So they have Stylists now. I’m thrilled. Well, maybe “thrilled” is too strong of a word, but I am happy that they’re moving in the right direction. For too long, many Soca Artistes have ignored their image, getting away with performing in outfits they put together themselves (I’m guessing, because they looked that way). Perhaps it is because of social media, particularly Instagram and the heightened importance of what you’re wearing and who made it, that these artistes (with massive IG followings) are feeling the pressure to step out. Even Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe is making her public appearances and interviews with face fully beaten (with makeup that is) and weave cascading down her shoulders. I wonder if this is a whole new bill she’s racking up, to accompany the Bmobile roaming charges from the other day?
While I say that “thrilled” was a bit of an exaggeration, maybe so too is “Stylist”. While some stars are working with actual stylists, many have struck deals with clothing stores and are exchanging credits for clothing. This is a healthy style symbiosis but it does irk me just a tad. My issue is that while the merchandise is great, advertising on the artistes like they are models, is missing a very important mark. THEY ARE ARTISTS. They are making music. Their image and who they are is so important to their craft and how they relate to their audience. They aren’t mannequins, and their personality, or the image they choose to portray for the season is so extremely significant. It’s the stylist’s job to curate this image. Everyone is more or less looking like a carbon copy of the other; like an ad for Epic Clothing. (Not gonna lie, Epic clothing really GT this Carnival. Kooti’s has been replaced. These hoes ain’t loyal at all.) But maybe I’m asking too much and I should just be happy they’re not in a sweat suit and slippers. This really happened. I saw someone perform in a sweatsuit and slippers. Not calling no name.
Partice has been the crowd favourite in the fashion department. I was supposed to be styling her myself, but that didn’t work out. I had such a cool vision for her though! Maybe next time. She’s such a great canvas with so much of her own bold innate style. She has been in the hands of fashion maker Neil Young for clothes and Dion Samuel and Teion Sealey for Glam. Her hair has been through a rainbow from the beginning of the season til now, where she has seemed to be settling on this gorgeous metallic tone. I love how her makeup looks. She has the best skin so it’s easy. Also, this short hair on her is perfect. I was going to have her hair short as well so I’m all on board for this.
Patrice has even graced the cover of the newspaper to confirm that she was in fact wearing underwear with a dress with hip-high slits. Yes Trinidad, that is news. Trini people so fass and outta place. Front page you know! Anyway, I live for fashion scandals and at least people are talking about clothing, so I’m not too mad about it. Memorable looks for me include this version (below) of her alleged panty-less gown, paying homage to the internet-breaking Fausto Puglisi gown worn by Kendall Jenner in 2016.
I also really liked this Beyonce inspired look for her body. It is such a creative combination of Carnival and fashion, with edgyness, movement and just enough sex. Not a hundred percent sold on the coppery hair, but I think this look was on to something. I wish we saw more of this, because somewhere along the line, she switched up to bedazzled body suits and other body-con silhouettes, much like everyone else. Patrice is a force in Soca, and she does not need to be sharing style categories with anyone. She needs her own lane. Patrice should be the whole bus route.
They call her the Soca Princess, but her style tells the story of a more Goth Glam Soca fairy. Nailah is being styled by Vivre (Chelsea); a fashion brand that has asserted that they are only for the dope. And well, Nailah is pretty dope so…. Yeah.
Nailah’s look, even early in the season, was grabbing the attention of her followers and of other artistes who realised they needed to step up their game. This lil newbie swung on the scene with one hot body, huge personality and a whole new sound that had us all ping-pang-pong-pang-ponging hard. When I styled her it was a dream. She assumes character immediately and gives full heart to a look. This girl loves fashion. Chelsea is definitely having fun with Nailah. The looks are over the top and unique. The critics (i.e. people in Trinidad with Facebook) have been recently unimpressed. Many people find she looks too much older and that the look is too harsh. The biggest topic of conversation, and punchline to many a meme, has been her shifty wigs. Nailah has been changing it up daily from long bohemian platinum hair, to a stick straight fiery red blunt bob to a Raggedy-Anne vibe– she’s a chameleon. Her real hair has been buzzed, and when I spoke to her she said she had intended to be wearing the buzz cut in a bright white platinum hue. I admit, I think that would have been goals.
