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Monday, August 18, 2008

Down to Earth

Island People held the launch of their 2009 Carnival presentation “Heaven on Earth” last night at the Oval. We were told to look to the sky and had seen all the professional shots of the calendar, leaked last week, a leak that reverberated around the world as never was an email forwarded SO fast! I was anticipating models flying in the air or some unique acrobatic entry coming skywards so I was not surprised to see cranes upon arrival at the Oval. I was surprised however that our entry to the venue consisted of climbing a flight or stairs to be greeted by violin players and “fog” simulating floating in clouds, nice effect but you had to be extra cautions descending the stairs when the actual staircase was enveloped in fog!!

Several bloggers were at the launch, so you can look forward to their review, the first one I met was Carnival Jumbie and we were both curious as to the fact that the “runaway” looked as it if was an elongated truck bed decorated with cotton.. could that mean the models were going to be flying in from the sky and landing on the stage? It was even more interesting to see the cranes in the background as we could not figure out how this would all come together.

*click on the photos for a super sized view

Backstage I met Afro Chic who had already done a round of taking close up shots of the costumes. And while I got set up with the laptop the hubby got some lovely candid shots of the models. Because I was so busy uploading photos I did not get a chance to see many of the costumes before they came onstage, I did see Anya Ayoung Chee in a blue costume that looked like Heavenly Skies, when I asked her if the frontline had changed she informed me that it was an individual.

Soon it was time for the show to begin, my cue was models being loaded into boxes attached to cranes, well we no longer had to guess how they were making their entry. I took up position near the “stage”…not two minutes passed before we, the other photographers, were told to move. So, we walked down the length of the stage and stood to the front waiting for the box with models to descend.

It was somewhat of a delayed process to actually get the descent started but eventually it did and next thing you know police and these dancers dressed in white with wings started pushing everyone back from the front and side of the stage, which started causing confusion, what was going on?

I made my way to the side but other photographers held their ground until they realized the stage was MOVING!! It extended out into a long runway when the models landed, with them on it, and when they were done their showing of costumes it retracted. This was all done with beeping warning alarms (as if a truck is reversing) and generated A LOT of heat from the motors used to operate it . Needless to say the photographers were NOT pleased having to run back and forth to get pics or with the fact that process turned the show into an hour long production.

I will admit that I too got fed up of the heat, moving back every time the stage extended and the seemingly endless wait for costumes as the models slowly performed their routine, dancing and twirling down the stage.

Now unto the costumes!! Island People always manages to bring the "haute couture" in bikini mas with little details that really incorporate high fashion into Carnival For the most part they have always been innovative, creative, thinking outside the box which may not always appeal to everyone, however you cannot deny their ingenious appeal.

The thing is for ME personally, the costumes are more fashion than function in some cases. While I absolutely adore how the strapless bra and jeweled panties look I think that a specific type of woman will look best in those designs; beauty queens and supermodels perhaps? The average woman, to me, would have to sacrifice some comfort (plastic bra straps anyone?) or proper fitting bras (over a C cup in strapless) and stockings (how would you wear them with those dangerously low cut panties) to wear some of those costumes, not withstanding I am sure the appeal of the costume is exactly how the size 2 model looks in it! I am just saying when you choose the barely there panty and strapless bra do not be mad at Island People when you don't like how the costume looks on you come February!!

To be honest nothing could live up in reality to the stylized, glossy photographs of Wyatt’s in the calendar that was leaked before the launch; this proved to diminish the “wow” factor of the costumes (since we all saw the perfected version before) and expectations were running high pre launch; post launch my favourite costumes remain the same and the ones that did nothing for me in the calendar remain the same as well, with one or two surprises.

Top Choices!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Afrodisiac! The beading on the costume is fabulous and the headpiece is just gorgeous; I like the whole African vibe you get just by looking at the costume and the accessories are lovely as well. Great bra support in this section as it features a proper fitting bra (no strapless or cut out sides)This section also features the best (and quite possibly the only one, to hold that title) male costume of all the sections. From the calendar many people did not like this costume and were questioning why I liked it so much, but I guess I can see past the stylized, airbrushed photos to pick up on elements in the costumes that I loved beyond the excellent photography!

Rays of Light is my second favorite, the bra is very well embellished, looks like it provides good support and I like the little jewel detail that falls below the bra and ties around the back. Thankfully the back line comes with a belt option and smaller headpiece, while the jeweled underwear and larger headpiece is the frontline option.

