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Jade Avant Garde Show – Review

Written by FARAZ ALI Images by ILAI JIKOIONO

Last night saw the launch of the first ever Jade Avant Garde Show, featuring runway shows by Michael Mausio, AZA and RFX, topped off by an in-house competition between the various Jade branches for best Avant Garde beauty look (judged on the basis of hair, nails and makeup skills by the various staff teams). Here are our reviews of the event:

The Organisation

Treated to a brilliant cocktail by the water at the ever fabulous GPH, guests were well watered and fed before being led into the Britannia room (the same that hosted Fiji Fashion Week). Seating was limited to create an intimate, but uncluttered feeling, and the runway, constructed by PBS, was of incredible quality.

What did let the show down were constant technical glitches in sound and video projections, as well as a general lack of attention to detail – the Windows Media Player control panel was in view each time a video was presented. Also, the presenter in the backstage video did not do justice to what was being attempted and tended to seem unprepared. The eventual winner of the Avant Garde Hair and Beauty Competition was wrongly announced, which was a disappointment to all involved. The actual running of the runway shows was well done, with our local models shining. It was such a pleasure to be at a private fashion show with a focus on designer wear as well as high-end beauty techniques.

The judges selected were of a high caliber and perfectly qualified to judge the show.

Lenora Qereqeretabua was a fabulous host, but I did not expect anything less from such a seasoned, articulate and well-presented compere.

The Models

Ordinarily, I would not make mention of the models as the shows are about the designers (and in this case, the skills presented by the Jade staff). However, I must commend our local models for shining, and for showing true fierceness and talent.

The international models were a severe disappointment – speaking to Rachel Fairfax this morning, she exclaimed that they were “pathetic”. They simply lacked the skill, the look and the professionalism of our local young women.

A special mention must go to Mykaela Powell for gracefully recovering after a near fall and completing her walk. Also, absolutely stunning on the runway were Blue de la Mare, Marie Fall and Janey Westbury. All you ladies showed incredible skill. Congratulations.

DSC_5298The Performances

The organisers of the event really made every effort to keep the show vibrant and entertaining between runway presentations by, quite literally, bringing us the best of what Suva had to offer.

Talei and Kat were impeccable as always. Both the opening and closing numbers by Vou were incredibly energetic, and really got the party started. The Oceania Dance Theatre presented an all white rendition of Vogue and it was thoroughly entertaining.

DSC_4791DSC_4808Michael Mausio – Yoga and Sports Wear

I commend the young designer for his courage in attempting a genre that requires a lot of technical skill, and also one that has not been attempted by a Fijian designer before.

The colours were vibrant and the crisscross detailing on some of the women’s tops were a great addition.

However, in yoga and sports wear, practicality is key, and all the long pants were too wide at the ankle for the purpose of the genre.

Also, finishing and proper fitting was an issue – I must note that this may have more to do with the lack of technical skill of the tailor than with the designer himself.

All in all, a great effort! I do hope that he continues to hone in his skills in this area, as there is certainly a lucrative market for it out there.

DSC_4614DSC_4658DSC_4670DSC_4724Michael Mausio – Swimwear and Resort Wear

Again, fantastic colours and colour combinations. The swimsuits were incredibly well fitted, with a strong Pacific essence running through the collection, which was both cohesive and innovative.

The prints were a joy and, I believe, really spoke to what Mausio is all about. While his Fiji Fashion Week 2014 collection did not develop a story or take us on a journey because it was too short – this collection certainly took us a little bit further into what makes this designer incredibly promising and one to watch.

Further education and attention to trends will be beneficial to his growth, and to the growth of his label.

Again, there were slight construction issues, but nevertheless, a fabulous, commercial collection.

DSC_4740DSC_4746DSC_4753DSC_4786AZA by Ali Zulfikar

Presenting his signature Indo-Fijian collection of garments, Ali really out did himself. There were a number of experimental pieces, which I would really like to have seen more of. Well done again.

DSC_4834DSC_4850DSC_4938DSC_4944DSC_4954DSC_5011DSC_5054DSC_5075DSC_5110DSC_5115RFX by Rachel Fairfax

Whilst Fairfax did not design the garments, there were some beautiful evening gowns presented for Fairfax’s soon to open GPH boutique. In this instance, she has taken the role of curator rather than designer. She has assured me that she will soon present a collection of evening gowns designed by her.

DSC_5143DSC_5210DSC_5215DSC_5218DSC_5227Avant Garde Hair Show

Great effort by the Jade team. There is clear evidence that these ladies are well trained and do not lack creativity. It was such a shame that the wrong winner was announced, however, all the participants showed great skill and talent. I dare say, perhaps the Avant Garde theme could have, or should have extended to the designers for a truly magnificent display.

There is no doubt that the show was enjoyable, and I am confident that next year’s will be even better.


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