The Collection MoDA

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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The anticipation for MoDA was as usual at fever pitch. Patrons arrived styled to the nines to be seen. And seen they were! From a wannabe Beyoncé who kept guests ducking throughout cocktails (let's just say that those potentially retina-damaging spikes were not to be tempted) to a facsimile of Kim K's sleek bob, no shrinking violets were present. Those who could were nevertheless granted free access... while the requisite $5K contribution was enforced on others.

The meet, greet and pay period might have gone on longer than anticipated — correction: it was wayyy too long — but stepping into the opulence of the Tai-Flora Luxe-styled ballroom ought to have soothed frazzled nerves. It was jaw-dropping fab! Truth be told, with each staging of MoDA the Tai Flora team has sought to raise the design-narrative bar. This year's modern celestial theme included seated winged metal woven mannequins suspended over the stage with crystal tiles cut in the shapes of roses. It was, however, the over-the-top opulence of the gold-rimmed Dior chairs, gold wave textured backdrop and gold chandeliers that kept our eyes roving. Bravo!

The opening included a live jazz band under the baton of Peter Ashbourne and memorable notes from Season 5 winner of NBC's The Voice Tessanne Chin and Michael Sean Harris, assistant director of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Delightful enough! Nina Simone's Feeling Good lifted spirits but what the audience wanted was the fashion show.

The evening's standouts were Korto Momolu, a MoDA fave who many agreed presented her best collection to date. Clearly au fait with the lifestyle of Kerry-Ann Clarke's devotees, Momolu introduced gorgeous appliqué resort wear, frills and flounces, her now signature sequins and a few easy-to-wear au courant ethnic pieces — ready for the Christmas wardrobe. The show's most poignant moment came from Kaysian Bourke for FlowerChild 1999 whose collection paid homage to the late designer and stylist Dexter Pottinger. Hers was a presentation of muted patterns, striped chiffon, embellished tweed and tassels that relied heavily on impeccable styling.

Trèfle designer Kristen Frazer from the British Virgin Islands introduced a collection that was a veritable breath of fresh air. Entirely reliant on her ability to cut and execute unpretentious wardrobe staples for the affluent set, we reckon her island continues to attract. Jae Jolly's San Basilio collection could have been delivered en bloc to a myriad of The Rock's influentials. Indeed, the oversize straw hats have been placed on every woman's must-have list. The collection was inspired by Afro-Caribbeanism — in particular the Palenqueras, the colourfully dressed Afro-Colombian women selling fruits in the main squares of Cartagena, Colombia, and direct descendants of the world's first free African slaves.

From Paulette Cleghorn for design house Yumi Katsura (known for their showstopping gowns and dresses) came three-dimensional art pop designs and easy-breezy dusk-to-dawn dresses.

Other highlights included drennaLUNA's strong bridal collection. House of Byfield piqued interest with his well-cut suits albeit in non-traditional threads, and nicely-fitted dresses.

The honour of closing the show was left to David Rolle for House of Raphelita who surprised many with the colour black playing such a dominant role artfully interspersed with glorious sequins.

Although many applauded the Balmain-like army finale others felt that The Collection MoDA 2018 was nevertheless underwhelming.

SO's take is this: the bar has unquestionably been raised, and we look forward to many more MoDA moments. Be prepared to pay more!

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