Saturday, August 09, 2008

Elements Costume Review 2k9

Even though I had already seen a few samples of Elements costumes I was waiting until their launch to see what they looked like in reality (as opposed to sketches) before I critiqued them. As I said before, with their quirky multiple 'launches' , I believed that their launch would either make or break them.I also prefer to see costumes in close up in the camp before I offer comments but with my schedule I don't know if I will ever reach for this one. I did not attend the launch myself so I cannot speak to the quality of their production. Saucy has been a true carnival trooper and has stepped up to the plate to provide us with pics from the launch. Even with all the rumours flying about the bad blood between Elements and Tribe I was still hoping that Elements would put forward a competitive showing. I playing in Tribe for sure but if Elements did well they would surely have pulled some of the masqueraders from Tribe and reduce all the hysteria about getting into Tribe and made it easier for many people to get their choice of costume there. Sorry to say, from what I see, I don't think Elements has done me any favours.In recent times I have chosen to do reviews without pics because I tend to assume that by the time I post (and you read Saucy blog) you are more or less familiar with the costumes. It is also very time consuming, I think I will make an exception just this once....Without further delay......

CAESAR'S PALACE





















This was the costume that i saw on paper whose waistband was similar to Amalthea (Tribe 08).For this reason, I was already not impressed. I think this waistband would have been much more appealing to me without the cloth hanging. Not because it would make it more skimpy, but just because I think the cloth in front is hanging in a way that makes it look odd. The ones on the side seem to just be for coverage not decorative.It might help to add some longer strands of something over the cloth or to pipe the edge with something to bring it up a bit. I can appreciate the attempt at creativity for the bra, I just don't think it turned out very well.I can only presume from the above pics that there are two ways of wearing the bra. They basically just took a piece of cloth and draped it to one side in two sections and then added some diamante on top of it. The one on the left is more flattering but I would love to know if it will stay in place like that all day and how the finishing is at the back. The gold leaf at the bra wire line just cheapens it for me. The second version of the bra at right is just a mess. I don't want to believe that is how it is SUPPOSED to be worn.I don't care if you have big breasts or none at all, that just is not flattering. I also hope that the thing around her neck is facing the wrong way cause that is not attractive. Together with the waistband it just seems like a section created for those who play bikini mas and don't want skin exposed (which in itself is a contradiction).The headpiece is ok, but not great. It covers a whole lot of forehead so your tan lines will be horrible.( there are a few at Tribe you have to look out for as well).I think the whole monochromatic look just does not help this costume.I can't envision it standing out on the road.Overall, the design is a bit simplistic (simplistic eh, nothing wrong with simple).By that I mean something I would not expect from an experienced group of designers.

ROULETTE

What I like about this costume is that it is true to the theme of the band.It is one that I thought looked ok on paper and overall is one of the better costumes in the band.I like the contrasting red and black beading edged with the diamante . I don't know why the fringe seems to be of a more of a bronze/gold colour with translucent bronze beading (similar to Night Owl). I am presuming it matched because the diamante has gold backing but I think that it still threw it off a bit.The bra is made of black velvet as well as the gloves. I can see that holding quite a heat on the road.The bra straps seem to be unusually wide as well. The floor is shown with a small feathered back pack which is a nice deal for a floor section. I would love to know if that is standard or an option. It does clash a bit with the asymmetric head piece but its passable. The waistband back is a mirror of the front and literally has one diamante strand hanging. I don't particularly like the fringe on the head piece.The FL is featured with a very long bustier that is very nicely worked up. It is also made out of velvet with velvet gloves, again, heat insulators! This costume is all feathers and is very much representative of a vegas show girl. It has a bigger head piece and collar. I think the feather boa is an overkill.The FL headpiece is symmetrical but covers an even larger portion of the face.I believe the fringe is added to the bottom of the bustier and just a regular bikini bottom is worn. There is very little coverage in the bottom area.

SAHARA
This costume is also one of the better ones and was shown at Element's last viewing. As I commented before I was never a fan of this designers' costume but she has definitely improved with this production. The contrasting black and orange with the lace detailing on the bra was a good idea. However the waistband for floor section looks a bit scanty. Not sexy scanty , just lacking. It literally just has one strip across and 5 strips down. I think the bra straps could have done with some working as well. There is no other hanging beading or fringe anywhere on the costume.The floor headpiece has not a solitary feather which ,considering the rest of the costume (or lack thereof) is not an unreasonable request to get a feather or two. I also noticed that the headpieces used at the launch are bigger than what is on the website. An improvement or an option? Hmmm. Its nice overall but I think it could be kicked up a notch even as a floor.Skimpy = good, scanty= bad. It should be noted that this designer's floor costume usually has more to it i.e wings or backpack.The FL is an improvement of the floor but comparably a bit underrated for a frontline.I would have liked this more as a floor and something even more elaborate as the frontline. The monokini design is generally problematic but I can see from the pic it should be fairly simple to adjust in this case.The waistband is a simple feathered skirt which is too short to provide coverage in the back. This is a good example of a simple but pretty design.

