The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
Streaming Multimedia : Video Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

(VIDEO) The Miss Universe 2009 Bahamas Fashion Showcase
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Aug 21, 2009 - 10:26:58 PM

Email this article
 Mobile friendly page
Nassau, The Bahamas - On August 12th, The Bahamas Weekly News Team attended the Miss Universe Bahamas' Fashion Showcase held at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on Cable Beach. We are pleased to bring you this video coverage.

You will see 84 beautiful contestants parading down the catwalk to the music of Bahamian band, Visage. The Bahamian designs of Raquel Turnquest-Garcia of Rachel's Boutique; Basheva Eve of La Maison de Besh of Grand Bahama;  and Sabrina Francis of Se'B Fashion Designing are showcased. Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza and Charles Sealy, who both emceed the show are wearing designs by Brynda Knowles.

Handbags seen in the show are by Harl Taylor.

After the show we spoke to
the Minister of State for Finance, Hon. Zhivargo Laing. He gives short remarks on the benefits of hosting such a prestigious pageant.

Watch this segment (and other Miss U coverage) on GBI TOURISM TV, channel 56 locally on Cable Bahamas in the Northern Bahamas.

The Bahamas Weekly would like to thank our sponsors who made this trip possible, SkyBahamas, and Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.

Ms Whachell's outfit was provided by Bandolera Fashions and Access Ocean jewelry.

More on the featured Bahamian Designers:

All About Eve

By Precision Staff Writer 

       Before her designs were featured on the catwalk she was cutting her teeth – literally and figuratively – at her grandmother’s side, transforming simple fabrics into one of a kind creations. 

       Basheva Eve’s passion for designing fashions started early. While other little girls were playing with dolls or hosting tea parties, the then seven-year-old gravitated towards an unusual hobby – learning how to sew. 

       “I would sit at my grandmother’s side as she sewed garments for family and friends. I had [cut] up fabrics way before that, but it was around this time that I actually started working on garments that people would wear,” she recalls. “It was fun to do. I didn’t have to think hard about doing it – just map styles out on paper and cut them out.” 

       Six years later, at the age of 13, Eve started creating clothes for her mom and some of her closest friends. Although she still designs for them, today the fashion designer's clientele has evolved. Her client roster is filled with fashion royalty, Hollywood movie stars and beauty queens – all clamoring for her swanky, show-stopping designs. 

       Yet, when it comes to divulging the identity of her A-list clients, Eve remains tight-lipped on the subject. With a Mona Lisa smile, she says her clients are fashionistas who make "an undeniable impression."

       As the head of her own La Maison De Besh line, Eve has garnered a reputation as a designer whose line is synonymous with quality and style. Eve's creations have become her calling card – her clean, colourful lines her trademark. 

       As her high-fashion designs take center stage during the Miss Universe Fashion Show, making an unforgettable impression is Eve's number one priority. 

       After the lights have dimmed, the sizzling catwalk has simmered down and the audience has disbursed, Eve says she hopes those in attendance remember one thing.

       “I want them to say ‘Wow ! That’s something new…I did not know that could be done, '” she says. “I want them to say , ‘I want to own one of those designs.'” 

       For her Miss Universe line, vibrant colours – mostly palettes found in nature – will be the order of the day.

       “My inspiration came from the Bahamian fabric and the undercurrent of my country’s wonderful cultural lifestyle,” Eve confides. “I’ll be using predominate ly fabrics printed by Androsia or Bahamas Hand Prints, [highlighted] by iridescent pink, crochet roses and braided Bahamian palm leaf. The colours come from shades found in nature, such as papaya, blues, gold, greens and yellow ."  

   The fashion designer believe s colour should "caress and uplift one’s complexion.” In fact, it's her bold and beautiful, award-winning designs that have earned her the respect of her industry peers and the adoration of fans eager to possess one of her coveted apparels

       From reigning beauty queens to the prime minister's daughter, Eve has designed for the who’s who of Bahamian society. Society’s upper crust seeks out her eye catching gowns and elegant haute couture creations. It's a following that Eve has meticulously built over the years in capturing a number of noteworthy fashion awards.

       In 1981, she won the Designer of the Year title. In 1993, she took home the Quality Fabrics Designer of the Year Award for best wedding attire. Four years later, she won six of seven categories in the Quality Fabrics Designer of the Year competition. Additionally, Eve is also a past winner of the Quality Fabrics Fashion Committee’s, Fashion Designer of The Bahamas award. She also helped to attire the stars of the 1997 film, “Zeus and Roxanne.”

