`Calypso in colour’

Guyana Chronicle
December 1, 2002

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"This whole collection is about colour. "From the market-place in Guyana; to the sunsets of Montserrat; the beaches of Barbados and Antigua; and the incomparable experience that is Trinidad carnival." - Donna Ramsammy James, lead designer for Shape 2000.
By Linda Rutherford
LOCAL label, Shape 2000, has given new meaning to the term, 'fashion statement', by dedicating an entire segment of its Summer 2003 collection, themed 'Calypso in Colour', to highlighting the sad state of affairs in the country today, using the colours black and white to its advantage.

Said House lead designer, Donna Ramsammy-James during a sneak preview at her D'Urban Backlands home a few days before the official launch of the collection on Sunday November 3: "I think we [in Guyana] are in a state where it is very divisive...about right and wrong; good and bad; race; everything."

"And that is why I chose the colours black and white," she said. "They reflect how I feel about Guyana right now; it's a sad place to be," she added, in obvious reference to the current upsurge of violent crime here.

"But, there is fusion in the Guyana flag," she said, referring to the little replicas of the national standard, the 'Golden Arrowhead', each model held in their hand as a timely reminder of who we are, namely 'One Nation; One People; One Destiny'.

Current trends notwithstanding, the show was a huge success, beginning with customary promptness at 16:45hrs as pre-arranged, in spite of the inclement weather, which had some patrons making fashion statements of their own with their huge, colourful 'brollies', and those without seeking shelter wherever they could but well within range of the activity.

Customary also was the frivolity of all 'Shape' opening sequences, which, this year was distinctly Carnival in flavour in keeping with the theme, replete with glitz, elaborate head-pieces, bare, perfectly-toned torsos swaying to the strains of heady calypso music, and 'plenty' bacchanal.

This same spiritedness prevailed throughout the collection, with colours this year tending to be more vivid and primary rather than earthy as was the case last summer, and the designer reaching even deeper to bring to life the creative genius within, playing with fringes and tassels for maximum effect.

In a brief interview with the Sunday Chronicle, James said that whereas her two previous collections reflected her infatuation, or "love affair" as she prefers, with Africa and India, two continents she has had the privilege of knowing intimately, having lived and worked there for 12 or more years, this year's reflects the reawakening of her passion for the colour, fun and laughter of the Caribbean.

"This whole collection is about colour," she said. "From the market-place in Guyana; to the sunsets of Montserrat; the beaches of Barbados and Antigua; and the incomparable experience that is Trinidad carnival."

Just back from a whirlwind six-week tour of the Caribbean and further afield, James said the only concession she has made this collection is the segment in which she uses lots of browns and creams to reflect what is happening in Europe today in the line of fashion.

"I was so in awe of the colours of the European fashion trends for 2003," she said, "I just couldn't help but including another segment ...where you will see against the backdrop of all that colour... a section that takes you into a very peaceful place ....in all the colours of wheat."

"That is my only tribute to my recent trip into the fashion world outside of Guyana," she said.

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