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Ecliff Elie brings Italian style in Prima Volta
Prima Volta, pronounced in Italian, means first time. For Trinidad designer Ecliff Elie, his first Italian experience is the influence for his luxury men’s wear collection which will be presented on September 26 at the Hyatt Regency.
Elie, named Caribbean Fashion Designer—Male in 2010 Caribbean Fashion Awards at Barbados Fashion Week, said his clothes are classic menswear with a focus on a nice fit. His new luxury line will carry more detail based on the Italian style.
“I was in Italy for a month. I went to Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan. The history is so rich. I used that to draw inspiration.
When I went in search for suits, I learned more than what I bargained for,” Elie said.
For one thing, he said, Italian men are always well-dressed, effortlessly stylish. He noticed, for example, that the suit stops at the shoe that projects a neat, structured look. In addition, he said, Italian fashion is more a “chemistry of emotions” rather than a piece of fabric made into a suit.
Elie’s sharp eye for character in clothing developed after 28 years in the business. One of the few men’s wear designers in Trinidad, Elie started his tailoring business at age 14. Then, he made trousers for his schoolmates. Now, he dresses attorneys, sports personalities, entertainers and Government ministers. While they may be his exclusive clientele, Elie believes all men should have a finished look. “I wish the men would come (to his show), to see how well-groomed and put together is possible,” he said.
The Italian collection, he said, sets the foundation for this. In comparison, Elie said, American styles are relaxed, a mixture of cultures. The English style, he said, is sharp but focused on black and grey. The Italian style may also use dark tones, with more blue in their palette, but the difference is the mixture of complementary shades. The jacket, he said, could be a solid tone but the waistcoat, shirt, trousers may carry different shades of it.
Even textures differ. Considering that European climate differs to the Caribbean’s, the suit material although rich in texture is apt for this region. “I use tropical wool, which is a breathable fabric and is suitable to our climate,” Elie said.
Work is not over when this line is complete. In November, Elie will launch his resort collection.