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Monday, Aug. 31, 2015

Vincy Film Festival hopes to bring new opportunities to Caribbean

Movies: The Caribbean can offer more than pristine beaches, national dishes, and great music — it makes a great location for shooting a movie. Comment.

Providing sweet pan music is costly

Music: The sound of the steel drum is captivating. The vibrant sounds emulated from a steel orchestra literally beats the sounds associated with Caribbean carnival into the air. Birthed in Trinidad, the steel pan orchestra is a passion honed by many across the Caribbean and worldwide. Comment.

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Get inspired by ‘Destiny’

Books: Check out this new book by T.D. Jakes. Comment.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2015

T&T Film Festival a ticket to the Caribbean

Movies: Trinidad and Tobago will be the “destination of choice” for movie and film enthusiasts in the month of September as the twin-island republic hosts its annual film festival, the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company says. Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015

Miss Grenada Independence putting animals first

Arts & Theater: The newsest Miss Grenada Independence has a soft spot for furry creatures. Comment.

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Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015

Third World performs in Prospect Park

Music: Jamaicans and reggae fans were special guests at a free, outdoor party in Brooklyn that celebrated two milestone events — the 42nd anniversary of super, reggae group, Third World, and the 53rd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. Comment.

Bob Marley’s sons and grandson will ‘Catch A Fire’ In Central Park

Music: Heirs of Bob Marley claim they intend to “Catch A Fire” in Central Park on Aug. 30 when two generations continue the 13-date tour named from the 1973 release of the iconic album. Comment.

Karma Carnival presents La Chaleur du Moment – Fire, Ice Edition

Fashion: With some of its founders from partially patois-speaking St. Lucia — others are from Trinidad and Tobago — Karma Carnival will this Labor Day present “La Chaleur du Moment — Fire and Ice Edition.” Comment.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015

Small town slacker marked for death by govt

Movies: At first blush, Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) looks like your prototypical slacker with not much of a future. The small town stoner is very content to fritter away his life behind the counter of the local convenience store, so long as he can go home and get high with his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), after work every day. Comment.

Monday, Aug. 24, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: I Touched All Your Stuff (Unrated) Cross-cultural documentary chronicling how Christopher Kirk, a nerdy American, ended up falling head-over-heels for a mysterious woman after moving to Colombia to study hippos. (In English and Spanish with subtitles) Comment.

Friday, Aug. 21, 2015

‘The Wiz’ wows with anniversary tribute

Arts & Theater: Forty years after winning seven Tony Awards — Broadway’ s highest theater honor — the first Black musical to claim the distinction eased into two New York City parks for three, free, nights of celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of its historic trailblazing achievements. Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015

Haitian folklorist publishes book

Music: Georges Vilson’s passion is collecting Haiti’s traditional music and also the musical interludes that are part of some Haitian folktales. His passion is dedicated to acquiring the fabric of Haiti’s musical folk culture before it disappears. Comment.

Reggae’s Black Cinderella scores triple treat

Movies: Believe it when you see and hear it. Reggae’s Black Cinderella gets the last word in the latest Meryl Streep flick “Ricki and the Flash.” To end the movie, it is the voice of the popular deejay AKA Sister Carol sounding the lyrics from her 1996 Grammy-nominated “Milk & Honey” single from the 1996 “Lyrically Potent” CD that signals conclusion. Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015

Charlize Horizon kiddies have ‘Mystical Illusions’

Arts & Theater: Charlize Horizon Junior Mas is ready for Kiddies Carnival on Saturday, Sept. 5, as was clear recently, when high spirited youngsters in colorful costumes put on a display reveling to carnival music at the band’s 898 East 95th St. (between D & Foster) camp in Brooklyn. Comment.

Caribbean art educator earns top award

Arts & Theater: Trinidadian born artist and educator Daniela Fifi has been awarded the prestigious Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellowship Award, which she will pursue at the esteemed Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, in New York. Comment.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015

Artist aims to capture Lauryn Hill

Arts & Theater: Inspiration can come from anywhere. A calming breeze, the sound of rustling trees and the lyric of a song can propel an artist to create a striking piece of visual art. Washington, D.C. native and Jamaican descendant, Imani Shanklin Roberts is conveying the powerful messages of Lauryn Hill in an upcoming art exhibit entitled “STILLMiseducated.” Comment.

Rise and demise of legendary gangsta’ group

Movies: Back in the Eighties, the CIA began orchestrating the introduction of crack-cocaine to African-American communities all across America, starting with the South Central L.A. By the middle of the decade, the epidemic had turned Compton into a godforsaken wasteland rife with drug addiction and crime. Comment.