LADY LUCK

Its always nice to see a purple costume but that is where their luck ran out.This a is a very generic costume and it seems like very little effort was put into it. Buy some appliques, stick two on the breasts, three on the waistband and voila! The hanging beads are pretty but not used very creatively . It would have helped if more were used to cover that very cheap looking bra. This is something I would have expected to see in Poison circa 1996.By that standard its great but by modern standards its below par. The head piece is cute but compact. I would have loved to see a FL version of this costume. Hopefully without a purple boa.....






CABARET



















I am not personally a fan of bustier costumes. From the pics that were featured in the daily papers I thought this was ok. I like it much less after seeing it on the Elements site. There are three different shades of blue or green in this costume. I am not liking the very dark green that is used for the appliques. I liking even less the long hanging beads which are gold/ bronze. Together they make the costume look very busy, especially the waistband.The colour combination seems a bit odd to me.This bustier at least seems to have bone in it, I just hope its of a good quality as well unlike Jamette (Tribe 07).The bustier also comes in a shorter version which does nothing to improve the costume overall. I noticed one version had a HUGE bamcee flap. I certainly hope this is an option cause that is just horrible. There is also a boa bamcee option. I know the boas are a popular feature of real vegas showgirls but I think its a bit of a cop out when you use it to make a frontline. In addition, the boa trend across the band is just played out. I should also comment the male version of this section...a teal tie, hat and suspenders is just poor.

TREASURE ISLAND
I don't know where to start with this one. This should be along the lines of 'Sunken treasure' (Tribe) but oh how I wish it was!! I personally think its horrible! I look at the pics on Elements site and i just ask myself WHY??? It seems like the bra is an orange base with gold shimmery doilies over it. Then they take One (1)applique, cut it in half and put it on each bra cup. Then you take some very tacky and cheap looking gold coins on chains and hang it to the bra.The sad part about this costume is that the appliques used are very much like what is used on Kiskadee (Tribe 09). How wrong can this get..you won't have to go far, just look at the waistband. More doilies and more hacked up appliques. That is just plain cheap. I don't even know what is up with that neck piece. The head piece is a mohawk style with a few long pheasant feathers sticking straight up. The length of the feathers seem to be almost overcompensating for the tacky costume.The nail in the coffin was the 'eye patch' option. I almost died laughing when I saw this. Are they even SERIOUS?? The model actually had on an eye patch on stage.How could this ever be cute or sexy?! Other than messing with your depth perception, that had to be the STUPIDEST thing ever! I would not be caught dead in this.I am quite sure that no man would be caught dead in their version either lolololol!
DEALERS
*SHAKES HEAD* and asks..WHY?? I don't know whose bright idea this was but this is just poor! You know them costumes that sell in Wonderful World in the plastic pack with things like 'sexy nurse' and 'sexy policeman'. This costume could be one of those. Something you might wear for fun on halloween, certainly not Carnival costume calibre. The thing that getting me about this is that is just a black,velvet waistcoast (notice a trend with velvet yet?? like they just buy one big bolt or wha??). I don't know why anyone would want to wear this for carnival. People doh wear things so to go in the club..or to work if you wear something under it! The waistcoat have a decorative piping but we lucky with get that!! Not an embellishment elsewhere!. The waistband is a couple of velvet half-circles strung together with some piping. Not a gemstone in it! Where them random hanging beads come out from, I eh know but they look like they borrowed 'ends' from one of the other costumes.The neckpiece is a bow tie with the beads (that doh match) hanging.AHMMMM. The bamcee piece looking oversized as well.The head piece is a head band with beads hanging and some asymmetric black feathers. The feathers have a few sparkles but just fail. The whole costume is dark and flat and will look absolutely DEAD on the road. And tell me if them wrist pieces eh come from the 'sexy french maid' bag.Why on earth they thought after all that , to pair the costume with fishnet stockings I have no clue! A guy on Saucy's blog commented that the men's costumes looked like they take a real dress shirt and cut it. I think he might be right!

