Monday 23 September, 2019

K2K is bringing the Circus to town for The Greatest Show

Photo: Andrea De Silva-Viarruel

Photo: Andrea De Silva-Viarruel

The circus is coming to town for Carnival 2020 with K2K Alliance’s presentation of “The Greatest Show”. The 2019 Band of the Year titleholder launched its collection with a characteristically avant-garde production at the Queen’s Hall on Friday, August 30, 2019.

Amidst all the pomp and circumstance befitting a haute couture fashion show, K2K revealed a series of kaleidoscopic costumes that dominated the stage, enthralled the audience and did justice to the band’s three pillars - the fashion, the look, the mas.

“The Greatest Show draws on the analogy that life, with its myriad experiences is “The Greatest Show”,” says Kathy Norman, one half of the twin duo behind the band. “K2K’s campaigns for its 2020 collection are meant to be a visual storyboard relating current issues impacting society.” 

The band has long since rewritten the book on the band launch concept. In true K2K fashion the audience was treated to a masterful play that ventured far beyond the fanciful whims of modern day Carnival and returned to the festival’s storytelling roots.

Against the backdrop of a stimulating audio-visual performance that included poignant narrations, emotive dances and an eclectic soundtrack, the theme was revealed in dramatic style. 

Billowing fabric, vibrant prints, towering headpieces and intricate backpacks came together to creatively depict various circus characters and carnival rides. Through a combination of bold prints, bespoke accessories and intricate design techniques the presentation spoke volumes about some of society’s most pressing and prevailing issues.

“From inception, the brand has always focused on storytelling,” says Karen Norman, who, alongside her sister provides creative direction for the band. “We invest the time in storytelling with each collection, because it helps us relate social commentary and tell universal stories through an alternative medium which we love - art.” 

Photo: Andrea De Silva-Viarruel

Indeed, K2K’s use of Carnival - also dubbed “the Greatest Show” on Earth - to illustrate life’s many ups and downs, serves as a testament to the band’s unique ability to make powerful statements using the tools of their trade - fabrics and frames.

From the hot air balloon denoting the section, “Defying Gravity” to the colourful spinning wheels of a clown car used to illustrate “Send in the Clowns”, each section is a skilful demonstration of artistry and allegory. 

It is obvious that great care was taken to develop this particular narrative and the end result is a cast of characters with depth that everyone can relate to.

According to Kathy, “We each have a story, although many of us choose to keep that novel unpublished. As such, she says K2K aims to “tell some of those unpublished yet universal life stories. Stories give a new perspective; they provide inspiration; they bring to life prominent issues facing society; they help us discover that we are not the only character in this book called “Life”.”

“The Merry-go-round” for instance, “talks to life’s cyclical nature, with events sometimes coming back full circle.” While “Rings of Fire” serves as a reminder that “regardless of the degree of the burn, the individual proves that time and time again, that he/she is resilient.”

Just as they did with this year’s stellar presentation, “Through Stained Glass Windows”, K2K’s 2020 offering pays homage to the band’s ethos of “fashion meeting mas with a purpose to inspire, educate and stimulate conversation.”

Overall, the Norman sisters aim to provide their masqueraders with an experience that represents much more than glitz and glam.

“We want people to see a sort of familiarity – a carnival of yesteryear;” Karen says. “We want people to see a modernization of the art form. We want to evoke emotion through the art form. Ultimately this year, we want kids and adults to see the moving circus coming through the streets of Port-of-Spain and for onlookers to say –“Look! The Circus has come to town!”

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