Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Where is my bamcee piece?

Lord knows I will always love playing mas, but if I see one more wire bra I am going to scream. What is irritating me more than anything is that the majority of frontlines appear to come with a wire bra. Since when did frontline=wire bra?  So everyone who wants a frontline costume supposed to want to wear a wire bra? Well designers guess what, not everybody wants their areolas playing peekaboo and to wear pasties an flasher insurance. Its not that I can't wear a wire bra, I still have the body for it (although that is not always a criteria) but I think I have my limits on exposure and level of comfort. There is probably one version of wire bra that I have seen that I would consider , which is the type used for Tribe's Amazonia/Amazon and even that I'm not sure how it will actually look on me. I don't even like wires in my regular bras so I'm not thrilled about wearing one all day on the road jumping. Well let's not even talk about the danger of them breaking or the fact that you if your decorations start to fall off you may end up wearing a towel across your chest or worse yet using a shoelace and duck tape to keep you strapped in.

It has been said that BBF mas is a degeneration of traditional mas. What is happening now, which I did not even believe was possible, is that we now seem to be going through a degeneration of bikini mas. It may surprise many to know that my first Carnival costume in Poison as a teen  back in the late 90s was also the first bikini I had ever worn in public since I was like 6. I must say I was a bit self conscious about it that first year despite I was like 100lbs wet. Back then the swimsuits  were just plain spandex with very little structure. You were lucky if it was lined  at all. The bra decoration largely consisted of regular round beads glue gunned to your top and maybe two appliques stuck for good measure. The waistband was a solid two inches wide with actual buckles and even wider towards the front. You were guaranteed to have a lot of beads hanging, a big piece of cloth or a awkwardly shaped piece of carboard hanging between your legs. And of course there was a bamcee piece. I am pretty sure there are many people who don't even know what that is. For those of you who don't, this was a small piece of square or triangle fabric with a ribbon across the top that was tied around your waist so it covered your butt. Your waistband was then placed over this. The point obviously of a bamcee piece was to offer some modesty to those who felt uncomfortable with their butt taking breeze. Oh how far we have come!

I can't say I did not contribute to the problem along with many others like myself. Even in Poison days we would modify our costumes to be 'sexier' which generally meant just trimming the fabric. I'm pretty sure I wore my bamcee piece up until I stopped playing with Poison. That was probably the last time I actually got one. Admittedly when picking costumes, I was drawn to the sexier or skimpy ones. My friends thought I was nuts the first year I had a particularly frou frou waistband and decided to come out Monday with just stockings and a bikini bottom. The very next year she was right there with me.

I will give Tribe all credit for being one of the first to outsource their bikini supplier so that women were actually able to get real bras as costume wear. Of course they appealed to the younger crowd with their sexier cut bikinis and smaller waistband. Well you know, I was in the front of the line to sign up. They were also the first to start using color variated beads and nicer gems. In many ways they raised the bar on what people expected in a costume. The all inclusive option did not hurt either. However, just looking at their costumes over time and looking at what the newer bands are producing outright, everything seems to have retrograded. The appliques are making a comeback, the bras are becoming smaller and the waistbands are non existent.  I think I was most disgusted when I saw one costume which had six strands of short beading as the rear cover for the waistband.I mean, why bother at that point? Best you just leave it completely bare.  We have actually reached the point of no waistband and a decorated panty so it won't be a stretch. Bras are coming partially undecorated or under decorated and even standard headpieces and foot pieces come as additional costed options now.There is a marked difference between sexy and skimpy and we seem to have gone beyond that and are moving into the flat out cheap zone which borders very closely to skanktopia. Even if the bands have options of monokinis or hot shorts, it does not take away from the fact that the waistband itself can be rolled up  in a ball and fit in your hand.

Maybe its cause I'm getting older and my carnival skettel style is a bit (just a tad) more reserved than in my 20s but realistically speaking I really wonder who these bands really expect to wear some of these costumes? I feel I hot and still won't wear some of that nonsense. When you have an entire band of wire bras and decorated panties is it that you are gearing your market only towards those 20 somethings? That would be all well and good if that's you're goal but then you look at a band like Bliss who generally has a more mature demographic and the costumes there also leave little to the imagination. Real, average women don't look like those models. Women over 30 who do look like those models have to work damn hard to get there and some are happy to use some plastic surgery to help it along.

