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60 lime January - March 2009 FASHION 5 Sonia Noel TIMELESS Guyana- born Sonia Noel, who now lives in Barbados, is one of the Caribbean's best- known designers. Her fashions – marketed under the label Mariska's Designs, and consisting mostly of casualwear such as swimsuits, cocktail dresses and formal attire – have been featured on catwalks in St Maarten, St Lucia, St Vincent, Jamaica, St Kitts and St Thomas, to name but a few. " Last year, my collection featured black and white. It's timeless. This year, it's animal prints. Tiger and leopard, in dresses, shoes and bags," says Noel, who owns and operates two boutiques, Mariska's and Mariska's on the West, in Barbados. Like many other designers in the region, Noel's surroundings serve as her inspiration. " Flora, fauna, the eco- tourism theme, this is what inspired this year's collection, which led to the design ideas that came to my mind as I took various fabrics in hand," she adds. 4 Teasea Bennet ONE OF A KIND JEWELLERY Colours. Chunky. Organic. These are the adjectives Jamaican jewellery designer Teasea Bennett uses to describe what's in fashion in Caribbean accessories. " Nature now sets the pace as designers opt to use natural raw materials, due to the negative shifts in economies and high costs of precious metals such as gold and silver," says Bennett, who started the Reve jewellery brand in partnership with her brother, Duane, in 2006. Bennett says: " Bold colours and chunky dramatic pieces are recognised worldwide and are quite a trend. International designers take their inspiration from the Caribbean cultures. For example, Christian Dior used the Jamaican rasta colours ( red, green and gold) in previous fashion collections." Unlike international counterparts who manufacture and mass produce designs, she adds: " Necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and brooch designs, to name a few, that use material sourced from the islands and wider Caribbean and that are all handmade and unique, are what we are all about. Our spring collection is bright, bold and beautiful." LL DEAN BARNES ( 4)

January - March 2009 lime 61 Last year, Sonia Noel's collection featured black and white. It's timeless. This year, it's animal prints. Tiger and leopard, in dresses, shoes and bags DONN THOMPSON OF DRACINC