We were again proud to be sitting in the audience, on the Lolita Plaza, in San Nicolas, as a group of local designers paraded their work, on an extra-long circular runway, against the urban-scape of the sleepy town, under a starry sky.
The spectacle blended Art, Fashion & Awareness on issues of our generation, from Self-Love to Foreignness, Mental Health, Digitalization, Freedom of Speech, Diversity, and Cancer.
Issues made appearances on hand-carried signs, and in the narration by emcees Hilyann Croes and Leonardo Philips, representing the Millennials, heroically trying to fit into and thrive in, the conflicted and divided universe we inhabit, by BREAKING THE SILENCE.
Designer Fabiana Colemenares put the show together. In recent years she’s had a significant influence on fashion here, working with local talents, especially Gigiola Gomez, in her forays onto the international stage, and with bag & accessory designer Valentina Terra. Where there is fashion on Aruba, you’d find Fabiana, with a body language that speak of focus and attention to detail.
The show consisted of segments, with short, repeating interludes of fire dancing and twirling. Artist Freddy Montoya, accompanied the fashion show with a four-hour long theatrical performance, as an indigenous fire-age man, exploring his own roots, digging in the soil, tirelessly and incessantly toiling to define his identity. At times disturbing, at times poetic, his dedication to his craft is commendable, and more than obsessive.
While Montoya was digging in the dirt in search of clues, the models, perhaps more than 100, of all ages, sizes and shapes, showed off collections, made in honor of #ArtFashion2019.
Javan Croes: I’ve seen his designs already at the Lindy’s boutique show in town. He dresses every body shape with flair, and proudly shows his latest under the Self-Love theme, including a wedding gown. He’s been creative since very young and favors uniquely styled dresses.
Valentina Terra: She is the queen of cute, bags & accessories, with lovely detailing, in contrasted colors and textures, beautifully finished with quality hardware and expert stitching. Her collection under the Foreignness theme explored the belong/don’t belong push & pull endured by many immigrants. Her models radiated great spirits and their basic white men’s shirts highlighted the bags they carried, beautifully.
Erika Moran: She used her simple cotton fabric dresses as canvases for colorful birds, butterflies and flowers, speaking up on behalf of nature and conservations, paying tribute to the beauty of the universe under the Show Me Your Color, theme.
Fausta Luna: This Mexican-born artist, reflected on the abundant arts & crafts of her native country combined with her own creativity, delivering an original ornamental fusion. She titled her accessories Uniting Culture with Art. I enjoyed her show-stopping pizzaz, each item carrying a special meaning such as Luck, Peace, Love or Abundance.
Milena Reyes: We dubbed her the world’s happiest designer as she was dancing down the runway, ahead of her diverse and distinctly different models. A psychologist by profession, she says, fashion has always been an excellent way for her to express herself and to communicate her thoughts and feelings. We should all follow her lead, for a better mental disposition.
Marlon Dubero: He showed a very strong collection, his own label, MD fashion, taking on Mental Health, in the wake of losing his mom to the illness. Lots of black, and red, with tattoos, complex hair styles, and blackened eye-bandeaux, as part of the presentation.
Clayten Mogen & Clint Gosepa: A duo of colleague from Curacao, friends from a young age, who created the label SWAY together. Their love for fashion made them brothers, starting their journey with small designs, and when people reacted positively, they attempted more courageous styles and more meaningful collaborations. They took on Black Power and I loved what they presented in Aruba, from the sound to the look, thank you for your visit, and the opportunity to experience SWAY.
Victoria Secrets: For the first time ever, we saw undergarments on parade, with a tasteful display of undies. The segment was dedicated to Breast Cancer and the struggle to win the battle with the disease. Three spectacular Carnival Costumes in pink, white and silver, added drama and glamour to the visual impact of the presentation.
Pauser: This metaphoric artist, a Czech graffiti painter, took on digitalization. He created an augmented reality mural for ArtFair2019, and his mural inspired a parade of colorful silk scarves which were part of the fashion show, and helped introduce his fellow-muralists who lent their talent to the fair and appeared on the runway: @mrdheo, @parizone, @fio.silva, @farid_rueda, @insane51, @suglas. and @chemisgraffiti.
Gionina Engelhardt: She presented a sad and didactic collection dedicated to the heartless silence of child abuse. Her layered clothing hid secrets, and her teddy bears lost much of their stuffing. She went down the runway with her daughter at the end of the segment, a warrior, determined to break the cycle of violence. Notably, this segment was presented in collaboration with SPC, a comprehensive government social plan designed to tackle grave social ills, involving four ministries: Health, Social Affairs, Justice and Education, with no fewer than 31 projects currently ongoing.
Gigliola Gomez: She tackled Freedom of speech. As a well establish runway designer, in Aruba and abroad, she strayed from her signature feminine flowy gowns, and/or athletic clothing, side stepping into jeans, geometric forms and collage.
Great make up by L’Oréal Paris, and overall responsibility for the production, by mother & son duo Diana Croes and Tito Bolivar. Thank you Alice Van Romondt for having a blessed connection for funding.
Thank you H&H Fine Wines & Spirits for the free-flowing Prosecco!