I still like a sexy costume, I still wear sexy costumes at that. I would just like to see the bands give people a little more costume options and cater for those of all shapes, sizes and modesty. There are also skinny bitches who don't want all their ass outside! If i decide to strip down the costume then that is my choice. When you don't give people any costume to start with then you're people are going to start to either think they're not getting value for their money or that they only want a women who look a certain way in the band. How come I don't get a bamcee piece in my box anymore? It's not like the costume cost is getting any cheaper as these costumes are getting smaller! Looking at some of the prices next to some of those costumes is laughable. Is better you gave me a T-shirt and tell me cut it up how I want cause I paying to drink and wine on the road. Give us 5 years and we will all be looking like 1980s Poison again.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


To be honest, I did not know what I was getting into when I left home to attend Yuma's band launch. Having only been there the first year and missing last year while I was incapacitated, I was pretty much shocked when the closest parking spot I could find to QRC was almost at Wild Flower Park. The set up that greeted me inside also showed that this was a big deal. The stage was huge with the backdrop towering almost to the height of QRC itself.  Sponsored stations, raised bars and fully covered floor. Not only were they quite a number of people inside, they seemed to be having a ball long before the show even started. This certainly was not the "Chic Carnival" from the night before.  There was a whole lot more energy in the air along with some stilettoed heels. The Bloggerati were fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of the costumes backstage before the show started. We were then hustled back to stage side for the stage show. It was then we were tortured in the sweltering heat to await the arrival of the parliamentary elite. I swear I almost just left at that point since I had already seen most of the costumes. I am surprised I did not see anyone pass out just from that outdoor sweat box. The show itself was a bit drawn out and that would have been fine if I was not forced to hear most obnoxious running commentary from a very flamboyant individual who thought himself to be the new Minshall. Fortunately the heat did not seem to dissuade anyone from having a time, and the party went on pumping long after the show was over.

Now about these costumes....I am really kinda getting tired of the backlash that we all seem to get whenever one of us posts our honest opinion about costumes. Considering what has been said online about Yuma via the Trinidad Carnival Diary page and its associated Facebook fan page I also am a bit at odds about doing my usual costume by costume review. I definitely have to concur with many of the points made in Saucy's review. If is one thing I always say, at the end of the day, everybody have two eye in their head and is free to form their own opinion about the costumes, whether love it or hate it. Any opinion put forward here, is MY opinion which some people may but some weight on but everyone is free to think otherwise.

So I think maybe this rounds I will keep things a bit more general. We were told by one of the committee members that their goal was to keep things cute and simple. I can respect that ideology because unlike Saucy I get very irritated very quickly by too much costume on the road. You would really wonder why I still insist on playing in a frontline year after year. However, I would have to agree with her that Yuma has set a bar for themselves laid out by their previous designers which unfortunately they may be held to forever and ever. Anything less is certainly going to be criticised by the masses. I also understand why that may have had to happen because from a business standpoint, you really can't stay in business for very long with overblinged, over feathered costumes (*cough*) if you can't charge for it at a pricepoint that still makes it competitive with other band and/or sell the volume needed to make up the difference. I think that their previous design team has a signature style that is unmistakable and it was noticeably absent from the presentation. Although I think the new design team did a pretty good job, I think for many Yuma regulars the scaled back costumes with a different design style may have been a bit much for them to take in all at once. I don't want to harp too much on the lack of theme. I think that would be an easy fix by at least naming the costumes in a way that somehow linked them together. I am perplexed by what "Desert Storms" have to do with "Hidden Secrets".

The things I did like were the variations in body wear for both backline and front lines. A few sections have different cut bra options. Crazy Heart has a fantastic monokini as the back line. I like that the designers were inspired to try different materials like the denim, the chain mail, the mirrors and some textured fabrics. Some worked better than others. Although I liked the chain mail on the  Crazy Heart monokini and I loved the style of the optional bikini bottom, I did not like how the chain mail fell on the bikini version, it just appeared unfinished. I loved the cutout bikini bottom and neon color of Aurora. I am a  bit afraid of that cut out wire bra though, it looked fine on the model but women's boobs come in all shapes and sizes and wire bras are notoriously unforgiving. I can see boobs pushing through those spaces like toothpaste. The denim costume has a very interesting rear view which you unfortunately can't see

Some of the things I did not like were the use of  lot of plastic straps for several of the  costumes. I hate plastic straps. One, hey we can still see them, they did not disappear! Two they make you feel sweaty and cut into skin. Three, they do not hold up well under pressure i.e they buss easily on the road! In all fairness I was assured that masqueraders would be given both regular and clear straps and you would pick your poison. It would be a good idea to walk with the regular set if you choose to go clear cause I'm just having flashbacks of how much of a nightmare that was. It's an easy fix as well so I won't hang them for it.