JUBILEE
Boas...boas...and more boas.If you like boas..you probably should play in section. The colours of the costume are very similar to Caged Canary (Tribe 09) but the expanse of it is a bit overwhelming. The frontline and floor are almost identical with a few subtle differences.From the initial viewings of this costume i thought it could have done with some improvement since bra underneath the draped beads was devoid of decoration. Glad to see the frontline has a sequined bra but that still leaves the floor lacking. I actually initially thought the chunky draped beads was something interesting and different until I saw something identical used from a previous costume. That does not mean its not pretty, just not as original as I once thought it was.The floor has a smaller bustle with a feathered fan while the frontline has lots of boas stuck on the rear. I definitely think that is a bit weak for a frontline design wise..but if you like boas you would love it. I am sure this will be one of the better sellers and its also the all female section. I would love to see teh price difference between the two since its a bit cheeky to charge a frontline price for a sequined bra and gloves when the floor probably should have been done up so to begin with. The head piece also is blessed with cascading boas. I am wary about the hanging beads on it cause it looks set to give another bad tan! I actually really like the waistband. I think it will look fabulous on the road..once the boas don't get you.

QUEEN OF HEARTS
What would a band for 2k9 be without a monokini section??We have seen this trend in many popular bands and its not just for bigger people to cover up!!People of all shapes and sizes are loving these sections. I however, cannot say I love this costume.I am actually a bit disappointed because this was one of my picks based on the sketches. The plunge neckline of the sit is abound with frills. I do recall the Queen from Alice in Wonderland had a very pronounced colllar and I think they would have done better if the frills were wired to stand up more (as the sketch showed). Not that I even like the frills in the first place...Glad to see that the suit itself has a built in ring at the bust line which keeps things in place (unlike FL Cotinga!) . What I don't like is how in some pics the continuation of the frills around the plunge conflicts with the waistband. Maybe its just how the model wore it. I did note that the waistband is very similar to Jamette (Tribe 07) and uses the identical beads and possibly appliques. The website has another version of this costume which shows the waistband with a cutout frilled skirt...absolutely horrendous!!I really hope that the version shown at the launch is the final product!The headpice is a pretty standard feathered fan , nothing really going on here. I am sure this costume will have its lovers because of the styling, I just think more could have been done with it given the theme. I wish more contrast was given in this costume because it may look very flat on the road. No sparkles , no jewels..this is a Queen right ?? Why not drip her in diamantes? I think she need a boa.

MIRAGE



















This costume was one that was displayed at the last 'launch'. I did not like it then and I had faith that changes would be made to improve upon it. I still don't like it .The material used for the costume is just weird. Its a black and orange burnt out (velvet??!!) material that has a bit of a sheen on the positive areas. I can't even envision a couture evening gown in this number.It has an almost reptilian look.The bra only has decoration along the edges which seems a bit scanty to me. I guess they wanted to show the 'beauty' of the material. They have the famous side panels that connect the bra to the waistband but it wraps around the body.Of course , the persistent issue remains with getting the torso length correct and it also has very little decoration. The waistband is the same material and the only point of interest is the stylised cut out at the front. Its cute but does very little to help the costume overall. I think the design concept overall is good but I would have chosen a different material.I think they relied a bit too much on the material to make the costume because with the lack of decoration, in the dark ,it looks bare.Some pics show a bit more orange in the material in the light so I am hoping that it will reflect more colour in the sun. There is a one glove thing going on that is made of the same material. I say give the people their two gloves, it certainly can't hurt. Every other section has two! The head piece has feathered accents were created with orange and yellow feathers. This seems a bit off with the black based material because you have to really struggle to see how this ties in with it. I might have liked it more if it had black feathers in there but then it would have looked exactly like Sahara. At a glance at this costume you might think its another version of Sahara with the similar colouring. The collar is made of a choker with feathers. I don't like the choker as it looks like its choking and a bit much for the heat being made of that same material.The upright feathers are a nice touch.
Now the FL......SIGH....SIGH.....SIGH.....this need some pitch oil and a (lit) match.This is absolutely the scariest I have seen in a long time. Comparable only to the 'Chandileer' costume from Trini Revellers last year where there was a full sized chandileer on the headpiece. That costume is just sabotage. If I wanted to mess up somebody, I would give them that and say "It nice man". It was going ok yuh know.....the bra cup on one side was actually decorated but then it had this one sided monokini vibe. I could have lived with that..but then you see the other bra cup which is just a hot mess.Orange and yellow feathers with diamantes??? It was a stretch to tie in the feathers on the head piece but in the bra I think it was just atrocious. The head piece is tiers and tiers of orange and yellow feathers that look ready to fall over like the leaning tower of Pisa. Plus there is an orange and yellow backpack. But doh frighten, you get two gloves.Like Treasure Island I would not be caught dead in this costume.

BELLAGIO
This costume is a good example of a basic costume done attractively. Same applique and diamante formula but it was arranged in a way that it did not look cheap.The quality of the bra is still questionable however.I am not a great fan of the extra cord working on the FL but its ok. I am not impressed that the frontline is yet another boa bonanza. The frontline head piece does look nice and its a nice shade of blue.