Mas Productions Unlimited lures ‘International Treasures’

Arts & Theater: There may not be any specific reason, but the Brooklyn-based Mas Productions Unlimited is luring “International Treasures” for this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Comment.

Diamond Entertainment & Crew’s ‘Wings of Love’

Arts & Theater: After placing second for the last two years for medium-sized bands in the Junior Carnival, Diamond Entertainment & Crew is hoping to snatch the top prize this Labor Day with “Wings of Love.” Comment.

Monday, Aug. 17, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 6 Years (Unrated) Romance drama about a couple of childhood sweethearts (Ben Rosenfield and Taissa Farmiga) whose long-term relationship is tested when he’s offered a dream job with a record company. With Joshua Leonard, Lindsay Burdge and Peter Vack. Comment.

Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015

Naomi Jackson pens a coming to the Caribbean story

Books: There are an infinite number of coming to America stories. Tales that detail an immigrant’s journey to assimilating, fitting in and their own self-discovery are popular identity topics to write about. Comment.

Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015

Reggae Jazz Fest 2015 gets an ‘A+’

Music: “The future is looking bright for the development and preservation of the cultural links between Caribbean and African-American music and dance in the Diaspora, thanks to the likes of George Crooks (Jamaican-American and Craig Freeman (African-American) of Jammins Events and their associates,” observed Dr. Dexter McKenzie, MD, a private physician and a lecturer at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who is also a musician and community organizer. Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015

Roy Pierre & Associates present ‘The Jolly Roger’

Arts & Theater: It is early morn. Dawn is just breaking over the warm waters of the Caribbean. A British frigate is sailing through the islands loaded with fine laces and linens and other furnishings meant for the fancy ladies and homes of British plantation owners. Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015

‘Behold the Throne’ extols Freaks Mas

Arts & Theater: Freaks Mas will “Behold the Throne” as it competes for the fourth successive year in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. Comment.

Crochet wear designer keeps evolving

Fashion: The fashion design business is cut throat. Much like any artist, designers are often forced to split their attentions onto their passions alongside their 9 to 5’s that provide the bulk of the green paper needed to survive. Comment.

Earth, Wind and Fire for Labor Day

Arts & Theater: Band leader Pamela Date, who hails from St. Andrew, Grenada, told Caribbean Life that this year’s production is “a representation of our universe.” Comment.

Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015

Change your attitude and find success

Books: We live in microwaveable times. In a world of 140 characters and 15-second videos, it is safe to assume that millenials are simply impatient. Impatience, however, does not allow any great idea reach it’s full potential. A mixture of patience, tenacity, perseverance and a hefty dose of positivity is Bahamian descendant Renny Roker’s secret to achieving success. Comment.

Fox reboots Marvel franchise’s ‘Fantastic Four’

Movies: Marvel Comics’ first brought the “Fantastic Four” to the big screen a decade ago, and followed it up with a sequel a couple years later. Since neither generated much in the way of audience enthusiasm, 20th Century Fox has now seen fit to relaunch the flagging franchise rather than release a third installment. Comment.

Friday, Aug. 7, 2015

WIADCA’S carnival celebrates one Caribbean, one people, one voice!

Arts & Theater: Get ready for New York Caribbean Carnival 2015! On Thursday, Sept 3, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) will kick off New York Caribbean Carnival, with a unique Caribbean Freedom Festival, featuring KES the Band, costume competitions and Herbet Holler & the Freedom Party NYC. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Air (PG-13 for violence, profanity and sexual references) Futuristic sci-fi about a couple of engineers (Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou) who represent the last hope for humanity after the planet runs out of oxygen. With Sandrine Holt, Paula Lindberg, Peter Benson and David Nykl. Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015

Rock My Soul

Music: Lincoln Center Out of Doors is wrapping up its three weeks of music and dance performances this weekend. There will be six more free outdoor concerts, all devoted to American Roots music. Comment.

‘Welcome to the Motherland of Afrika’

Arts & Theater: This year, New Horizon wants everyone, including masqueraders, to feel “Welcome to the Motherland of Afrika,” as the Brooklyn-based mas band competes in the annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade on Eastern Parkway. Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015

Ice cream venture to help build community

Food: What can a scoop of ice cream provide past a sweet taste that lingers on the tongue? Ice cream can create jobs. It can create a moment of celebration between neighbors. It can represent a positive meeting space within an underserved community. Comment.