I also did not like the use of hardware as waistbands. I believe this was a bit of a trademark if one of the designers. Don't get me wrong, I like how it looks but for the same reason I don't like clear straps, it just does not seem very practical or comfortable. I just hope it has enough flexibility to not scratch/stab the wearer throughout the day when they're actually bending over and wining and not just standing looking pretty. Some other practicality issues include how they plan to cater for adjustments in the several monokini styles in the band. As much as I like how monokinis look, I have very rarely found one off the rack that actually fits me. This is especially true for Hidden Secrets which is racking a trifecta of clear straps, wire bra and a connected body wear. Too many variables if you ask me.

These very 'cute' costumes also translated to designs that I think would appeal to a younger audience. As much as I love the colors of Nyx, I really am not feeling the frills. I am sure it will have its appeal , just not quite my style. What really ruined this costume for me is the backpack which I think is awful. It looks like it got wet down before it got to the stage. It looks dead, it definitely needs some volume and some height. In the same line  I also highly dislike the tutu in Magic Waters back line. This section is actually one of my favorites but the tutu and crinoline and nothing else on the bottom? Ugh! Again, if you're a smallie you might love it.

Ok so in terms of my favs. I would go with Magic Waters. I love the cut of the bra and I think it definitely was going in the right direction from what I expected to see from Yuma. I love the collar. I would however like to see a proper waistband for both frontline and backline even if its an option. I do like the use of fabric on the frontline as it has a nice flow but it seems a bit under decorated. Maybe a jewelled chain belt or something that I could use with or without the fabric. (In the event that the fabric soaks up some canal water on the road).

I would also give a vote to Iris. I like the yellow with just a touch of Purple. Although the gem design is standard fare I really like the fabric pieces which you can tie in several creative ways. This costume is pretty well accessorised as well and has one of the bigger head pieces.

My next pick would be Eden as it is a very pretty costume despite my issues with the waistband design and the fact that the backpack has been replicated once more. I'm gonna let those things slide as the end result is overall attractive.

Honorable mention for Aurora and Galaxy because I also think they were on the right path and stopped a bit short. I think both frontlines need a bit more to it. Either bigger arm pieces or a collar/backpack. Same can be said for Mirror Mirror.

Overall I think they are all wearable although they may not all be wow. At the very least , all costumes should have a necklace, armbands and foot pieces. Now if the pricepoint is proportionately less than previous years there may be some appeasement of the masses who may feel they are being shortchanged by scaled back costumes. If wearing a nice costume is good enough (assuming they are priced reasonably) and you are out to have a good time then Yuma is still a good alternative to other bands. If nothing else, a good time was had by all!

Check the galleries online for pics cause we have yet to see the professional pics posted by Yuma. Props to them for showing different views of frontline and backline in their brochure!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bliss Savage Beauty Review

I was very surprised when I heard Bliss' launch was to be held at Hilton, I was even more confused when I saw it was Hilton's ballroom and not poolside as most fetes are typically held. It was actually quite underwhelming as I approached the entrance because they were not able to decorate to make an entrance with impact as they typically try to do. Some blue lighting give it a bit of ambiance but for the most part it could have been any generic cocktail party. I immediately felt claustrophobic walking into the room because of that low ceiling. Fortunately I had some Punchy Punch shots upon entry to take the edge off. You could see the stage set up had to be scaled back as well and I was a bit worried about how they were going to manage with some of those bigger backpacks. Loved the use of the shadow boxes to display the costumes. I was not really surprised when we did not get to see any of the individual costumes as with the TRIBE launch.
The crowd itself was an interesting mix with both a younger crowd and a more mature crowd with some sprinkles of the inbetweens. Early on you would have really thought it was just a cocktail party and I guess the environment kinda forced that upon us. It did not help when the Dj announced the start of the show way too early and people started gathering around the stage basically just standing around waiting for the action to start. As much as we tried to break the monotony by visiting the bar, I was most horrified to see the cost of the drinks. Word on the street, Bliss being treated like the outside child again, had not organised a bar license in time and was therefore forced to go to a venue with an established bar license. Therefore we were being presented with Hilton bar prices which ran $55 for a Johnny Walker, $25 for a red bull and $5 for a doubles. (yes $5). For those who might have been in shock, there was a resuscitation device on hand in the form of blasts of air straight into your face while standing at the bar. Well they got one big steups from me and I realised I would be the night's designated driver. For those who were I imagine that is why the vibe remained as social as it did for most of the night. To be honest, I'm going to give all props to Punchy Punch for saving that party because the people who seemed to be having a really good time were those who had a bottle of Punchy punch on hand for sharing. So after almost falling asleep on myself, we finally got to see the costumes:


 I am a big fan of prints in costumes especially animal prints. So i was very interested in seeing what this costume would actually look like. I must say I love how it came out. Love the style of the monokini. I really like how the pattern on the bra ties into the collar. At the show, I heard a few ppl gasp at the thought that the collar was made of fur. I think its absolutely fantastic that the illusion of fur was created with feathers. The beauty of this costume is all in the collar.  Also its a very road friendly costume and you should be comfortable enough to wear this costume all day. One of my favs.


 Prior to the show , I heard rumors that this designer had an ugly costume. And to be honest, i have never been a fan of most of her work in the past. however I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. I really liked the colors, the halter bra is well decorated and the waistband, although its pretty standard, its attractive. The accessories really take this costume up another level. Definitely a safe choice.


 We have been seeing this color combo quite a bit in recent times but I really like it nonetheless.  I think this costume is also a nice compact frontline that is very easy for on the road. I really like the style of the wire bra. The tassels on the sides of the waistband are really cute.

Love!Love! Love! The body wear on this frontline is amazing. A very interesting choice of colours for the animal in question and I think it works well. Love the headpiece design and its very much on point with the theme.I had mixed feelings about the cape because I generally don't like that accordion fabric but in this case I would totally rock it. I think the color and the iridescent finish make it work and it ties in well with the Cobra image the costume is trying to portray. I  must also make mention of this backline version cause its just as awesome. Love the tassels and the neckpiece. This is hands down my favorite in the band. And Punchy Punch involved here as well? You can't lose here. This section may have he most vibes in the whole band.


Still one of my favourite in the band. I like how even though its an aquatic creature you get a tribal look. Love the variation on the halter bra on the back line.


This costume is all headpiece. It's ginormous. It looks gorgeous but I hope who ever signs up is prepared to commit to it on the road. I have noticed ruffles are quite popular  this year and I'm a bit on the fence about them. I think I like this costume better without the ruffle in the middle but I like the ones on the sides. Its an easy fixed. Really like the decoration on the bra. The backline costume is really cute.


I'm really liking the yellows this year for some reason. I was a bit confused when I saw the wings cause clearly it looks like it should be in Tribe. I understand it may be a marketing thing but it really just made me feel that they compromised on the theme. The body wear is pretty but very skimpy. Another situation where you need to look like the model to pull this off. She really worked those wings as well. WTF is up with those long pieces hanging from the end of the wings??? No only is it a trip hazard but can you imagine that dragging along the streets of Port of Spain all day? Gross!


 I think this may be my least favorite costume of the lot. I  like the design of it but I am not feeling the primary colors. There is a splash of orange in their as well and I like the striped feathers. Interesting use of the cords. The color ruins it for me.


I really like this one as well. It has a bit of an Amazon/Amazonia feel to it but that was a great costume as well. Good mix of colors. Love the frontline bra.

I am really glad that Tribe made the effort to give Bliss masqueraders some really competitive options when it comes to costumes. That way people can focus on their preferences in terms of the road experience they are looking for as opposed to where has the better costumes. I am a big fan of the Bliss idea and I think we are seeing a big improvement on how Tribe is managing it. They seem to have finally gotten some respect but in some instances I still feel like they get the short end of the stick. Perfect example being the launch which seems very thrown together last minute. I know one of the other biggest complaints is the vibe is lacking and the age group is generally older so it probably was a good move to pull the Punchy Punch section from Tribe and put it in Bliss. That should help fix both of those issues. Adding Private Ryan to the line up will also go a long way. I can't speak for what their ultimate goals are but I was always confused why they basically phased out the older members of the committee and placed them with Bliss and left a younger committee with Tribe. It should have been no surprise that older people who end up signed up in Bliss and younger in Tribe because that's who they are friends with. If you want it to be more mixed then the committees need to be mixed as well. If that was the intention to separate older from younger well they did a good job with that. I might be a bit concerned now, cause with the older crowd locked, I wonder how many of them will feel comfortable in some of those costumes.They are all attractive but not very modest.

My Favs : Queen Cobra, Luna Moth , Lionfish, Jewelled Anenome