Published in The Fiji Times 2/04/2015
by Talebula Kate
MULTI designer Robert Kennedy's 2015 Taralala fashion collection was inspired by a 2014 trip to Hawaii and visiting the famous Doris Duke mansion, Shangri La.
In a statement, he explains Doris Duke, a daughter of a wealthy tobacco tycoon, American heiress, horticulturalist, art collector, and philanthropist was able to fund a life of global travel and wide-ranging interests.
"Shangri La is the name of the Islamic-style mansion she built near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu, Hawaii. Duke commissioned and collected for the mansion, art, furnishings and built-in architectural elements from Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, Syria, Egypt and India," Mr Kennedy said.
"The interaction of the dramatic Hawaiian landscape, modernist architecture, Islamic art and the legacy of the founder continue to animate Shangri La today."
Mr Kennedy saw the disparate dance of Islamic art and the lush Pacific environment as a catalyst of inspiration for his new collection.
He said Taralala (which roughly translates as 'modern dancing'), perfectly summed up the merging of two different environments into a beautiful dance.
Mr Kennedy is a fourth generation Fijian of Scottish and Swedish descent.
Born in Suva, he completed his secondary school studies in Australia and then studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Textile Design at RMIT in Melbourne.
By early 2000, Robert decided that it was time to return home to Fiji.
His fashion designing started with simple kaftans with bold Tropical prints and has developed and expanded from there.
His Robert Kennedy Fiji fashion range has now been shown at Fiji Fashion Week 2009-2014 where he was nominated as Fashion Designer of the Year in 2009 and 2010 before winning in 2011.
Mr Kennedy's 2015 Taralala fashion collection is anticipated to bring in a new direction and energy to the Fiji Fashion Week this year.