Art Fashion 2018, Speaks Up!

We were proud to be sitting in the audience last night, right in the street, as the unique fashion show unfolded on the longest runway, in San Nicholas.

The spectacle blended Art, Fashion & Awareness, on issues of Abuse of every kind, Mental Health, Body Shaming, Oppression, the sad fate of Venezuela, Bullying and a few more that made an appearance on hand-carried signs, as a form of popular protest at the head of each segment.

Every designer presented his take on the awareness campaign, combined with their line of fashion. Singer Lily Rogers and dramatic interpreter Freddy Montoya, contributed to breaks between sets.

Wow. Sorry you missed, if you were not there.

It was an evening filled with goose bumps thanks to the vision by Tito Bolivar, the drive of Diana Croes and the execution a genius team: QueenAnne Bergen and Zilha Wever, assisted by Aishly Tromp, and more than 60 volunteers, with funds secured by Alice Van Romondt’s blessed connections and the Kate Spade organization.

Thank you minister Otmar Oduber for getting that ball rolling three years ago.

The 3rd Edition of ARTFASHION, was incredible.

Solo by Ronchi de Cuba: The idea of translating the photography of Damilice Mansur and transferring it to fabric, was totally striking. Ronchi’s Kibrahacha dress series was as drop-dead-gorgeous at his Chapel of Alto Vista dress series. The designer is a national treasure and after 30 years of doing fashion in Aruba, he is as fresh and creative as he was on day one, and his models were totally dazzling, worthy of a standing ovation!!

Elisa Lejuez: The fabric designer turned multidisciplinary artist and art teacher reinvented herself by presenting a new line of leather bags. The slim, black leather sling bags, worn across the chest were combined with the already famous signature silk scarves. Each bag was ornamented in color, with an original abstract pattern. Super functional and friendly to wear.

Maria Magdalena Gonzalez; This segment Un Grito De Esperanza, was very striking and charged with emotion as the models wore Venezuelan flag caftans, against a backdrop of violent clashes between the despotic Venezuelan regime and its suffering citizens. The segment ended by a rousing rendition of Alma Llanera, Venezuela’s much loved joropo. The audience was left with tear in their eyes.

Elle Juelz: New to me. She presented a line of badass, urban, woman’s clothing, with chicks ready to do battle on the runway. We loved her choice of monochrome khaki/olive green.

Kate Spade: So, you are asking yourself what Kate Spade is doing in the mix? When the news about the designer’s tragic death reached Aruba, Art Fashion 2018 spoke up, and connected with the brand about a fashion show, dedicated to Mental Illness awareness. The rest is history, as the brand lent its name, product and cash to the undertaking.  The Speak Up show produced Thursday night paid tribute to the designer who Left A Little Sparkle Everywhere She Went.

Aldo Shoes: Combined so well with all outfits, sandals, and heels with many dozens of styles on the runway.

Hendrik Schouten: That was an incredible accomplishment. A painter who made a name for himself by painting iconic Aruba landscapes ventured into attractive copper jewelry a number of years ago, and now into fashion. It was a bold, and spectacular move, earning Henrick some very well-deserved recognition, better late than never.

Gigliola Gomez: A well establish runway designer, in Aruba and abroad, Gigliola is known for her feminine flowy gowns, this time she pleased her local audience with a line of black and white athletic clothing. The type you live in, and not necessarily go the gym with. Wearing Gigliola latest collection, you would look fabulous in the supermarket and at the PTA. Total departure from her famous self, including great sneakers.

Zhuzhed by Ali: Ali arrived on the fashion scene as a stylist, styling looks with newest arrivals from DShop. The Zhuzhed By Ali show focused on the role society plays in body-shaming women, and her models, of every body shape and type did justice to the theme including some of my great-looking, talented friends, Aissette Rivera, Gladys Duarte and Charlene Leslie.

Osyth Henriquez: The artistic entrepreneurial business woman presented an elegant line of hand painted silk caftans with an environmental message, very delicate and airy, in pastel hues.

In the jewelry department Loretti Design’s show was beyond spectacular, with oversize, incredibly beautiful blown glass baubles. Gloria Filiciana let her imagination run loose, and it paid off with very striking pieces. Painter Francis Sling turned paint blotches into wearable art. Mersea Jewelry presented a new collection.

It was a night to remember, Pabien to all participants and organizers, it was bigger and bolder, and the setting was totally perfect. #artfashion #AAF2018 #aruba #artfair

Apologies to all I left out.

Art Fashion, right on the streets of San Nicolas.

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October 05, 2018
Rona Coster