By: Claire Nenninger
Photos by: Luc Nikiema
To be perfectly honest, the most accurate review of the Diamante fashion show could be condensed into one short sentence: “You should have been there.” The show, held last Friday evening in Gaston Hall, was the brainchild of Kevin Martinez (COL, ‘20), and put on by Georgetown Program Board. The show was made possible with the help of many other students, organizations, and members of the DMV community. It featured 8 designers and various musical, poetic, and visual performances.
From the moment Howard student/model TK opened the show with a beautiful rendition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, until the closing remarks from Kevin Martinez, the show’s two and a half hours were packed with fashion, culture, emotion, and fun. The audience viewed the latest work of 8 local designers (626, Young. Wild. Genius., 2004 Uncle’s Clothing, Ideas Over Money, The Online Thrift Shop, Korougeaux by Joseph Green, Hoodlum, and Cleopatra Couture). Student performances included a dance routine by Francis Kendoll (COL ‘20) and backup dancers, campus acapella group REL with a solo by Juliette Browne (COL ‘18) that was dedicated to the victims of the Parkland shooting, spoken word performances by DeJaneal Brown (NHS ‘19) and Summer Time (COL ‘18), and a musical performance by Samaiyah Harpe (SFS ‘20), Tony Headly (non-GU), and Allison Parshall (COL ‘20).
The glue that held the show together was DJ Noble, a Howard student, who kept the vibes strong and the party going. Any breaks or transitions in the show were successfully filled with top songs new and old that at times made the show feel like a party too. The crowd was definitely feeling it and even got up to dance at times. Many people didn’t even leave during the ten minute intermission, instead choosing to stay and turn up with DJ Noble.
As far as the clothing, the designs ranged from casual streetwear and thrifted vintage, to formal suits and gowns, and even swimwear. The two lines that stood out the most were The Online Thrift Shop (TOTS) and Clyopatra Couture by Clyopatra.
TOTS was serving vintage nostalgic looks, complemented by retro boomboxes, video recorders, and polaroids; one model even took a picture of the crowd at the end of the runway (and I’m still dying to know how it turned out). This line not only had some incredible outfits, including matching monochrome skirt and beret sets, but the energy of the line was absolutely contagious. The models were clearly having a good time, DJ Noble put on some old school jams, and the whole room just exploded with excitement.
Clyopatra Couture presented both a swimsuit collection and an evening-wear collection. The styles were very modern, with lots of African inspired prints and pieces. The swimwear was fun, but the evening-wear was simply astounding. The dresses were versatile and bold, and one outfit was so powerful, the show featured it multiple times. It was a simple black leotard, a large African-print headwrap, and a bare hoop skirt. The other designer that deserves special recognition would have to be Hoodlvm by Syv for some incredible oversized puffer jackets.
The models did a fantastic job displaying all these looks, and while most were very much amateurs, there were a few phenomenal models who could maybe pursue a modeling career one day. They weren’t just models though, they were representations of something larger than fashion, and larger than Georgetown. There was a parade at the end of the Clyopatra Couture collection where models walked with signs that said “I am biracial,” “I am gay,” “I am African,” “I am Jewish,” and many other identities. This tied in all of the social commentary from throughout the show, and highlighted that diverse models are even more diverse than first meets the eye.
While overall amazing, Diamante wasn’t without its hiccups. There were some obvious mess-ups on the part of performers, models, and some technical difficulties as well. One promotional video played entirely through on silent at a time; to be frank, I don’t even think it was supposed to be playing at all. But these small bumps in the road hardly took away from the overall atmosphere and excitement of the event. For being the first event of this size and ambitiousness at Georgetown, one would’ve expected more mistakes. Plus some of the models’ slight trips or mistakes turned into spontaneous, genuine comedic relief.
The highlights of Diamante—those that will stay with me as I look back on this event—were DJ Noble, Summer Time’s spoken word performance, and, of course, the amazing fashion (The Online Thrift Shop and Clyopatra Couture in particular). If Georgetown Program Board continues to host annual fashion shows, I expect them all to be as groundbreaking and entertaining as this one (no pressure). And though that’s not to say that it was perfect, it was certainly fantastic. Was this the Georgetown event of the year so far? For me it was, but like I said, you’d have to see for yourself.