The stone walls, warm indigo lights amidst the darkness, and tall gothic ceilings, combined with the enchanting stained glass of the All Saints Anglican Church in Port of Spain glowing heavenly as the backdrop, was scenic bliss. This was the idyllic setting for the launch of K2K Alliance and Partner’s 2019 carnival collection Through Stained Glass Windows.
The collection left the audience in awe at the deep connection being made between the mas and religion, spirituality, faith, and the human experience in all its forms. Sacrilegious as it may seem to many, there would be no other space more fit for this carnival band launch, than one of the oldest churches in TT.
Kathy and Karen Norman, founders of K2K Alliance said, “We think the Rector of All Saints Canon Richard Jacob says it best, we believe God is the source of all that is creative and good. We celebrate what is good and uplifting and give folks an opportunity to rethink how we express that God-given creativity at Carnival.”
They said the theme Through Stained Glass Windows was conceptualised for 2018. However, they opted to present We Stand United as a pre-cursor. “Both storylines speak to the socio-political economical environment, with We Stand United calling for an action of unity, while Through Stained Glass Windows focusing on the need for prayer in times where anti-globalisation, segregation and hate seems to be more evident.
The sections love (Amare), faith (Fidem), hope (Spero), light (Lux) and joy (Gaudium) speak to some of the positive coping mechanisms that are needed to balance the unsettling discord globally,” they said.
K2K remained consistent in presenting their work in a form unlike any other Carnival band, and has been said to have outdone themselves yet again. The creative team led by the Norman twins gave life to a presentation fit for any stage across the world. The costuming stands in a league of its own when compared to any option available for carnival, avant-garde-esque designs with intricate detailing, melded with flowing and towering aesthetics resembled any imagination’s conjuring of angel’s wings– creating an illusion of stained glass coming to life.
Every piece of design effortlessly demanded applause, and the smiles of those in the audience, accompanied by their sounds of awe and astonishment indicated the sensory power of the work. The experience of the enchanting display was heightened by an eclectic selection of music– a mixture of classical religious music, opera, new age symphonies, hip-hop, soul pop and soca.
An attendee said, “K2K expertly managed to portray the bittersweet, yet calming experience of the spiritual journey through their use of soft lighting and stained glass backdrops. It was emotionally gripping choreography, eclectic music and intricately structured costume design.”
Slow and enchanting was the pace of the display of the five sections, while dancers dressed in similarly surreal stained glass inspired costumes, added to the theatrics, yet reverent energy which filled the space. The band’s theme, inspired by the prayer of St Francis of Assisi for the peace of Christ was effectively communicated.
Another attendee said, “At the end of the presentation, I felt calm, and could identify dominant emotions of my spiritual experience. I also felt empowered to portray one of these dominant emotions displayed in the costumes on the road for Carnival next year!”
Asked how they would like this year’s collection to be remembered by anyone who sees it on the road, the sisters said, “There is sophistication and timelessness to many the pieces, which is the heart of the brand.” The K2K brand, they said, is synonymous with fashion meeting mas, which continues to appeal to the masquerader who is looking for a portrayal that is rooted in a distinct, unique and memorable story, told through breathtaking costumes.
The twins who seem to have been divinely gifted said, “The message that we are trying to communicate is that our lives are like stained glass windows– shattered images of events that are pieced together over time. Stained images that are made permanent to our subconscious, in the form of memories, with each event, every impression, all actions and subsequent reactions– shaping us and redefining us, until each one of us becomes a stained yet beautiful work of art.”
The work of K2K Alliance beautifully and poetically displayed stained glass coming to life– artistic manifestations of love, faith, hope, light, and joy.