Brooklyn Museum celebrates Caribbean culture

Arts & Theater: The Brooklyn Museum propelled its culture loving public into the Carnival spirit on Aug 1. Comment.

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015

‘Mama’s Boy,’ a run-of-the-mill drama

Books: You think about it all the time. The child making headlines in the news could be yours. He could be the kid wrapped up in trouble he never meant to have, the one whose name is known for the wrong reasons. And what would you do? You’ve thought about it, and in the new novel “Mama’s Boy” by ReShonda Tate Billingsley, two mothers act. Comment.

Mas ‘Under The Sea’

Arts & Theater: At the tender age of 24, Trinidad-born costume designer Assata Rodriquez is already making headway as one of the up and coming bandleaders to watch. She is diligent and steadfast in her quest for perfection — qualities revelers will take to the parkway to revel in “Under the Sea.” Comment.

Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015

Cruise, company reunite to topple terrorist group

Movies: Rogue Nation is the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise featuring Tom Cruise as the dashing and daring Ethan Hunt. This episode has everything you’d expect from an action-oriented espionage thriller: international intrigue, irresistible eye candy and edge-of-your-seat fight and chase sequences. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Assassination (Unrated) Historical drama, set in 1933, revolving around Korean resistance’s plot to kill the military commander of Japan’s occupy forces. Co-starring Ji-hyun Jun, Jung-woo Ha and Jung-jae Hee. (In Korean with subtitles) Comment.

Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015

Steel pan rocks the square

Music: The sun is shining. There is music in the streets. Sounds like the start of a great summer day to me. Comment.

New merchant association revives street festival

Arts & Theater: Summer is simmering down, back-to-school commercials are looming but fun in the sun against the backdrop of your neighborhood is still in full effect. There is still time for face painting, live entertainment and celebration of the local businesses courtesy of the new merchant association, Parkside Empire. Comment.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

‘Amazing Grace’

Arts & Theater: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” Comment.

Haitian art, architecture at Queens Museum

Arts & Theater: On Sunday, July 25, Haitians from all over the metro area congregated at the Queens Museum to participate in a rich, diverse three-part cultural event that began on the expanded mezzanine, which looks at the Unisphere. The museum reopened last November after major renovations. Comment.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Celebration in Brooklyn

Music: It was a celebration to be sure! As Maa Sa Akhi Performing Arts Academy held its 16th annual concert recital, students and loyal supporters arrived in droves ready to clap and enjoy celebrating fantastic performances. Comment.

Next group of Griswolds heads for Walley World

Movies: National Lampoon’s Vacation is an enduring film franchise launched back in 1978 by the late John Hughes, the brains behind such Chicago-centric screen classics as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Trains, Planes & Automobiles; Home Alone; Uncle Buck; and Baby’s Day Out, to name a few. Comment.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Best of Enemies (R for sexuality, nudity and profanity) File footage documentary featuring the series of nine, nationally-televised, live-TV debates between liberal Gore Vidal and arch-conservative William F. Buckley covering such hot-button topics as politics, religion and sexuality, which degenerated into name-calling affairs where the pair referred to each other as a “crypto-Nazi” and a “queer.” Comment.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oxygen makes soulful Reggae

Music: Musicians no longer operate in one set genre. New emerging artists and bands are fusing sounds to generate their own new genre that speaks to their uniqueness and aesthetic. Comment.

‘Life in the Rain Forest’

Arts & Theater: Torrential rains in the Caribbean last year created a damp and dense atmosphere in the forested area where my family and I vacationed. The flora and fauna challenged us. We endured the constant buzz of the various insects. The melodious sounds of the birds, the beautiful flowers and plants were a joy to behold. Comment.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

All day feast on Jamaican Jerk favorites

Food: Queens might still be covered in jerk spices, smoke and proud Jamaican flags. With high praises, full bellies, cooking demos and plenty more, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival took over the borough’s Roy Wilkins Park for a day of “food, family and fun.” Comment.

‘Who are We?’ asks Kaios International

Arts & Theater: In asking the simple question, “Who are We?,” the Brooklyn-based Kaios International Mas Band hopes to be a strong contender in this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Comment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Destiny to showcase ‘Fantasy Of The Falls’

Arts & Theater: One Destiny Mas band, with costume designer Zeelema Verwayne at the helm, will showcase Guyana’s diverse culture, bringing into focus the country’s renowned Kaieteur Water Falls in a themed “Fantasy of the Falls” presentation. Comment.

