Earlier in the year I was invited to an open call in London, to apply to design a dress for a Miss Caribbean finalist, to be worn for the Grand Finale on 25th November 2017. At the beginning of July I took some of my dresses to show a panel of judges who would decide if I had been chosen as one of this years designers. I was thrilled I had got through and was asked to make two dresses, therefore dressing two finalists, who were at this point still yet to be named.
Later in July, I attended the Finals of the London heats at the stunning venue of Shaka Zulu in Camden, which created a wonderful backdrop and atmosphere to the competition. There, the fate of the London contestants were to be decided and as this was the last heat of the whole competition from various locations around the UK. We would now know who all the finalists for Novembers Grand Finale would be!
In August I was invited to the Miss Caribbean photoshoot in London to meet the two finalists I was going to sponsor their evening dresses. Above are the ten finalists with Jackie Brown, top centre, who along with her husband Clayton Brown, created the Miss Caribbean UK brand and whose hard work and passion, has created an ever growing competition and an amazing annual event, now in its fourth year.
Miss Caribbean is a beauty pageant set up to promote all the Caribbean countries under one umbrella and the event is a platform to promote, educate, celebrate and inspire the historical and cultural impact of the Caribbean on the United Kingdom. The pageant aims not just to look for a pretty face, but for a young woman who is able to demonstrate a far more holistic image of beauty, poise, personality, confidence, grace knowledge and personal vision and sense of self worth.
Above I was photographed with my two lovely finalists, Miss Eshiva Wright on my left and Miss Kamara Thomas on my right, both representing Jamaica. Meeting the ladies I was about to design for really helped as I wanted to design something that would suit their personalities, fit with their personal sense of style and image, plus make a stunning gown for the evening wear section of the competition. I wanted to incorporate all of those elements into my creations as well as design with my own design handwriting, dresses I would like to be recognised as my own work, rather than specifically a pageant style dress.
Once I had met the young ladies, I thought quite a lot about how I would approach this project, after all it is a competition and it would be fantastic to have designed and made the winning dress...
However I also wanted to stay true to my own handwriting as it were, plus dress them in something that I thought would suit their personality, stand out above the other entries, plus still be a very glamourous evening dress!
So I had a few ideas on the designs I wanted to use and finally decided I was quite happy about them. Next was sourcing the fabric... I was very short of time by this point, with only three weeks to go, which quite often happens when working on these sort of projects and I decided to source some fabric from a local supplier, rather than either take a chance online, as I did not have time to order samples, or take a trip up to central London and take a chance on finding what I wanted on that one day. I knew the colours I wanted but actually finding what I wanted was the tricky part. I had a selection of diamante trimmings, some I had already and some I bought with the dresses in mind.
I had only two, ten minute fittings with each of the girls before I was to produce the finished dresses on the night of the show, so I was obviously a little anxious as to whether the dresses would fit properly and be the correct length. Also I wanted the girls to be as excited to be wearing my designs, as much as I was to have them wear them for me!
Back stage before the show I was so pleased not only did the dresses fit but both the girls loved their dresses, which pleased me as I obviously wanted them to feel comfortable but also elegant and confident!
Above left Kamara is preparing for the first round of the finals, the carnival dance section. On the right I am in the makeup room having my makeup done and all the contestants have been called out one by one to go on stage.
Above Eshiva is performing her amazing solo dance.
Below all nine finalists are performing the carnival dances together and it looks so spectacular!
After the carnival round the girls were each escorted on stage by a young gentleman as they showed off their elegance, deportment and evening wear dresses. Then a few of the designers including myself were invited onstage to talk about our designs.
Apart from the various rounds in the competition the evening held some brilliant entertainment, music, dancing, shown below, and comedy, which made the whole event a really good night! So much work goes into the preparation of this event, especially in the work that is done individually with each contestant, and is growing year on year!
Above is the final line up of all the finalists in their evening dresses.
In the last round the girls were asked a series of questions and were judged on how well they answered them. Everything was considered and eventually the winners of the various categories were announced, including best evening dress, best personality, second and first runners up and of course the who was to be crowned Miss Caribbean UK 2017!
I love this in the moment picture of when this years Miss Caribbean 2017 was announced! Neither of my lovely ladies won the title, but Best Personality 2017 did go to Eshiva Wright one of my ladies, which was well deserved, but then all the girls deserved to win in my opinion! I did not win best evening dress, there were so many lovely dresses to choose from, but I enjoyed taking part in this competition, working with the ladies and the team and being involved in such a worthwhile event! Looking forward to next year!
tags #misscaribbeanuk #misscaribbeanuk2017 @misscaribbeanuk #pageants #beautypageants #eveningwear #bespoke