Tapping the true potential of Saint Lucia Hot Couture

Designers Robert Young (l) and Sonia Noel (centre) with Runway Creative Coach Richard Young (r): All the visiting designers had high praise for Saint Lucia Hot Couture.

Designers Robert Young (l) and Sonia Noel (centre) with Runway Creative Coach Richard Young (r): All the visiting designers had high praise for Saint Lucia Hot Couture.

If Saint Lucia Hot Couture was the dazzling canvas for local and Caribbean designers to showcase their wares, the Trunk Show last Thursday was the literal pay off: the business end of fashion, if you will.

A unique and valuable feature of Hot Couture, the post-runway event offers designers an opportunity to sell their creations, and dazzled customers the chance to purchase their wish list within 24 hours of the show. Mae Wayne included the Trunk Show in the inaugural Hot Couture, and last year’s success led to an expansion of the concept at the Johnsons Centre where booths were set up and proved highly popular.

Making a living from the fashion end of the creative industries is tough, as Mae continually points out; practical opportunities for sales must be sought out and capitalized on.

Whether it’s a runway show, a glossy magazine like SHE Caribbean or a red carpet photo op, the only way for a designer to become successful is to sell, sell, sell. Thanks to her foresight and the Trunk Show innovation, Mae’s marketing prowess paid off in spades for many Hot labels on the day.

At the post Hot Couture brunch at Tapas on the Bay, despite the profuse praise and communal sense of achievement, the team remained humble and spoke of cohesion, trust and playing to their individual strengths. New York magazine editor, art consultant and fashion taste-maker Shala Monroque was impressed with every aspect, and proud to have made her debut attendance at a Caribbean runway show right here at home.

In the realm of glossy magazines and international fashion opinion, Monroque is a household name. Muse and friend of Miuccia Prada, she is renowned for her unique personal style and was recently on the cover of Town & Country.

At heart still a Marisule girl, Shala Monroque lives the high life these days and feels immensely proud that Saint Lucia is on the map with an influential fashion Caribbean event. She became an instant fan of several Hot Couture designers, while emphasizing the importance of “buying local” to grow the industry, help the designers succeed and designs get seen.

“I was really pleasantly surprised, I loved all the clothes,” she told me. “The format was different than international shows, and I like that it was in two parts. It was nice to see so many designers from the Caribbean as well as Saint Lucia, and to see what’s going on in the region. I really think talent scouts from the major labels should be coming to the show to look for new talent.”

With a recommendation from Shala Monroque—who reportedly took her own advice and “bought local” at the Hot Couture Trunk Show—who knows what opportunities will arise for shining a spotlight on the Caribbean and Saint Lucia’s upwardly mobile fashion industry? I for one am keeping my eyes peeled for Ms. Monroque’s “Summer of Hot Couture” wardrobe on the celebrity fashion pages and blogs – Prada’s muse papped in a Lucian label might just start the island trend we’ve been waiting for.

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