

Section # 8 – Fuchia and Green – These colours give me a headache! For the frontline I do like the bra and belt; the bra is a wired/caged bra if the detail is not pronounced in my photographs. The headpiece I do not like at all and the backpack needs more feathers, it looks a bit scrawny to me! The backline is ok, the bra is very well decorated, but why does it seem like several sections have the SAME sprouting headpiece in different colours?

Section #9 – Orange and Yellow- The only thing I like about this is the larger headpiece. The decoration on the bra is hideous, and the eight strands of ROUND beads (when last have you seen that used on a costume!) look too much like one of Evolution’s designs last year.

Section #10 – White and Diamante – What is up with the mini back pack for frontlines? It makes no sense having that bogus kiddie back pack parading around as a frontline, it needs more feathers!! They really skimped on the beads for the belt; it looks no longer than three inches not to mention the BACK of the belt has FEATHERS in lieu of beads. I wonder whose brilliant idea that was seeing as the feathers kick out making it look like a duck’s tail.

Section #11- Pink and Purple – Yawn, boring.

Section #12 – Black and Pink – For a minute there I thought I was looking at a Saloon girl from one of those old time Westerns! Horrible colour combination; it looks tacky and trashy; and what is up with the frilly butt on the backline costume, is Evolution trying to cut costs by using as little beads as possible?

Section #13 – Yellow and Orange (AGAIN) – Lets focus on the belt shall we, it is essentially three rows of beads/chain and TINSEL!!! This has got to be the most unattractive costume I have seen in a long time.

Section #14 – Red and Green – I did not get a good shot of this one from the front; however it is not that bad.. from the front. From the back the entire butt is outside, no beads, just a jeweled belt. Another frontline with another cheap looking backpack! Not to mention I despise the headpiece!

Section #15 – Red and Silver – I am not liking this headpiece at all, really did someone actually o.k. this design? The rest of the costume is some beads draped on a belt and bra with some appliqu├ęs; the end.

Section #16 – Pink and Green – This is the April Fool’s joke of the lot. I am thinking they borrowed a costume from one of those small island Carnivals and tossed it in just to see if we would notice; this is an atrocious mess! I don’t even think the colours in the headpiece matches the colours of the actual costume. And THAT is where all the beads went! A full skirt of beads finally, too bad the costume is so awful.

Something went horribly wrong in the selection of colours used with some colour combinations showing up more than once.It is as if the inspiration of vibrant and interesting choices of 2008 such as tangerine and blue, lime green, teal and purple went out the door.. or maybe the designers of those costumes went out the door as well! In addition the materials used look cheap and they were used very sparingly. Sorry to say when looking at these costumes I am also inclined to side with Soy Forde on her issue of the commercialization of Carnival; you can do bikini mas but do it well nah man! Take a look at Island People, TRIBE, Harts and even what we have seen so far from Kaotic and Spice; Island People try to think "out the box", TRIBE stepped up their costume designs and details, Harts has set a standard of costume quality, Kaotic is looking good and Spice has blown people away with only two costumes!

I am really hoping that when Evolution's website launches we would see some new and improved costumes .. please!

Here are some male costumes for your viewing pleasure:

To see more costumes check out these albums:

Evolution Launch Part 1

Evolution Launch Part 2

Evolution fails to tempt with Temptations.....

Evolution kicked off the Trinidad Carnival 2009 band launch season last night with their presentation “Temptations” at Club Zen. After that showing of costumes Evolution need not have rushed to earn distinction of launching first as the costumes need much more work to compete with the caliber of other costumes I have seen for 2009 thus far!

I am still in shock as to what the designers behind Evolution were thinking putting together these 16 sections; with the exception of a few costumes that are fairly decent, the rest are a blur of tinseled, garishly decorated, stingily beaded, horribly matched colours!! The white costume inexplicably has a tuft of feathers sticking out the butt not to mention one section saw life LAST YEAR at Caribana as “Lion Tamers”; they replicated the exact same costume! This is a huge, huge disappointment following Evolution’s 2008 debut which saw some very attractive costume offerings; the hopes of masqueraders expecting even more spectacular costumes for 2009 have been trampled upon by the new crop of designers.

Regrettably I do not have the names of the sections as curiously there were no booklets being distributed up until the time I left. The costumes I like are the very first section on stage led by Shenelle (the emerald green one) and also the third section on stage (the blue with black.). From there the costumes got progressively worse in design until I saw that last section and words failed me.

Tell me, are you Tempted???

please click on any of the photos for a larger view:

Carnival Nationz Lion Tamers,
Caribana 2007

Maybe Curtis needs to take a page from Caribana, again, and go back to the drawing board, making some changes like what was done with "Treasure Island"; however please do not confuse Trinidad's Carnival with Caribana (where these costumes would fit in nicely actually) Evolution is playing with the big guns now, this is no time for small time mas!

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