TALENT SHOW: Action from the runway, as Rolle strikes a triumphant pose next to a model sporting one of his creations. Below, the top three finalists. (Skkan Media)
His Trinidadian colleague Ryan Chan hits the nail on the head when he observes, “His aesthetic is pretty cool.” Global Purchasing’s Mercedes Gonzalez notes, “I think he hasn’t yet hit his full potential, but he has talent and drive.” They are both referring to David Rolle, the lavishly talented (and self-taught!) Bahamian designer who has been making a splash on the All Stars season of the Caribbean fashion reality series Mission Catwalk, which climaxes this weekend with the announcement of the big winner on TV-J (Saturday night at 8:30. Tune in.)
The season’s top three finalists – Rolle, Chan and Jamaica’s Renardo Lloyd – brought their A game to the runway at Devon House on Sunday for what amounted to a spectacular showdown, hosted by Kiki, that featured a splendid trio of 14-piece collections eliciting strong applause from the sizeable audience. By all appearances, these are skilled design talents serious when it comes to making their mark and ‘ruling the catwalk’.
While Chan captivated us with the provocative set of all-black looks that he sent down the runway, Lloyd had his gorgeous models channeling their inner ‘modern goddess’ in a range of finely tailored creations that defy easy categorization. But we were most impressed by David’s breathtaking seascape motif that gave full-bodied life to his vivid patterns and prints and all kinds of tropical blues and other hues. “I was inspired by the Indians that Columbus discovered when he came here, and so my main goal was to show the evolution of the body paint that they wore by fusing it with florals and prints,” Rolle tells TALLAWAH in his Bahamian lilt.
Watching the parade of models for the three distinctly original collections, audience members couldn’t help noticing that they each featured 13 females and a single male look. “The challenge was to create only one male look for the collection,” Rolle explains, “and we had to do it in 24 hours.”
David’s work speaks volumes of his impeccable craftsmanship, creativity and eye for female beauty. And the same goes for Ryan (“the drape god”) and Renardo (“a sophisticated, gentle soul”), who both have brilliant careers ahead of them. Come Saturday, any one of these three rising stars can top the competition and walk away with the over $1 million in cash and prizes.
When I ask David (a sturdily built chap with a booming voice) what it means to be a top three finisher on MC’s super competitive All Stars season, he doesn’t have to think about his answer. “It’s a stamp of approval. It means that your work has impact and is at a certain standard,” says the 27-year-old, who attended “government school” in his native Bahamas before embarking on his solo adventure as a creative artist determined to make a name for himself in the fashion world. “This season brought together the best of the best from the past four seasons, and to make it this far and to be in the top three is an award within itself. It is an unbelievable feeling.”