A bittersweet boxing tale of redemption

Movies: Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) surmounted incredible odds en route to becoming the World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champ. After all, his prospects weren’t exactly brilliant, given how he’d been abandoned by his mother at birth. Comment.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shades of Face/Off in brain transplant sci-fi thriller

Movies: In the 1997 thriller “Face/Off,” an FBI agent underwent a face transplant in order to crack a terrorist plot. It’s hard not to think of that film while watching “Self/Less” which revolves around another radical surgical procedure, namely, the implantation of a cancer patient’s brain inside the cranium of a healthy individual. Comment.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

THE TEMPEST TAKES HARLEM

Arts & Theater: What does the Caribbean and William Shakespeare have in common? In many depictions of his famous plays, the characters are often depicted to be white and set in the many countries of Europe. The Cultural Theatre of Harlem, however, is taking Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and infusing an Afro-Caribbean layer to create a universal story. Comment.

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Generation presents ‘Dream Catcher’

Arts & Theater: In continuing the legacy of her late Trinidadian-born mother Kathyann Hernandez, who went to the Great Beyond two years ago, Patrice Simmons says she is maintaining Hernandez’s high standards in presenting “Dream Catcher” this Labor Day. Comment.

BRAATA to tour Trinidad

Arts & Theater: Braata Productions, a New York based cultural non-profit, has joined the list of charitable organizations turning to crowdfunding as a means of raising funds. Comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

SoundCity Mas’ ‘Sucre’ for Labor Day

Arts & Theater: With about 30 years of mas-making experience, the producers of the Brooklyn-based SoundCity Mas are hoping to make a difference on Labor Day with “Sucre.” Comment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MLK Concert Series take a hit

Music: Once regarded as one of the best deals in Brooklyn, the annual Martin Luther King summer concert series returns with an abbreviated lineup that begins and end with only four performance dates. Comment.

Sneakers get a second chance

Fashion: Make your way down Flatbush Avenue between Hawthorne Street and Cortelyou Road. What do you notice? On each passing block you might take note of a surplus of nail and hair salons, Chinese American and Caribbean American restaurants and not to mention a plethora of sneaker stores. Comment.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thousands attend African Arts Festival

Arts & Theater: The International African Arts Festival (IAAF) began in 1971 as the African Street Carnival, a PTA’s block party fundraiser for an independent school in Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with local entertainers, about 20 arts and crafts vendors, along with food prepared by the parents. Almost 2,000 people came to the event and it was a success. Comment.

South Jersey Carib fest celebrates 15th anniversary

Music: The South Jersey Caribbean Cultural and Development Organization (SJCCDO) last Saturday celebrated its 15th Annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park at the Camden waterfront. Comment.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Turn up your grilling experience with Grace!

Food: The start of summer is literally days away. Barbeques, picnics and cookouts will be taking place in every community across the country by the thousands But there is something special, mysterious and magical about the mouthwatering flavors of the Jamaican jerk and barbeque seasonings and spices. Comment.

REGGAE SUMFEST

Music: KINGSTON, Jamaica – The buzz has begun about Reggae Sumfest, the acclaimed “greatest reggae show on earth.” Slated to begin next week at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, some of the biggest names in reggae are billed. Comment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

‘Dingolay’ presents - Rave The Yellow Edition

Arts & Theater: Dingolay’s mas band one-color concept has put them in good standing. With a third place win at the 2014 Labor Day Carnival on Eastern Parkway, the band is now positioning itself to take home first prize when it invades the parade on Monday, Sept. 7. Comment.

Reggaefarians rally ‘Round the Red, Gold & Green

Music: KINGSTON, Jamaica – On one day, July One — acclaimed by reggae music lovers as International Reggae Day — a global celebration by more than 23 countries dominated the music industry by hosting events marking 21 years of tribute to the genre birthed in Jamaica. Comment.

Hot ‘N spicy but clean comedy

Arts & Theater: It is said that laughter is good for your health. A hearty laugh can change the outlook of a bad day, even if only for the few moments a chuckle might last. Comment.

