Saturday 17 November, 2018

Peter Elias returns to the mas with Dastkaar in Lost Tribe’s TAJ

Peter Elias makes final adjustments on female costume option. Model: Jenique Duval

Peter Elias makes final adjustments on female costume option. Model: Jenique Duval

Caribbean designer and stylist Peter Elias, re-enters Carnival for 2019 with Dastkaar, a section in Lost Tribe’s TAJ.

Elias, who has designed for Tribe in the past, has brought his flair and drama with this year's presentation. We spoke to Elias about his return. 

What Prompted the Return?

 “First off, I love the work being done by the Lost Tribe, Valmiki Maharaj has a great vision and has created a strong brand footprint for the band in the Carnival Landscape. The band is a great combination of the traditional elements of mas with a unique and bold modern aesthetic. When my friend and associate Adrian Raymond approached me to design a section to be marketed by his team at Oye Promotions, I of course said yes, Adrian worked with me and Allison Brown for close to decade on Miss Trinidad and Tobago and he also was part of my team, when I produced my section for Tribe. Adrian offered some preliminary concepts and touch points and we used those as inspiration to create the final designs”

The Inspiration

Elias was attracted to the aesthetic and the story of the lead artisans, many of whom history suggests were Persian or Turkish. “What drew me in was the boundless energy and passion that these artisans gave to their work; some records have suggested that over 20,000 toiled night and day, seven days a week for over two decades to complete this magnificent internationally revered monument.  

The artisans and their passion and energy then became central to Elias’ approach to the design. “We wanted to create a costume with a combination of Turkish/ Persian and Indian influences, that had an effortless movement and we also wanted it to be beautiful, dramatic but super easy to wear. The idea was to create something that made the wearer feel gorgeous, was on theme and allowed for the fluidity of motion and I think we created that.”

A Costume for Every Body

As is the mark of Elias’s design approach, the costume ensures inclusivity and body positivity across the board.  “I think every man and woman regardless of their body type, complexion, height or hairstyle will look amazing in the section. The silhouettes, cuts, colours and prints chosen were designed to work for everyone. Even the headpieces (wraps) can work for long, short, natural, processed or locked hair.”

The Elements of the Costume

Accessories, accessories, accessories! Both the men and the women get an abundance of jewelry and accessories with the costume, including custom designed body rope leis and necklaces from Jewellery Artisan Jeneile Mccarthy. 

“Jeneile has a very clear aesthetic and fashion viewpoint. She was able to bring her own dynamic design perspective and has created distinctive and beautiful pieces that add to the texture and richness of the costume," said Elias.  

The other elements of the costume are also very light and allow for effortless movement, drama and “INSTAGRAMABLE” moments on the road.

Value for Money

Elias has built one of the most successful retail fashion brands in the country and he has used that business acumen for his costume as well. “I admire the fact that our people commit thousands of dollars to wear a gorgeous costume on the road every year and one of the things I love about Lost Tribe is that many elements of the costume can be repurposed and integrated to create very fashionable statement-making looks outside of Carnival. I think it would be very easy for our masqueraders to take practically all elements of our costume and use them again for the right occasion. We have to mindful that in this current economy, many persons are being much more discerning about how, where and on what they spend their money. I believe all businesses have to rise to the challenge of creating a product or service that gives the consumer value for money along with extended and multiple uses. “

Looking forward

Elias, like most designers, finds the greatest joy and satisfaction in seeing his vision come to life. 

“When that section hits the streets/stage and I see my masqueraders’ unbridled joy and unencumbered energy, that for me will be my nirvana moment, trust me that never gets old, it’s always a wonderful high point of my year," he said.  

Dastkaar storms the stage for Carnival 2019 with an explosion of energy, colour and movement as part of Lost Tribes 2019 presentation, TAJ the timeless symbol of one of the greatest love stories ever told.

Dastkaar is a section in Lost Tribe’s 2019 Carnival Presentation TAJ. Dastkaar is marketed by OYE Promotions and you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.