We’ve spoken about it time and again here on Islandista – the ‘artistry vs sexy’ dilemma that faces fans of mas.
And if we’re being honest, it’s truly a financial dilemma too. Because the makers of what is often called alternative mas are quite simply, not going to make the big bucks of the ‘bikini bands’. It’s all about needing mass in your mas – and alternative mas doesn’t draw the critical ‘mass’ of thousands of band members and their dollars, in the way that bikini mas does.
Many – us included have suggested that the bikini bands try something a little more artistic and sometimes that is successful as in Tribe’s 2007 presentation ‘Old Time Someting Come Back Again’. On the other hand, sometimes too far east is west and you end up with Island People’s (first) 2012 presentation Heroes, which was so vociferously criticised that IP had to wheel and come again, scrapping the least popular costumes and redesigning others.
IP co-founder and general manager (ag.) Wyatt Gallery, in a frank interview with the Trinidad Guardian, admitted that their attempt to push the boundaries of bikini mas had gone too far.
“The launch did not go so well. I took it upon myself to step up and do whatever I can to get the team re-inspired. I saw myself as just someone to motivate and inspire everyone, to see how we could turn this negative situation into a positive: Listen to the people…Do what they want…. It was not too difficult from the number of comments they put on Facebook. So it wasn’t necessarily that we disagreed with the people. It’s just that we were trying to push it and try something new, you know. It didn’t work. We surrender to the people.”
Which brings us to the inspiration for this post – a new band out of Trinidad & Tobago- K2K Alliance, which launched its 2012 presentation last week. Entitled ‘The Waters’, the costumes depict different bodies of water from the Dead Sea to the Caribbean Sea.
The costumes are definitely artistic and edgy – haute couture carnival costumes really. One of our favourites is at the top of this post – the River Jordan is wearable, winable and beautiful – all without any of the things we’ve come to expect in a costume – no jewelled waistband, no feathered headdress, no backpack. In fact, most of the costumes are ‘lacking’ the traditional bikini mas costume structure. The headpieces are fantastic bits of art – as if the famed Irish milliner Philip Treacy decided to do mas.
Interestingly, another of our favourite costumes is a male costume – The Red Sea. We don’t have to tell you how rare it is for male costumes to actually look like some work and thought was put into them, rather than just a board shorts, a waistband and maybe a chest piece thrown in.
Reviews have been favourable – carnival doyenne, Saucy of Trinidad Carnival Diary called them “sexy, beautiful, well constructed and theatrical.”
Best yet, despite looking so very expensive, it is rumoured that the price tag is around the same as any other band – from TT$4000 to $6000.
What do you think islandistas? Would you jump with K2K?