By Elisa Graham
The date was Sunday, Jan. 26, the venue was the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre, the event was Blossom, dubbed the “MET Gala” fashion event of Antigua and truly for those in attendance it did not disappoint.
In recognition of his 20th anniversary of creating and designing exceptional pieces for both men and women locally, regionally and internationally, Chandy Lewis of Chandy Lewis Designs, staged the spectacular extravaganza while bringing awareness to Breast Cancer.
The show, hosted by former Queen of Carnival, Miss Jaycees 2002 and former Miss World representative, Shermain Jeremy and TV/Radio Personality Ercil Charles Jr, featured two dimensions; fashion and education about a disease which has impacted the lives of many, in one way or the other.
The showcase open with an emotional opening prayer in the form of a song, performed by Rashid “Antigua Mod” Walker. This set the stage and atmosphere for the rest of the night, with an audience that sat upright, with bated breath of anticipation.
Focusing of the severity of breast cancer and the importance of early detection, Medical Oncologist at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, Dr. Hanybal Yazigi, in a featured address encouraged both women and men to educate themselves about the stages and possible signs of the illness. He also congratulated Lewis for finding such a creative way to bring attention to the disease, celebrate survivors while bringing colour and vibrancy to a stage, an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the joys of life.
Breast cancer survivors, Emelda Benjamin, Angela Durand and Andrea Jeremiah-Finx also took to the stage at selected intervals to share their stories of courage, strength and the will to survive after being diagnosed with the disease at various stages. They too collectively gave kudos to Lewis and his team for organizing the event and were equally thankful too grace the stage in their own unique way.
President of Breast Friends, Eunetta Bird, who is also a Breast Cancer Survivor noted that the organization is honoured to have been chosen as the recipients of the proceeds from the event. She assured that financial contribution will be used to assist persons suffering with the illness where treatment or other forms of comfort in concerned. She also congratulated Lewis on his commemoration of 20 years in the fashion industry and wished him continued success in his future endeavours.
The second highlight of the evening was the range of designs that graced the stage. The models, many of who have donned Lewis’ designs over his 20-year career commanded the runway flaunting pieces to the delight of the crowd in the following sections Cirque, Africana, Breakfree and tribute.
The man of the moment himself, then graced the stage with a surprise announcement true to his style, while thanking everyone for their unwavering support over the years.
The evening transformed into a festive phenomenon as the final segment was unveiled to be the 2020 launch of Lewis’ costume line, Carnival Dolls, now rebranded Vice Carnival.
This is the first official launch for the year 2020 and features five vibrant, outstanding and eye-catching segments namely- Principalities, Dominions, Cherubim, Virtues and Seraphim.
All official photos of the pieces will be revealed in a social media launch on Friday.