I definitely respect what her team has been doing, and they’re all really lovely, creative people. They’re having fun, and as one can tell, Nailah is not going to step down from a style risk. If I had to make any edits to her look, it would be to ditch the wigs (cuz while I do love the options, I think her face is so striking and the short cropped hair would show that off even better) and to adjust the colour scheme from these cool metallics to something brighter. She has been wearing a lot of silver and chrome as well as deep tones in her makeup and wardrobe. I think she is so young, vibrant and energetic, that she needs to be in warmer brights. Still, I look forward to seeing her style evolve. So far she is definitely one I keep looking out for. I’m a shameless member of the #NaiArmy.
I admit, I didn’t love the song, save the line “If you from Trinidad but you Bad nah bombaclaat”
However, the video for Ola’s “Bodyline” is definitely one of the best Soca videos of all time. Wait, is it Soca? I don’t actually know, but it’s awesome. The men often cop out when it comes to Style, but I must say that this year they are BRINGING IT. Ola might be my favourite artiste to watch out of all in 2018, and it’s primarily because of the hair. He has undergone such a drastic transformation that is so in character with his song. All artistes need to pay attention to what he did here. THIS is branding. It even changed how I felt about the song. I so admire how he has kept this image throughout his performances, with the zoot-suit inspired looks (a little less zoot, more suit). The double breasted striped jacket won my heart. I bawl “Ola Ola Ola” every time I see him step out.
I have been called a Machelite. The accusations are accurate. Boy is my man. Being objective is often difficult since I have eaten his sweat rice, but I can tell that he genuinely has some style. At a fete recently, my cousin pointed out a male performer in a suit and asked if that was his thing. In Olatunji’s case, the suit is part of the act. For the others, while the suit looks great, I’m not sure if it’s the most practical or appropriate outfit for a soca performance. It’s sort of like when you go to your graduation ball, or a wedding and people are jumping and waving in formal wear… it’s weird. But what do they wear? Well, Machel found his signature Monk-ish aesthetic on the racks of NorBlack NorWhite, with matching longline shirts and sporty trousers. Brilliant. Comfortable, practical and interesting. It works for him with the whole spiritual vibe he’s on. Again, this is styling; committing to the image that brings it all full circle; character, song, video. The men get it. The women are all trying to be young and sexy and are losing the true sense of who they are and what their message is for the current season.
I think Nadia may be my favourite of the female perfomers this year. She’s so freaking adorable, how can you not love her? While she is another one being sponsored by a store, I feel like she still looks like herself. For the most part, she is emphasising her best assets; those being her legs and her great boobs (sorry. But they’re pretty good bosoms) and that’s what clothing should be used for in a technical sense. She could push it a bit, but she’s in the safe zone and I expect that next year she will step it up. Hopefully we get to see more of her personality come out, but for now, she’s in a good place.
I have a soft spot for Destra. Some of the first wines I ever thief was with Destra playing. And don’t even talk about that song “Wha yuh waaaaant? …Wha yuh want with me? I know you like me, but you cah tell me. Is that your story, baby?” I could remember singing it when this boy was playing games with me back in form 4. Actually, I remember singing it when another one was playing games back in last week. Destra has sung the soundtrack to my Carnival coming of age. I am on Team Destra and I want her to win at everything. However, the people advising her on her image, do not feel the same way I do about her winning. It truly makes me sad.
I’m not going to dig into the nitty gritty, but basically this is a sexy, gorgeous woman, and she is being put into costumes. Destra doh need no costume. She is naturally stunning, so we may desist with the theatrics? How about we take a moment to observe Lady Gaga’s make-under? For some people, less is more. Let me see her face. Let me see her curves! She is always squeezed down in some contraption. Belts draw emphasis to whatever they are wrapped around. Let that be a style tip to everyone. Belts hide nothing. Also this pink and purple hair they have on her… NO! stop it. She looks like the mother from Mean Girls who was dying to be young. She is a woman. She doesn’t need hair like My Little Pony. She is too hot for all this. #BringbackBonnie.
Tell me in the comments who is your fave and who you think might be getting dressed in the dark. Also, the NMFV instagram page @no_more_fashion_victims is off its hiatus and has returned! So go follow and like shit like it never left in the first place.