The life of a 1960s Harlem kid

Books: Your last family reunion was a big one. It was fun, too, and eye-opening. You hadn’t really stopped to think about how many people are related to you until you saw aunts you hadn’t seen in decades and met cousins you didn’t even know you had. Comment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

11-yr-old struggles to control her emotions

Movies: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) was understandably unhappy when she learned from her mother (Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan) that the family was relocating from Minnesota to San Francisco. After all, she’d be leaving behind her home, her hockey team and all her BFFs. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 10,000 Km (R for profanity, graphic sexuality and brief frontal nudity) Romantic dramedy, set in L.A. and Barcelona, about a couple’s (David Verdaguer and Natalia Tena) struggle to maintain a long-distance relationship. (In Spanish, Catalan and English with subtitles) Comment.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Healthy twists on Caribbean dishes

Food: Can organic, healthy and Caribbean be said all in the same sentence? Words such as rich and heavy are often used to describe Caribbean food with jerk chicken, rice and peas and more leading the charge with hefty portions. Nola Ro is combatting these affiliations with her healthy twists on what Caribbean American food can be from tasty hummus filled cucumber bites to coconut wings. Comments (2).

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Loads of fun at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

Music: A cultural extravaganza to dial up the fun is what organizers have planned for the 5th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NY on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at Roy Wilkins Park, Queens, New York. The popular Western Union Cultural Stage, with the multi-talented MC Sherry Morgan, promise loads of fun for adults and kids alike as fans feast on their favorite jerk cuisine. Comment.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Carib music in Central Park

Music: Reggae and soca fans reveled in Central Park to some of their favorite recording artists Saturday despite heavy showers and threatened thunderstorms in order to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of VP Records, an independent label reputed for its consistent dedication to the distribution of Caribbean music. Comment.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Street art inspires August Martin students

Arts & Theater: August Martin High School is known as the “worst school” in New York with a graduation rate of 39 percent. Students attending August Martin often describe their school as a jail or mental institution, however, their description does not apply to a too strict faculty or over-representation of school safety officers. Comment.

Vincentian designer celebrates anniversary

Fashion: With music pumping and patrons reveling in the atmosphere, leading Vincentian fashion designer, Zulema N. George, recently celebrated in style the third anniversary of AK Couture Boutique & Beauty Bar in the epicenter of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn. Comments (1).

An ‘Invincible’ thriller for the king of pop

Music: On Friday, June 19, “Invincible”… A Glorious Tribute To The King of Pop made its New York premiere at the Apollo Theater in NYC. This totally fabulous production was adorned with precision lighting, timely bursts of fog and of course a collection of MJ’s most memorable outfits. Comment.

Caribbean African Reggae Fest

Music: Music is the international language that transcends culture and state lines. New York is a hub for international acts to reach another edge of their audience as seen in popular music festivals like Prospect Park’s concert series at the Bandshell. Comment.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Self-reverential sequel revives horror franchise

Movies: How do you revive an expiring film franchise that was ostensibly put out of its misery over a dozen years ago after audiences became jaded with over-saturated visual effects they no longer found spellbinding? Comment.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

City Council cite veteran Jamaican artists

Music: It was a busy Saturday for Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo but she carved out enough time from her hectic schedule to present citations to veteran performers whose contribution to Jamaica’s music industry is indelibly imprinted in the nation’s historical archives. Comment.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Amy (R for profanity and drug use) Bittersweet biopic revisiting the rise and fall of Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse who died of alcohol poising in 2011 at the age of 27. Featuring appearances by Tony Bennett, Mark Ronson and Mos Def. Comment.

Celebrate International Reggae Day July 1

Music: At the start of July, the world will be consumed by Reggae music. For 24 hours, International Reggae Day (IRD) Festival – a global media festival – will celebrate the best of Jamaica’s creativity and contributions worldwide. Comment.

Friday, June 26, 2015

MUSICAL ODYSSEY

Music: You know Carnival is here when steel pan yards are alive with music in the wee hours of the night. Pan music isn’t constrained to just Carnival season, a rich culture and history is beaten into every oil drum. Comment.

Tent prez happy with semi picks

Music: After being weary of what he had characterized as failure to select, over the years, very deserving calypsonians from his tent, the president of the Brooklyn-based Dynamite Calypso Tent, Ainsley Primus, has expressed delight with the number of selections for this year’s semifinal round in the National Calypso Competition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Comment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dine Caribbean in fine style

Food: Throw the word “diet,” “waist trainer” and the phrase “summer body” out the window. The second annual Caribbean Restaurant Week is upon us, from June 22 - 29. Fourteen different locations are prepared to satisfy your taste buds, stomach and most importantly your wallet with discounts prices. Comment.

Caribbean flair and fashion

Fashion: Georgetown-based fashion designer Sonia Noel literally turned the rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall into a runway on June 12. In just 45 minutes the Guyana Fashion Week CEO was triumphant in hosting 16 designers, presenting more than 40 pieces of garment and accessories, all the while showcasing the multi-cultural identity of the couturiers. Comment.