Alright allyuh...yess I tired get buff!! Yes I does stick !! Yes I was MIA from all the comments pages on the carnival blogs. But doh frighten I here now and its a good time as any cause I had the chance to get a sneak peak at the little soiree that Elements had yesterday to show their costumes. If you know anything about me , or this blog, you know I always call it as the cards fall (no pun intended). So here we go....
So I get the invite to come and look at the ppl costumes. I honestly was under the impression that it was a private section launching for the section for Black Velvet. My friend informed me en route that it was for the entire band and I was too glad to macco. However I was confused as to the purpose of the event if they had a media launch two weeks back. I consider that as a 'do over' for their previous band introduction event in 51.Why show more costumes and almost ALL costumes if your formal launch is 8th August? Spice had a media launch and showed costumes and I did not see any additional costumes from them until the formal launch. Today was the FIRST day that we got a official sneak peek at Tribe's costumes and its the day before launch.Anybody even know what IP doing? Cause they under REAL lows. I really could not see how this was supposed to benefit them. I can only presume that maybe they wanted to show ppl their cards before Tribe launch to show that they have good things coming too.
The event was held at their mas camp on Ariapita Ave/Lewis Street where Genda was formerly located. After fighting up for a parking spot we made our way to the camp. My first impression was that this VIP event was bracing ppl at the door. There were about 20 ppl on the pavement outside. Then i discovered that there were about 100 ppl packed into a box of a room and that it was just ridiculously hot inside. We were ushered into the packed room to see the costumes. It was quite odd to walk into the room and see the larger portion of the ppl inside standing all facing in the same direction. Along the wall perpendicular to the entry door were about 6 sketches of costumes. Yes I said sketches.I was instantly disappointed because I had not seen sketches since Poison circa 1990s (and they still had prototypes up). I was quickly informed that at some point in the night , live models would be showing the costumes. Nonetheless I took a look at them. I generally reserve comment for when i see the real costume but in this case we has few options. Of the sections on display on paper there were a few that stood out for me..Jubilee, Queen of Hearts and one other whose name I can't remember. I found these costumes interesting because they are visually different from what we typically see. Several of the them had feathers used in the details and some form of 'collar' or lapel. But of course you can't tell much from a letter sized picture. It was also interesting to note that the costume shown at the media launch ,Cabaret, seems to be intended as a more lime green colour. I applaud whoever told them to make it more teal. I personally don't like bustier costumes but thats because I think they are too hot for me on the road, I have no tuttuts to put in them and anything that covering my stomach which is one of my better features is a no no. The danger with them from a designer stand point is in the quality of the actual bustier being used.(refer to Jamette disaster). I hope they have a good supplier! I got a few opinions around and generally people were not blown away. i.e. I did not speak to anyone who told me "OMG I HAVE to play in that section". I actually had one person who was affiliated with members of the committee who said that after seeing the pics they want to stay with Tribe. I am sure they had their fans as well but the sample of ppl I spoke to were none of them.
The heat in the place completely discouraged most people from liming inside even though they had a decent small bar going. When I returned to the side walk , the crowd outside had doubled. So we loitered outside until they presented the models. So from outside I could not hear all the commentary (so i had to get filled in after) but I did see the costumes. First up was Sahara in orange and black. If I am not mistaken this was designed by Stacy Des Vignes (of Tribe Luna/Majorette fame).The headpiece is gorgeous flat out and as you should know for obvious reasons. For those who still lost, Douglas who used to design Tribe headpieces/backpacks is part of the Elements committee. Now I believe they had two versions of the same costume. They are both very attractive. The only criticism I have is that some elements (no pun intended) of the costume has been used in past designs but I won't damn them for it because we see this happening in all bands to some lesser or greater extent. It only have so many costumes you can make. The first option had a waistband similar to Goddess and Defenders (IP 2007) with a row of big gems connecting the center of the bra to the waistband. The second option had a waist band and arm/leg accessories similar to Pride (IP 2006?). The neck decoration was reminiscent of JabJab (Tribe 2007) but in feathers. All together it looked good. I have never been a fan of feathers personally because of what happens when it rains (i.e wet fowl syndrome) but I think compared to her past designs this is the best she has ever produced and I see no need for any tweaking. I did note that the bra top on one of the girls did not fit very well and was riding up in the back but I suppose it was not really made for her specifically. The models themselves should have been given a bit more direction because they looked completely confused and unprofessional. On reaching the doorway one said aloud to herself," Do I have to go on the pavement? I don't want to go outside. Ok I am not going out". She later came back out onto the sidewalk after presumably being instructed to do so with the sizable crowd outside. Another model was nervously telling ppl hi as she came outside and posed as if she was goofing off. I hope their runway show is better rehearsed. I did not even attempt to be 007 and take pics because ppl were being monitored. Pictures were forbidden. I think this costume looked was worth seeing in real life because the paper would not have done it justice. At the same time, they needed more than that to sell me on Elements.
I was hoping this would be the case with the next costume,Mirage. I think it was a bAAAAd idea to show another orange and black costume. They really needed to show their depth and variation as a band. A Mirage it was indeed cause I had some trouble deciphering what I was seeing. In general I like the overall design. It was designed by Charlene Lum Wai and was similar to her previous 'Cow Mas'(Tribe 2007) which had the top connected to the waistband in an almost waist coast fashion. There is however an inherent pitfall with this sexy design. It is very difficult to get the torso measurement right so that it fits different ppl correctly.If its too long then it bunches up, if its too short then it has your waistband too high. This has been the case with Arabian Nights(IP), Achaen Odyssey (Tribe 2005, first eg.!) , Isis (Tribe 2008) and of course Cow Mas. On the road for Carnival, many ppl cut their Cow Mas costume in half because of the problems. And while I still think Isis came out beautifully and it is an attractive feature, at the end of the ppl are generally not happy with the fit. The waistband has an interesting stylised cut out in the front. The headpiece is of course great. What I believe will be the 'make or break' of this costume is the material used in the ensemble. You will either hate it or love it. I was a bit disappointed because in this case the picture looked better than the prototype. The most diplomatic description I can give of the material is 'different'. I am not sure if the material is made like that or if it was pieces of one material cut out and stuck to another. Later on I was asked for my comments by a committee member and I told them as much. I was then informed that some of the photoshoot pics were running on a dvd inside and that I should look at that and judge seeing that the costume was shown in a better light. I did so and honestly, it did very little to help their case.
If it was Elements effort to put forward their best foot to wow people into pledging their allegiance to them or even to ensure ppl keep and open mind prior to the launch of one of their biggest competitors then I am sorry to say they need another 'do over'. They would have fared MUCH better if they had just waited to the launch and given us a fabulous show. I think the modern medium to large Carnival band is way past sketches.People have a level of expectation to see prototypes and at the very least professional studio shots. It was not the least bit reassuring to see just sketches cause that gives me the impression that they don't have things together. The showing of the costumes they did have came across as if to say "Look, we really have costumes". Showing 3 costumes with the same colouring did not help their case either. Why not include the costumes from the media launch? None of the 4 other ppl I was there with were at the media launch so what was there was their main impressions of the band. The space was way to small for any practical event with that number of invited guests. And really and truly if you just happened to stop by on your way to Coco Lounge or Cro Bar no one would have known if you were invited or not cause they never checked anyone.
In comparison to the another newbie band, Spice, their marketing has been superior. Have you seen their website???!!! I have yet to hear of a website from Elements. (A facebook group does not count especially when your ppl send vague messages in an unprofessional format). I am still keeping an open mind until the launch but it goes without saying that if Elements want to be in the same Universe as Spice or Tribe or IP they need to get it together real fast!