THE Holy Trinity Cathedral was a mere tool, a conduit used to generate massive public interest, whether good or bad, in the Style Week Port of Spain fashion event.
This, in essence, was the view expressed by a man who was recorded in several voice notes originating from a WhatsApp group, as he sought to assure members of the WhatsApp group including models, co-ordinators and designers, following the controversial fashion show in the church on the weekend.
In the voice notes, which Newsday has, the man is heard assuring the models and designers that the controversy sparked from the fashion show inclusive of a bikini runway, would make the Style Week brand infamous. The voice notes alluded to an intentional attempt at holding a controversial show in order to gather maximum attention to the event.
The man tells the WhatsApp group the publicity of the church bikini runway show would ensure Style Week Port of Spain would be spoken of for months to come.
“This is your moment…when this is over, everyone will know your name. I will deal with the storm. You have to focus on dealing with the next step. Let people talk. That is how we will make superstars. We knew what we were doing by putting this event in that church.
“GET OVER IT”
“So relax and enjoy the free media…the only people who are really upset is old people because they remember the days when they looked so young. Any time they see a young girl looking sexy, they vex. The church is doing all kinds of things. How much young boys the church dealing with? Look, don’t get me started on them,” the man says in the recording.
“Before those pictures, a few people knew about Style Week…by the end of the day tomorrow, everyone in TT and the Caribbean – and a greater part of the Western Hemisphere – would know about Style Week. Style Week will now become this global sensation because we did something edgy and controversial. They are gonna want to see what we are going to do next,” said the man in the voice note.
The man said he intends to get T-Shirts with the words “get over it”, on the front, for models to wear to further gain from the controversy. This same quote was seen yesterday, as a hashtag, on the Instagram page of a female relative of Ellis Briggs, director of programming in Zetick Caribbean which organised the Style Week event.
Contacted yesterday, Briggs would neither confirm nor deny if he was the person speaking in the voice notes. He admitted knowing the event would be talked about, when he selected the church as the venue.
“I have had a million conversations with a million people over the last few days,” Briggs said, “But having an event like this was bound to be a publicity mechanism.”
He blamed the indecent types of bikinis on parade squarely on the shoulders of Adiola Monsegue who designed the bikinis.
“No one in their right mind would want to show their naked skin at a church. No one except for this designer. The important thing is who is responsible for what and what is the violation. The violation is a designer did not follow the rules,” Briggs said.
He said the clothing items were rolled out so quickly last Sunday that when Reverend Shelly-Ann Tenia messaged them to stop the show, it was too late, as all the models were already on the aisle.
Briggs reiterated that the designers were given guidelines for the use of the church.
However, the three designers involved, Monsegue, who heads Genesis Designs; Sheneika Mc Donald of Pulchritude Design House; and Sade Ellis of Sade Ellis Designs, yesterday said they were not told about any guidelines.
In a conference call with Newsday yesterday, Monsegue, Mc Donald and Ellis described the show as being poorly planned and said up until the last possible moment, they were not even sure whether the event was being held inside or outside the church.
“When they said Trinity Cathedral (was the venue) I didn’t think of it because I went to the same church and they held an event there in the yard. I thought they were doing the show in the yard. It was only on the night (Sunday) one girl asked me whether or not they should wear stockings.
“The co-ordinator was asking where their stockings were, and we said we did not know we were supposed to get any,” Monsegue said. She added that not only were the organisers aware of the collection and the way it was designed, but some in the organising team ushered the models on to the runway, which passed in front the Altar and down the aisle.
“One promoter even said they were going to finish the show with a bang, pick up their stuff and run,” Monsegue said. Ellis said from the moment she heard of the venue, she had a problem. She said she tried time and again to ensure that the church had approved of her designs, and even offered to send sketches of the outfits, for the church’s approval.
THREE TO REPENT
Shortly before she went on she was told of the guidelines and called her models to get stockings. “I even tried to pull out,” Ellis said, “but they told me it was too late for that. I regret not fighting back more.”
Mc Donald also said no one told them about the guidelines until it was too late. She said when she saw how the church was being used she complained and tried to leave, but the organisers cornered her and pressured her into continuing with the show.
“Nothing was sacred,” Ellis said. “Nothing was off-limits. You could have gone anywhere, sat anywhere, played any kind of music. I wish I had followed through with leaving. I am regretful.”
The three designers said they intend to meet with Rev Tenia to repent. They said they have already reached out to her and are arranging a meeting. All three designers expressed deep regret for their part in the entire débâcle and begged the church for forgiveness.
“I am very hurt about this,” Monsegue said. “I grew up in the church. My family is seeing this. My daughter is seeing this. We should have done better when we realised it was inside the church. People think we don’t care, but we do. I am so remorseful for what happened.”
LINK ORIGINAL: News day