The bright pink of Touch is immediately attractive, I also like the headpiece and the fabric used to decorate the bra and belt. Pity this did not have a frontline option. The male costume for this section, albeit is pretty sad.

I have to point out the fact o f Sonia Mack blatantly reusing the costume worn by Miss Universe contestant Danielle Jones when she represented Trinidad and Tobago;the Humming Bird wings, headpiece (with additional plumage) and foot pieces live today as Paradisus Frontline/Individual.. for shame, Carnival aficionados do NOT miss a thing!

In spite of that gaffe I do like Paradisus, and the several options and variations the costume offers. There are two backline options and a very interesting frontline option with a geometric bikini detail with a skirted bustle; I like it!

The "nice, BUT" costumes
This is not a popular choice among others but I do like Natural Mystic! I really like the little hat/headpiece details of the backline costumes, I think it is interesting and different; the male costume is also one of the better ones. The only caveat for me it too reminiscent of other neutral tone costumes done by Island People in the past.

I adore the Individual costume for Heavenly Skies, all the elements coming together, feathered skirt, monokini and headpiece work here. I also like the actual bikini detail on the backline with the attachments connecting bra to bikini and it seems as if this options comes with a cute back pack.. I could do without the solitary boa headpiece however and I do not like the wings on the frontline/individual costume; they are too wide and Halloweenish in design.

Chocolate and Caramel, failed to live up to the hype of the calendar shots to me in person. I was happy to see that the strapless bra now has straps and they are both nice costumes I am just not floored by this one.

Ocean Whispers is very, very skimpy (who I am kidding they all are) and actually looks as if it is lacking beads! However I like the frontline/collar option I think it adds the added oomph to the costume, without the collar the costume is nothing special

Angel Falls, surprisingly I like this one in person, especially the jeweled belt of the frontline, very pretty though I would hate to have someone tug and burst that while on the road, it looks fragile. I also like the little back pack options, but it needs more feathers! What kills this costume and hence it does not make the top list is the beads used on the costume; they look like plastic curtain beads! The female backline costume does not look so bad with the beads but it really cheapens the male costume.

Dreams gets high billing because I do like the colour purple and the frontline for this one with the jeweled belt and the nice backpack.. I think it can stand to do with a decent headpiece for the frontline however. The backline is standard pretty bikini with large feathered headpiece but it is outstanding on colour alone.

The “hmmmm” costumes…..
Midnight Bloom, like the headpiece and nothing else. The material of the bra looks like an embroidered fabric but what puts the “hmmmm” in this costume is the tutu aka Ballerina on crack!! Like how is that design supposed to translate for women with hips and booty? I don’t like the dark colours either or the long trail of black tulle attached to one of the models.

Love, love, love…. There is little to love in Love as I think the translation is beyond cheesy with the belt and bras of the costumes festooned in hearts. The backline bra is cute with the heart detail that forms with the beading but that belt is not; I do not like the cutout hearts! The frontline caged bra, I do not know what to say. Some cage bras just do not work, case in point here as the model had her hands on her breasts, I hazard to guess that the large heart shaped gems did not provide ample nipple coverage when the body was in motion. The heart shaped back pack, cheesey! However I prefer the other back pack with the twirly details and both frontlines left lots of ass outside though the models carried it off well with super toned butts!

Last but not least is Carnival; I did not like it in the Calender (when everyone thought I was crazy for thinking that) and I still do not like it! It is colourful, I will give you that and the frontline's fabric backpack is interesting with the steel pan detail on the back, I even like the fact that the scarf loops through the belt. However that is about all the appeal it has to me. I do not like the fabric tied around the breasts and coming from the neck down to the waist of the frontline, that style will not flatter everyone unless precise measurements are taken or a fitting. The backline costumes are sorely disappointing, especially with that scarf headpiece, I hope that is not a real option for masqueraders!

Don't forget to check out my BACKSTAGE PICS and LAUNCH PICS (just click the highlighted links).

Danielle Jones photo

More Island People...

Video of the opening segment with Anya Ayoung Chee arriving on stage in the Individual costume for Heavenly Skies:

Photos of the actual launch can be found in the album Island People Heaven and Earth Launch; enjoy all 249 pics( p.s. some might still be uploading as I type this so keep checking for more).

CLICK ON PHOTOS for Super Sized View

Heavenly Skies


Ocean Whispers

Chocolate and Caramel

Midnight Bloom



Angel Falls


Ray of Light

Natural Mystic


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