Shawn Dhanraj debuted his first fashion collection “Dhanraj Season: A Love Affair” last weekend at The Residence in Trinidad and Tobago.
The 24-year-old designer, who has a sizable social media following thanks to his popular costume creations in the international Carnival circuit, launched his fashion line of formal gowns at an intimate black-tie event for specially-invited guests – including Sandra Carr, Programme Leader of the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design at the University of Trinidad and Tobago; menswear designer and style arbiter Anthony Reid and runway savant Nigel Celestine, among others.
Patrons at the lavish affair were treated to quite the surprise, as several past beauty queen representatives from Trinidad and Tobago walked the runway as feature models for the big fashion reveal from Dhanraj.
Some of the familiar faces included Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago 2014 Jevon King (who is expecting her first child); Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago 2011 and Miss World Trinidad and Tobago 2008 Gabrielle Pollonais (née Walcott); Miss World Trinidad and Tobago 2014 Sarah Jane Waddell; Miss Earth Trinidad and Tobago 2004 Leah-Mari Guevara, Best Model Of The Universe 2013 Soowan Bramble and the beloved philanthropist author Miss Universe 1998, Wendy Fitzwilliam.
“Women deserve to be celebrated, no matter what season they find themselves in.”— Shawn Dhanraj
In a touching post on Dhanraj’s Instagram page @_shawndhanraj_, Fitzwilliam said that it was her pleasure and honour to walk in the Dhanraj Season showcase. “Thank you for including me, Shawn. Your tremendous talent is only surpassed by your humility, Every single garment… so intricate, creative, spectacular and a true celebration of femininity,” gushed the stunning beauty queen in her dedication.
According to Dhanraj, who spoke to BUZZ after the launch, the collection was a tribute to the leading women in his life who have inspired him to relentlessly pursue his dreams – including his mother and late grandmother.
“‘Dhanraj Season’ represents those stages of love for the long, winding process that creatives go through, and “A Love Affair” is me creatively expressing those experiences through my passion for fashion design,” he explained.
A bevvy of designs graced the runway on Saturday evening, featuring bold appliqué, timeless pearls and seamless beadwork used against delicate materials such as lace, tulle and silk. Some of the dresses embraced the boldness of metallic details, while others were classically feminine and ethereal.
“I wanted the collection to give a very opulent feel because women should always feel beautiful in a Shawn Dhanraj design. Women deserve to be celebrated, no matter what season they find themselves in,” Dhanraj says of his one-of-a-kind creations which are custom made to order.
Under his new fashion label, Dhanraj also plans to follow-up with a release of Monday Wear designs for Trinidad Carnival 2020 in the very near future.
@tenilleclarke1 on Instagram/Twitter
Tenille Clarke is an avid wanderlust, Carnivalist and cultural enthusiast who pens about her ongoing love affair with travel, culture and entertainment through a Caribbean lens. She is the Principal Publicist of Chambers Media Solutions and Managing Director of Industry 360.