Designing for a purpose

The recent haute couture show of preeminent Guyanese fashion designer Donna Ramsammy-James was fashion poetry in motion. The pieces were whimsical in style, colorful in glorious splendor and gorgeous on the bodies of the models.

This was one of the best collections ever unveiled by the designer who for the last fifteen year has given her private audience a reason to stand and applause. Muujiza wa Amani, meaning -“magic of peace”- was the themed 2014 collection that captured Ramsammy-James’ designing sensibilities, her multi ethnic roots, and more so, her love of Africa where she lived for many years.

The music of South Africa’s Hugh Masekela and Bob Marley set the tone for an evening of elegance in the picturesque courtyard of the designer’s secluded D’Urban Backlands home in Georgetown. The eclectic blend of colorful garments stamped with the designer’s intricate hand painted trademark were cut from cotton and linen fabrics, and created for all shapes and sizes.

The Shape Custom Creations couturier designs from the heart, and this particular line honored victims of the recent mall tragedy in Nairobi Kenya, where Ramsammy-James said her daughter had visited just before the tragedy. This inspiration was evident in the sequence that opened show. The models sauntered on to the runway – centered in the luscious garden, wearing cream outfits, etched with black painted designs, while covering their faces with African masks.

The resonant voice of former radio broadcaster, Carlton James – enriched the showcase and brought into focus the expressive mood of the designer who transcended her spirit into each piece of attires, to make the line spectacular.

Ramsammy-James, methodically showcased earth-toned colors, of brown, purple and black, before she gradually brighten up her emotions with colors of green, pink, orange, yellow, red, blue, fuchsia and gold in splendid one-of-a-kind, timeless pieces.

“I think about my feelings and what is taking place in the world at the time, before I create, said the designer who described her collection as top fashion. The pieces are sold in boutiques in 17 countries around the world, including London, Italy Florida, Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and St. Lucia.

The creations the designer calls wearable art, were embellished with gold, black and colored paints, to match the varied textile. The collection included male shirts, elegant skirts, and pretty floor length and mini dresses. Some of the pieces were layered, while others showed asymmetric hemlines. The ensembles exuded the designer’s exotic Caribbean panache.

The display of 141 pieces were fabricated to embrace peace and the environment, and accessorized with head wraps, hand-made jewelry and replicated leather craft, the designer once sold in her “Leather for Legends” store in Africa.

Ramsammy-James has decided to stage her 2015 show at a larger venue in Georgetown because of the growth of her clientele from 70 to 150 customers.

The designer said she does not follow trends but makes them. She also prides herself on being a custom design creator, who has a one-on-one meeting with each client, for a unique finish to every garment.

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