Opening with a mix of The Greatest Show from the soundtrack of the film The Greatest Showman, K2K Alliance launched its Carnival 2020 costumes at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, on Friday.
The Greatest Show, which was theatrically displayed in "acts." was intended to reflect what bandleaders Kathy and Karen Norman call the circus of life.
The band, says K2K, draws on the analogy that life, with its myriad experiences, is the greatest show.
The costumes were inspired by what the sisters imagine the rides in the amusement park of life to be like and some of the characters and acts that can be found in the circus.
Each section of vibrantly coloured costumes reflected themes such as Defying Gravity and Send(ing) in the Clowns. Pieces from the section Defying Gravity included headpieces which give the illusion of levitating above the head of the masquerader, while Send in the Clowns included multi-coloured headpieces and massive clown heads, giving a similar levitating impression.
Each was dramatically presented with accompanying music, classical or contemporary, and the costumes were displayed by models who were accompanied by dancers and changing video backgrounds.
Other sections included The Merry-Go-Round, Rings of Fire and The Power of Believing, all reflecting various elements of the human experiences. Among the features of the human experience explored by the show were issues related to the experience of the LGBT+ community. One particular particular part of the Defying Gravity presentation saw the melding of music, dance and the playing of a conversation between a mother and her gay daughter, reflecting the inner termoil of the daughter and the mother's journey toward acceptance.
Asked why they chose this theme for Carnival 2020, Karen Norman said, "The process at K2K is very organic, with the next five years already set in motion."
This approach, she said, has remained consistent throughout the years of creating for TT Carnival. This means the themes for coming years have already been decided.
"With that being said, the themes are a reflection where we are in our personal space and a reflection of our global socio-political environment. As a result, we chose to debut The Greatest Show to remind individuals that life, amidst the complexities, changing geo-political issues, diverging social disputes, is a shared, universal experience."
Asked what new elements have been added to this collection, Kathy Norman said, "Since inception, we have used fabric to execute many of our backpacks. The fluidity of the backpacks is nothing new."
But this year they included locomotion in their backpacks – rotating wheels and moving jointed animals. This, she said, better articulates the theme and adds further innovation.
For the sisters, God is at the centre, which is reflected in the section The Power of Believing.
"So let us try to revel in the beauty of this Circus called Life – which is filled with awe moments, bittersweet moments and everything else in between," Kathy said.
The sisters said they feel great and are excited by the feedback they have been receiving thus far.
"We would like to thank our masqueraders and supporters for attending the show and continuing to be part of the K2K journey," Karen said.
"I am biased about how this show went because I love K2K," said a woman at the launch. "I love the artistry of their work. Everything about it is magnificent. Whenever I come to their launches I think about Carnival and can already see myself in three or four of their costumes."
She cannot wait to select her costume and anticipates seeing the colours and flowing movement of the costumes on the road for Carnival 2020.
Another attendee said he was at a K2K bandlaunch for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it.
"The designs were remarkable. There was one in particular which turned into a flower when held up and when released it opened up nicely. I could tell the material is light and gliding nicely."
He also commented on the engineering of the costumes, saying, "There was one with wheels. I noticed as she turned the wheels on the sides, the wheel at the back also turned by itself.
"This showed that a lot of creativity went into these pieces and I absolutely loved them."
Seeing the band on Frederick Street will be awesome, he felt. "It could steal the whole show for Carnival 2020."
Business of Carnival founder and host Carla Parris said, "It was really different. I appreciated the theatrical approach. It was an interesting concept for giving the background for what each costume was about – telling the story of each piece. They obviously put a lot of time and effort into the artistic aspects of the costumes."
K2K has yet to release its Monday wear for 2020.
Kathy said, however, "We look forward to coming home and seeing our masqueraders hit the Savannah stage and all the various judging points in downtown, at the Greens, and along the avenue, in all their glory."
Non-masqueraders aren't left out, She added,"We ask folks that are not planning to play mas to come out onto the streets to celebrate the beauty that is TT Carnival – because in K2K the circus is coming to town in all its regal nature and 'pomp and circumstance.'"