       Throughout her career, Eve's goal has been to design clothes that inspire people to enjoy their inner beauty, while simultaneously transforming their image into an elegant, engaging one. 

       “I believe we all have core beauty traits which define who we are,” she says. “For a woman, it is beauty, confidence and power, but ultimate femininity is felt in a suit or an evening gown. I believe a man’s personal masculinity is what ignites style in his clothes.”

         According to Eve, The Bahamas truly has a viable, niche apparel industry. Small though it may be, she says, "it's just as good as any other market."

Grand Bahama designer showcased to the world via the Miss Universe Pageant

Sabrina Francis

SeB’s Fashion Is Worth Watching

Sabrina Francis’ designs take to the stage

By Precision Staff Writer

Sabrina Francis is a sophisticated, fashion-forward designer who creates accessible and glamorous collections that appeal to fashion savvy, street smart women.

Known for her simple and understated, yet sexy and feminine designs, Francis’ fashions have graced the pages of local magazines like Elan and Goombay . Not bad for a designer who entered the fashion world at the age of 15, without any formal training.

“I worked from my bedroom, sewing clothes for my girlfriends, my family and myself,” says Francis, a designer of 35 years. “People saw everything we wore and I was able to build a clientele.”

Seeing her potential, Francis’ father, Bruce – a building contractor – built SeB’s Fashion, the designer’s shop located on Crawford Street in Oakesfield.

Francis relies on raw talent and loads of ideas to woo her clientele. Before striking out on her own, she worked alongside noted designers Jeff St John and Mavis Benneby – the latter, now based in New York. “This is where I got my experience sewing and designing,” Francis notes.

The designer also worked at Got The Hots – an upscale cothing store – carrying out alterations on their men’s and ladies’ lines. Here, Francis learnt how to finesse customers, skills she would put to use at her own establishment.

Today, SeB’s Fashion creates everything in ladies’ fashion – from elaborate christening gowns to stunning wedding dresses to haute couture. However, the store’s primary business is weddings. Wedding gowns start at $1,500, evening gowns $400 and up and couture as low as $600. “I don’t go over the top with prices. That’s why I’m not rich yet,” quipped Francis. “I try to stick with what I know the customer can afford.”

Although she’s a self-professed “practical” designer, Francis’ style is always changing. “Because of that you can’t always look at an outfit and say that Sabrina did this,” she explains. “Even with my sketches I’ll design something and then while I’m working on the outfit, the vision changes to something else.”

Expect Francis’ line for the Miss Universe fashion show to range from day wear, straight up to bridal wear. Like the other two designers for this event, Francis has created 30 pieces. Half will feature the Androsia fabric, the other half Bahama Hand Print.

“You’ll see a few swimsuits but I really like to work with evening gowns,” says Francis. “The Androsia and the Bahamas Hand Print are very simple and casual types of fabrics but you can add and dress them up. It will be very interesting to see how evening gowns come together out of those fabrics.”

Although the fashion show is not a competition, Francis – who will be the last designer to showcase her styles – says it’s certainly starting to feel like one. She’s anxious, to say the least, about putting her best foot forward. “I feel added pressure being the last one. It’s the anticipation of what’s to be expected,” she adds. “You hope that at the end of the day whatever you put out there is something that people will really be excited about and really love. You want the girls to love it and have fun wearing it.”

Francis, who confessed that she never liked the idea of competing, says her desgins for the fashion show are not going to be “over-the-top,” or too flamboyant. “They’re designs that could easily hit the streets,” she says. “Something marketable that the average woman would feel comfortable putting on.”

She’s considers landing a spot on the Miss Universe fashion show roster to be quite a coupe.

“This is something many designers have been looking forward to, something big like this. It’s a privilege to be involved,” says Francis. “I want the international arena to know that Bahamians are professionals in the fashion world. Our designs are simple, very ‘islandy.’ Yet, we are unique in our designs and our fabrics.”

Rachel Turnquest-Garcia

Drawn by a Passion for Fashion

By Precision Staff Writer

  It’s a huge challenge: create high fashion designs out of local, tropical fabrics – more suited for resort wear.

  Yet, designer Rachel Turnquest-Garcia is more than up to the task.

