Wilfred Fimone, Fashion Throne of Fiji reviews FJFW16 Resort Wear Show

Imbued with colour, the press of sunbeams on your skin, sea kisses on your toes, and all other things that conjure up the sand-sea-sun-surf effect, Fiji Fashion Week’s Resort Wear 2016 show opened up the South Pacific’s grandest annual runway happening.  The chilly winter winds – if they do exist in our sub-tropics (using equivalents here!) – could not even bear to ‘breeze’ the heat.  That’s how summer-hot things got!   It was a show of swimwear, of colour, and (mandatorily) of good fashion.  Here are my picks for reviews: 

nVmi by Heather Crossingham
Designed and inspired in Fiji, Crossingham’s collection is largely swimwear, from nylon bikinis to maillots to chiffon wrap-arounds.  Taking inspiration from Fiji’s natural scenery, she incorporates this in her prints, whose genesis was a Fiji-based natural pattern, photographed and then ‘distinctly altered to finalize each design’.  It was a doubler-effect that produced the final output, perhaps qualifying as crosses between bead and real, ikat, and hex honeycomb.  I thought this was splendid as they went together with the earthy tones and inoffensive risqué cuts used.  I particularly liked her white two-pieces with what looked like scorched suncup tips smeared all over.  We nVu, Heather, and we would … women, if every one of them had one of these!

Salty & Bare by Kayla and Marie
Traversing the waters constantly to be in Fiji and Australia is the hectic life of teen designers, fashionistas, and sisters Kayla and Marie.  This collection appreciates the natural beauty, particularly of the sea, that they’re privileged with in experiencing in both locales.  The colours lend an air of regality to it all – from purple, pink, blue, to black.  In print, there was a gradual shift between quasi-florals, to zebra stripes, to coral-bed inspired motifs - telling a beautiful story: of the tranquility they find within the hustle and bustle of a moving life.  However, don’t get me wrong.  I loved the cuts, but I found the models not doing them – in fact the whole outfit – justice in some instances.  I would also do away with the peplums as they hark back a trend of the not-so-distant past.  Otherwise, I’m in love especially with the summer dresses, midriff-pieces paired with vintage skirts, and sweeping-train chiffon kaftans. These are Island staples, and they look comfortably stylish – ticking the fundamental boxes of a resort wear collection. 

RES (Fiji) by Rosie Emberson-Semisi
It was predictable in some ways, in others not – great on both counts (for clarity’s sake).  The eponymous label (in acronymic form) boasted vibrancy by way of colour, bold prints, and patterns and cuts, evident of the works of a veteran designer and seamstress.  A follower of Fiji fashion, or at least Rosie’s put-togethers, would know of her love for variegated clothing.  I loved this collection, probably because I too am a stickler for bright Island wear.  However, what wow-ed me was that her style was like never before.  Models sported commanding knee-grazing blazers or coats; a few shoulder cuts were asymmetrical, teasing us with an edgy stint; and short-pleated mid-rise vintage skirts.  These statements are rather timeless pieces although modern,   with the archaic Fijian war club (I Ula Tavatava) motifs pressed onto the polyester/cotton fabric - adding that anachronistic effect.   Smart!  However, for me the only drawback was that I could not find a connection between the banana leaves and the iula tavatava.  Nonetheless, this was one of my favourites. 

Joan Ali by Joan Ali

A university Fashion major at Singapore, Joan Ali sought inspiration from her vibrant and natural childhood Fiji, and what a great source to draw positives from because although last to feature, was definitely not the least and probably the best, in my view.  I mean, you can use a variegated palette and go completely wrong, or throw the audience into a realm of fantasy, warranting a bouquet at your walkout.  The latter she accomplished!  I’m a logophile, but I’m lost for words.  Beautiful kaftans, mullet wrap-arounds, and fuchsia capes and trains, on which were beautiful floral and butterfly prints, covering neon two-pieces and tank suits, ‘topping’ things off with butterfly fascinators.  For a novice, what a start!  I’m looking forward to her bridal collection on Saturday. 


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