Curaçao understands the value of a first impression. Save for a few rookie snags like a delayed schedule and a handful of empty seats, last night’s kickoff to the country’s first-ever fashion week at the Hilton Curaçao hotel was a promising effort that proves their passion to become legitimate players in the international fashion game. And opening their runway to global talent rather than limiting it to locals only was a sharp move on Curaçao’s part, as it provides designers around the world with a new place to strut. And strut, they did. From Giannina Azar’s goddess gowns and tunics to Washington Robert’s (non-cheesy) audible and sartorial salute to the King of Pop, this was day one.
If facial expressions are any indication of a collection’s success, then peep the middle spectactor’s priceless face above. Azar was no doubt the night’s top crowd-pleaser and the only designer to receive multiple applauses for various looks. The Dominican Republic talent rolled out a range that honored Central American Indians, or "Aztecas" and featured a series of sheer tunics in blindingly bright hues, combined with gold embellishments and additional bells and whistles. It was all, in a word, enchanting. Okay, two words: enchanting and magical.
Another highlight was the aforementioned Roberts—a Brooklyn-based designer that was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised by a seamstress grandmother. He launched his eponymous label in 2010 and has since then made a name for himself by producing designs that merge the vibrant colors of Nigeria with BK’s melting pot of cultural influences. His show was a tribute to Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" and featured models walking in looks inspired by the late artist’s iconic red leather jacket while the song blasted in the background. Foot-tapping ensued.
The night also featured high-end swimwear by Montreal-based designer Reyhan Sofraci of Aqua Di Lara. Proving just why her looks have been featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, she debuted a slew of skin-baring numbers rocked by the local top models of Curaçao. (Speaking of models, casting agents need to get here stat because I think I met Joan Smalls‘ doppelgänger last night, no joke.)