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!