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Focus on Fashion Last Updated: Jun 2, 2017 - 6:32:58 PM


Bahamian fashion designer showcases in China
By Fusion IMC
Jun 2, 2017 - 2:40:02 PM

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Award-Winning Designer Theodore Elyett Wows with Junkanoo-Themed Fashion Collection in Asia


Nassau, Bahamas - More than 300 spectators sat expectantly in the Grand Ballroom of the world famous Kerry Hotel in Beijing, China. Every eye glued to the runway, award-winning Bahamian designer Theodore Elyett, a fashion maestro, brilliantly translated the magic and splendor of Junkanoo into a 10-piece avant garde collection themed, “Junkanoo: Bahamian Opulence” for a crowd of diplomats, business executives, fashion and film industry consultants and Bahamians studying in China.

Elyett was invited to participate in The Cultural Fashion Event organized by Ellen Barron, a noted Chinese designer and the Embassy of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in Beijing. The dual fashion showcase held Friday May 26th, 2017 was designed to highlight the beauty of Asian and Bahamian culture through fashion.

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“I was introduced to Theodore’s work by The Bahamas Embassy here in China,” stated Barron. “After viewing his portfolio, I knew that our design aesthetic would be a great match, so I invited him to be a guest designer in the fashion showcase.”

Five Bahamian models strutted each piece of Elyett’s 10-piece wearable art collection down the runway. Oversized fringe silhouettes reminiscent of the fringe style popular in junkanoo costumes of the 1970’s were juxtaposed with bursts of colorful textiles. Embellished with jewels and touches of opulent ostrich feathers, the junkanoo-themed collection was punctuated with iconic Bahamian hits including “Funky Nassau” and “Goombay Medley” performed live by Bahamian entertainer Fred Munnings Jr.

The ensemble rocked the house and brought the crowd to life as they witnessed Elyett’s first showcase in Asia in his 20-year career.

“When I received the invitation from Ambassador Gomez and Ellen Barron to showcase in China, I knew immediately that I wanted to present a collection which highlighted our rich culture,” stated Elyett. “During my research I fell in love with the aesthetic of old junkanoo and immediately got to work. I wanted to show that Junkanoo could also be wearable and beautiful when translated into garments.”

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“I created a collection of ten pieces that highlighted some of the most exciting elements of our Junkanoo celebration. Bold colours, stripes, a play of textures, fluid silhouettes, a lot of sparkle, shine and drama,” added Elyett. “I am extremely thankful to Ellen and the Embassy for the opportunity to showcase in China. I am also grateful to Equity Bank & Trust Bahamas Ltd., for funding the entire project. The event was such a success that both Ellen and I have agreed to work together again in the very near future.”

Elyett’s collection inspired Éclat Beijing Hotel, a top luxury boutique hotel in Beijing, to extend an invitation for him to shoot the entire collection on their property, an invitation Elyett accepted.

"Theodore’s fashion showcase in Beijing was outstanding,” stated Kaouther Ghariani, Éclat Beijing Business Development Manager. “We loved the colors, the freshness and the glamorous looks. His design aesthetic matches the style and sophistication that we aim for with our Éclat properties. We knew right away when we saw the collection that we wanted to organize a photo shoot and it turned out to be such a success.”

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A team of five Bahamian models traveled with Elyett for the cultural presentation. Ashley Hamilton, Erika Adderley and Shanae Strachan, all based in Nassau were joined by NYC based model Kamela Forbes, and Grand Bahama based model Tomii Culmer. Licensed pro-makeup artist Nestaea Sealy also accompanied the team.

The Cultural Fashion Event was just one in a series of events hosted by The Bahamas Embassy in China to commemorate 20 years of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The event included a charitable element and raised more than $33,000 to benefit the New Day Foster Home in China which provides care and funding for medical operations for mentally and physically disabled Chinese youth.

“The Embassy exists to create opportunities for all Bahamians and to provide them with opportunities for exposure,” stated His Excellency Ambassador Andy Gomez, Bahamas Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. “Theodore and his team represented The Bahamas at the highest level.”

Both China and The Bahamas continue to work together to create new and exciting cultural exchanges and people-to-people interactions in an effort to bolster innovative economic activity.

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