This weekend the Annual Officers’ Ball will take place at the Sandals Grande Beach Resort with participants in their finest. This time around the dress code is “Something Saint Lucian!”
Now in its second year, this evening’s Officers’ Ball is again spearheaded by Mrs. Raquel Duboulay-Chastanet’s Make It Happen Foundation, which has raised thousands of dollars for repairs and upgrades for the police and fire stations and facilitated the donation of supplies through assistance from private sector partners.
The event has also had an indirect benefit of supporting the local clothing industry. It has become something of a sport for guests to guess who will win the evening’s various awards, among them best design, best tie, best bag and so on.
Mrs. Chastanet revealed to this reporter that she has always supported local designers and takes obvious pleasure in the growth of the local fashion industry. With more public support, she said, it won’t be long before local brands will be seen on hangers everywhere.
“I have found that some of our local designers are international in terms of the quality and attention to detail,” she said. “That they consider our culture when designing, adds something unique to their creations. I was especially proud during Prince Harry’s visit to be wearing Kuumba Designs and creations by Christine Samuels.”
On her recent visit to Taiwan with her husband the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, her wardrobe comprised Kuumba Designs, with bags by Christine Creations.
As for Kuumba Designs’ Queen Esther, she says: “I try to be unique. While some may look to be more European in the style, we need to appreciate our culture with all its vibrancy, brightness and colours and also our traditional Madras. I incorporate those elements and still have a couture, well-fitted gown featuring the essence of Saint Lucia.”
Her advice to up-and-coming designers: “Take pride in achieving the best. Take special note of what makes your clients happy, their individual style preferences, and always make sure your garments are properly finished, fit well and are properly ironed. You should also support the local fashion industry any way you can, for your own sake as well as encouragement to participating designers.”
With regard to her very special client, Queen Esther revealed: “She likes to be comfortable and have well-fitted garments. She has a great sense of humour and it has always been an honour and my pleasure designing for her. She is very unselfish and feels proud to network with almost anyone she sees has the potential to grow.”