  For the Miss Universe Fashion Show , Rachel’s Boutique will rock the runway with 30 designs – half made from Androsia (a batik fabric made through a wax and dye process), the other half from Bahama Hand Print material (a hand printed fabric made from silkscreen).

  “It’s a challenge and you want to be able to put your best foot forward,” says the fashion phenomenon who has been a major player in The Bahamas’ fashion world for more than 40 years.

  Rachel’s secret weapon: her daughter, Raquel.

  “I needed some of her fresh ideas with some of the designs,” says Turnquest-Garcia with a smile.

  Fresh from a fashion design course in Milan, Raquel Turnquest – who has a Bachelor’s in fashion merchandising and a Master’s in business administration – is brimming over with ideas.

  Here’s how the mother-daughter duo works.

  “She does all the sewing and cutting. I do all the sketching,” the younger Turnquest explains. “If she has an idea I put it down on paper so we can actually confirm where we want all of the seams to go. Do we want invisible zippers put in or not, do we want a lace-up back – that kind of thing.”

  The Turnquests learned early on that the two local fabrics chosen for the Miss Universe Fashion show lent themselves to different styles.

  “The Androsia is more hip, funky and chic. I’m thinking [about creating] something short, something form-fitting. It is such a versatile fabric to work with because they also have a stretch material which too, would give you a nice, fitted format,” Turnquest explains.

  “The Bahama Hand Print fabric lends itself to resort wear type clothing. The white background behind the majority of their fabrics gives you a more subdued, refined, elegant look as opposed to the Androsia, which is bright, vibrant and more festive. It almost screams Junkanoo.”

  Turnquest has one or two tricks up her sleeves.

  She says she just might overlay the Bahama Hand Print with some computer embroidery.

  “After everything is over we plan to feature some of the outfits on our website, rachelsonlineboutique.com ,” she confides. “At the end of the day we want the world to see that we are more than sun, sand and sea.”

  In bringing the Miss Universe line to life, the Turnquests had to first overcome the color challenge, which meant putting together an eye popping, jaw dropping color palette – one that would be visually pleasing. It was no easy feat, but they got it done.

  From her unassuming shop on Wulff Road (blink and you just might drive right past it), Turnquest-Garcia not only creates unique and compelling designs, but also some of fashion’s little treasures, like her signature, special occasion hats.

  On any given Saturday, a steady stream of customers pass through the store, where rows of wide-brimmed, luxurious hats adorn the walls and rolls of colorful fabrics nestle together at the back of the store. Would-be brides and anxious seniors thumb through magazines hungry for design ideas.

  Turnquest-Garcia has plenty of them ; after all, her success didn’t come overnight.

  The Abaco-born designer was introduced to needlework, by an aunt, at the tender age of 10. Her first “customers” were the dolls she designed trendy pants and tops for.

  The would-be designer moved to Nassau in her 20s. She worked at Mademoiselle on Bay Street sewing men’s shorts and ladies’ dresses before taking a job at Norman Solomon’s Factory as a men’s shirt operator. From there Turnquest-Garcia went to the Nassau Shirt Factory, working as a sewing operator, designing men’s shirts for many of the local stores around town.

  The demand for her dressmaking skills prompted her to start designing full-time.

  In 1967 she opened her clothing store, Rachel’s Boutique, specializing in custom-made, bridal haute couture and other wedding apparel. Here, she performs general sewing, fashion design consultancy and millinery work with her one-of-a-kind hat designs (a trade she learnt from a course in London).

  In the early 1980s Turnquest-Garcia began putting on her own weekly pool-side fashion shows at hotels on the Cable Beach strip and on Paradise Island, mainly for the tourists.

  “Any fashion show without Rachel’s Designs was incomplete,” she jokes.

  In 1986, the trailblazing designer formed the garment manufacturing company, Garment Unlimited, which specializes in industrial and school uniforms, T-shirts and sportswear.

  At the dawn on the 90s, Rachel’s Boutique’s was making most of its money from weddings. At her peak, she designed up to 14 wedding dresses a month.

  “We had to burn the midnight oil,” she reminisces. “ Everybody wanted something different.”

  Prom business took off for the boutique in early 2000, becoming a second main source of revenue, in addition to special designs for high-profile functions.