SHOWGIRLS


I'm not sure if I should even bother reviewing this costume. Apparently its not really a costume as its 'by request' but the Lord alone knows what section you supposed to fit into on the road.Basically this is a sequined monokini plus a boa tail...It has a matching waistband and a head piece made up of ...guess what...boas. I don't know why anyone would actually want this outfit except for Monday wear. Or maybe you can get it early and wear the top to a Carnival fete.









Overall I think Elements failed to wow me and unfortunately they gave me a few laughs. I don't think this showing is good enough to have people 'bun out' Tribe and secure their spot in Elements. I don't like teh fact that many costumes were monochromatic and had little on no contrast within the costume. This may make them looked very bland on the road...carnival is after all colour! Several of their materials look like it was sourced locally which is all well and good if its to keeps the cost down. However a certain level of quality (visual and physical) has to be maintained and for many sections , this did not seem to be the case.If Tribe was sold out I would go to Spice or Island People..and if they were sold out I would go Evolution and then try buy a ticket to go Miami and then check Elements. My top picks would be Roulette,Sahara and Bellagio.The possibility of adding sections. Its better they just suprised people because to me that indicates that either they not ready or they not sure they will sell well enough to add another section. If I was them I would market that as the 'Secret Section' but clearly they did not hire me to do their marketing. I think the most disappointing thing is that I expected MUCH better considering the experience that the band members have collectively, especially design wise. In no way can you look at this showing as a 'first time' because of that fact. If you were , for argument sake to do that, then Spice has certainly outshined them.

I was not impressed when I read that only one section would be non-all inclusive.Sooooo when that section sell out....????Then the whole band all inclusive right? This is certainly not the impression they were giving ppl before. I find it quite hard to believe that by giving this 'option ' you limited what costume ppl could select. Could this be an indication of some financial issues? Maybe they did the maths and realised that non-inclusive option is not very profitable? If it was not for the embarrassment of renegging on their promises...they may very well have just gone all-inclusive.

A look at their website shows a very professional image with some very interesting member profiles.They are announcing online registration for OVERSEAS masqueraders. When you go to the link its just a badly laid out form that you fill out for someone to contact you. Not a very reliable way of securing a costume. Hopefully they will get that functioning to take payments online.(Paypal anyone??). I also noticed that many of the models seem a bit more mature than what we typically see for some of these 'hot bands' out here. Not that anything is wrong with that but it may portray them as such, a more mature band. I am not sure if that is the image they want especially if they looking to run up against Tribe and IP. Well we shall see how they go from here, only time will tell.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW... You pulled no punches on this one. Had me laughing all the way. Well said though.
Elements needs to scrap the band and come again. I am not willing to be stuck in band traffic when people not even wearing cute/sexy costumes.

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Excellent review! I don't know how you managed to write so much over so little to write about :P

Anonymous said...

that amalthea remix and the burning breast costume may be the ugliest things (lets not call them costumes) i have ever seen in my life.

who the hell gave these things the greenlight?

Anonymous said...

This was such a great article!!

I think what gets me the most about Elements is that their “marketing committee” keep trying to feed people nonsense about how these costumes are sooo gorgeous. These costumes are atrocious!!!

The design team behind this band….. you leave me speechless…and not in a good way. Where was the creativity here?

I am also disgusted with their lack of follow through .. one minute they say half the band is supposed to be all inclusive half having a cart option like Harts. Now it’s ONE section .. what the hell is up with that!?!

Can they be trusted to deliver on anything they say?

Elements has totally forgotten two things:

1. Carnival is about women.You please the women and give them fantastic costumes the men will follow and just like that you have yourself a following. It is a very simple formula….. and once perfected you should have no problems

2. From the very beginning I could not understand the direct hits they were making on Tribe, possibly thinking I suppose that Tribe was their direct competition. Einsteins never looked for Spice .. who are also new on the scene and their costumes are quite good. Guess who people will flock to first.

Elements a word of advice …..CONCETRATE ON YOUR COSTUME DESIGNS FIRST THINK ABOUT OTHER BANDS AFTER. One thing at a time and you seem to have your hands full at the moment.

Your other strategy really has not worked very well. You placed all eyes on you and then royally screwed up.

Tr|n|gYa| said...

Burning breast costume, LMAO

Fantastic work, CJ!

Sasha W said...

Great review. I know alot of people that were waiting to see what Elements would come with and from the two that I had seen on Saucy's blog I had a bad feeling about what they would come out with. And it turned out WORSE. I know one of the models (from the band launch pics) and someone on the committee and I am really shocked that they would associate their names with these costumes.