I recall my first trip to Colombia, I had very little expectation, I arrived in the middle of the night robbing me of the opportunity to see the view on the hour long drive from the airport. My first point of entry was Medellin that only rang a bell for me through Pablo Escobar, and it's history of beautiful women. Say what you want about Pablo he had excellent taste and at day break I realized why he settled in this region , it was stunning ,people and place a like. I checked into my hotel at one in the morning I was so wired I spent the first two hours steaming clothes and loosely putting together looks. I was there on official business to visit some factories and edit and choose products for an on line store. My first meeting was at 7 am, I was visiting a denim manufacture an hour from my hotel. I played it cool , vintage hexagon turquoise print shorts, and unforgettable salmon racer back silk tank covered by an equally thin tan cardigan and a minimal strap nude sandal. It was the right amount of colour with calm accessories , the driver was perfectly on time and so was I and my love affair with the country began. My concept of factories was about to change. Things were different here, not the slavery of China or India that the world has become familiar with , but people working harmoniously and smiling in the process. I was immediately comfortable, we had breakfast and lunch before a drop of business was conducted. Three factory visits later and an equal amount of wardrobe changes I was back at my hotel enjoying a three cheese pasta and an Alfredo chicken breast, the reason I go back to the same hotel every time!
Unable to speak a word of Spanish I was assigned and adorable translator Laura , by day two I wanted her to be a permanent fixture in my dream Latin American life. I sat in my room waiting for the front desk call to alert me of her arrival , when a few minutes pass our scheduled meeting time passed I ventured to the lobby. The elevator open and I walked into pleasant laughter from her and the hotel staff. It seems she had misplaced my information and was describing me to front desk as a handsome black man , while she was interrupted by the bell man who referenced me as "el hombre del mundo" , the man of the world. I guess my change of outfits and grand entrance and exits had made me a favourite of the lobby staff. I visited factory after factory, and coincidentally it was fashion week "colombia moda" so I did the trade shows as well. One afternoon i sat and watched a menswear show, from the second row I could see the tailoring was immaculate, I was wondering however why the models had no shoes. I could understand if it gave power to the presentation, but sadly it didn't and I found it distracting. It was in that instant I had a stroke of genius, don't criticize these people, map out a road back to this spectacular oasis and show how it should be done. I burst into tears, right there in row two, thank god it was dark, suddenly all was clear I saw flashbacks of the smiling faces in the factory, the lush green topography, the delicious pasta and the accepting people who complimented my out fits giving me power to give them more. Is it possible, can I re open the vaults of my fashion studies some 15 years closed and combine that with my years of experience in beauty editorials and luxury goods to create a collection? I sat in my room with a hotel pad and pen and started sketching out the concept of my very first show a homage to an elegant traveller with European tailoring and Latin American flare, a presentation appropriately call "el hombre del mundo"