  In 2001, Turnquest Garcia was awarded the Living Legends Award for manufacturing by the Zonta Club of New Providence. That same year , she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for fashion designing and manufacturing from the Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and the Bahamas Manufacturers Agriculture and Fisheries Association (BMAFA).

Although a custom-made wedding gown could run you into $1,200 and a Rachel-designed, special-occasion hat around $450, Turnquest-Garcia is quick to note that she doesn’t design for the money.

  “It’s the satisfaction of me being able to create something different. That’s where I get my pleasure,” she says. “I like to look at a piece of work and be pleased with it first and then have my clients be over the moon.”

  With no client per se for this Miss Universe Fashion Show, Turnquest-Garcia has only one mission: “We want to blow them away.”

Brynda Knowles

Brynda’s Haute Couture by Brynda Knowles lights the catwalk

By Precision Staff Writer

Daring and creative, master fashion designer Brynda Knowles knows how to mix it up.

Bold and loud, yet elegant in design, her work reflects her infectious spirit.

For more than 25 years, Knowles has been at the forefront of the Bahamian fashion arena. In fact, the four-time Bahamian Designer of the Year winner has a local and international following.

She has created designs for the Caribbean Cultural Committee (Caribana), the Miss Black Quebec Pageant, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show and the National Black Arts Festival, among others.

As co-host of the Fashion Showcase, Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza, will be adorned in three of Knowles’ exquisite designs.

  “This isn’t something that happens everyday,” she says. “I’m happy that the pageant finally made it to The Bahamas.” 

Knowles credits her inspiration to move into fashion to fashion icon, the late Yves Saint Laurent. She developed her Haute Couture and Prêt-a-porter collections. 

  “You could say I was conceived on pins and needles,” Knowles says with a laugh. “I was born to do this.”

In the late 70s, she graduated from La Salle College in Montreal, Canada. There, she did her apprenticeship under Canadian fashion giants, John Warden and Leo Chevalier.

From La Salle, Knowles moved on to the University of Quebec in Montreal where she studied French, marketing and tourism.

The training paid off.

Knowles traveled extensively with the Ministry of Tourism introducing the world to Bahamian fashions. Her travels took her to the United States, Canada, Martinique, St. Martin, The Dominican Republic and Bermuda.

“I was promoting my Brynda for Androsia line back then,” she recalls. “It was exciting.”

Knowles is known for her love of flambouyant color. It’s a trademark that’s made her a hit in the local theatrical arena.

“These colours represent the fiery nature of The Bahamian people. That’s why I love using them,” she explains. “I also prefer natural fabrics. I absolutely love the exotic appeal of cottons, linens and silks.”

In creating her lines, she draws on a wide range of European, Asian and South American fabrics.  While many of her creations are made from batik and screen printed fabrics, quilting is a trademark for Knowles, particularly with jackets. She also enjoys the couturier embellishments of trims, top stitching and other intricate finishes.

With regards to style, Knowles’ collections vary from prêt-a-porter (ready-to-wear) to haute couture (for men and women). She prefers the intricate lines and details of the latter.

“Exclusive designs, exclusive models, exclusive fabrics – that’s the standard I have always maintained,” she said.

Although fashion designing is her first love, Knowles is also a make-up artist by profession. She spent 13 years at The Beauty Spot as a makeup artist and consultant for Yves Saint Laurent. Though she officially retired in 2008, she still freelances for the company.

An award winning designer, Knowles has claimed the Designer of the Year award four consecutive times and has earned four DANSA awards for make-up and costumes for her theatrical work.

Last year, she was the recipient of Zonta's Living Legends Award in the field of fashion.  

Presently, she is the designer for Brynda's Haute Couture and President of The Fashion Group – a marketing and consulting company. Additionally, Knowles serves as the senior fashion consultant at Mode Iles Ltd, the producers of Islands of The World Fashion Week. 

She has one son, Samurai, an international makeup artist for Christian Dior.

The Bahamas Weekly thanks our sponsors who made this coverage possible



Bookmark and Share

© Copyright 2009 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Receive our Top Stories

Preview | Powered by CommandBlast

Latest Headlines
Bahamian filmmaker releases "Atlas Calling" as an urgent call to protect the ocean
A Mouth Full: Sweet Treats at Mortimer's Candies
Breakfast with A Mouth Full
A Mouth Full goes Diving For Conch!
A Mouth Full Kicks-off 4th Season!