SPLENDOURS OF THE COMMONWEALTH EVENT CELEBRATES LONDON FASHION WEEK WITH DESIGNERS FROM AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH
Splendours of the Commonwealth (www.splendoursofthecommonwealth.com) is a showcase of talented and bright designers and models from the fashion industry throughout the Commonwealth. The result of a collaborative and creative eﬀort, it has brought together many of the CCLEF’s supporters and partners including the May Fair Hotel, which proudly celebrates its ﬁfth year as “Oﬃcial Hotel of London Fashion Week”, London Garments Expo, lead sponsor HSBC Bank plc. and Deloitte LLP.
The event promised glitz and glamour, fashion, musical performances and fund raising, and it certainly delivered. During the evening, designers from around the Commonwealth presented their work in a catwalk show, compered by Russell Amerasekera of Epiphany Presentations. The evening also included a pre-show reception, musical entertainment and a silent auction of art works created by pupils from various Commonwealth countries. The designers represented various regions in the Commonwealth: Sika and Tina Lobondi (Africa), Kitty Ferreira and Duchess (The Caribbean), and Ekta Solanki and Shipra Malhotra (Asia). Bags were by Sunita Mukhi from Malta, Europe while the exclusive ﬁnale was a stunning creation by Jenny Packham, one of the UK’s top British designers. London Garments Expo directed the designers and Commonwealth models who were recruited from London, while Southampton Solent University students donated their time and skills to the show’s hair and make-up design.
Judith Fisher, event organiser and CCLEF Hon. Treasurer said, “As a charity, we are fortunate to have had so much assistance from our sponsors, partners and supporters. We are hugely grateful to the May Fair Hotel owners for their generous support. We have also had the invaluable on-going direction and help from the London Garments Expo team. Such assistance, coupled with the equally generous sponsorship from our lead sponsor HSBC plc, and Deloitte LLP, have all contributed immensely to make this happen.” She continued, “Splendours of the Commonwealth 2103 is our inaugural event, a charity event to support our girls sponsored by the CCLEF. The response has been truly inspiring. We would like to thank our various partners including Blick Rothenberg, Cypher Design, Davy’s, Epiphany Presentations, Lola Royle, Madrinha Trust, Marie Claire, Market Accents, Neha’s Cooking, Real Events, Southampton Solent University Students, Sunita Mukhi, The Diplomat, The Sourcing Team Ltd, Trinidad and Tobago High Commission, WEConnect International and Wessex Design Associates Ltd.”
Among the invited guests were members of the Diplomatic Community from the Commonwealth, CCLEF supporters, and senior women in business and corporate life, including Baroness Jo Valentine, sports personalities Tessa Sanderson and Ade Adepitan and other celebrity guests. Present to greet the guests were CCLEF patrons, Baroness Betty Boothroyd and Baroness Shreela Flather, together with various members from the Board of Trustees.
Various art works were auctioned at the end of the evening through a silent auction. Guests also had the opportunity to buy the artworks which have not been included in the silent auction and participate in a draw. These art works have been specially created this summer by pupils from schools where there are girls currently sponsored by the CCLEF.
About the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF):
The Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF) (http://www.ccl-int.org/) is a secondary education sponsorship scheme for girls that has sponsored thousands of bright girls through secondary education since 1967. Today they are supporting 397 able girls across 25 Commonwealth countries. Without their help, these girls would not otherwise receive an education and their lives would be very diﬀerent indeed. Over 90 girls have completed their secondary education. Some will go on to university, others to training colleges: all should now have the ability to take greater control of their lives, increased knowledge, earning capacity and the opportunity to overcome poverty. Others have already reaped these rewards and are passing on the beneﬁts to their families and communities.
The CCLEF is the registered charity of the Commonwealth Countries League (CCL) which was formed out of the suﬀrage movement in the 1920s. The CCL promotes the education of girls and young women, and links together women’s organisations throughout the Commonwealth.
The CCL supports their work with the help of the High Commissions in London through the annual Commonwealth Fair and other fundraising events. Further information can be found on the website: www.ccl-int.org
Spotlight on Bahamian Designer: Duchezz
Fashion design & marketing graduate, Bahamian-born international designer Duchess Kerrol Williams Alonga creates beautifully ﬁnished garments under her low key, exquisite, haute couture label DUCHEZZ.
Following her specialised education in the ﬁeld of tailoring, she honed her talent by tapping into a wealth of experience during her time at two world renowned fashion houses (Vivien Westwood and Robinson Valentine). This allowed Duchess’s distinctive style to emerge, resulting in establishing her signature label in Bond Street, Mayfair London.
For over a decade, her designs were appreciated and worn by an exclusive small group with relative anonymity. Today, the brand is divided into three sections:
Duchezz Couture - formalwear which includes weddings, red carpet & pageants;
Heirloom -focusing on formal children’s wear including Baptism and 1st Communion; and
Resort - featuring casual smart, nautical beachwear.
Duchezz provides a bespoke service and each is individually crafted one on one of her signature design. All pieces are handcrafted by Duchess from the ﬁnest 100% natural ﬁbres.
Mrs. Dawne Bethel, spouse of the High Commissioner; Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth and Bahamian national Mrs. Wendy McKinnon at the Splendours of the Commonwealth event on Thursday 12 September 2013 at the May Fair Hotel in London.
Bahamian-born international designer Duchess Kerrol Williams Alonga, speaks about her collection at the Splendours of the Commonwealth event on Thursday 12 September 2013 at the May Fair Hotel in London.