827. Curaçao Carnival Costume Design

Every year our high schools host a design competition among students to determine the school’s Teen(er) Parade costume. (Imagine a younger version of Project Runway, Carnaval edition) Ethanie Martina (20) was lucky enough to win Radulphus College’s competition in 2010. 100+ students dressed up in her design and shimmied their way down our Carnaval route on the Friday before Gran Marcha (the adult parade) “It was an amazing experience, I felt like a professional designer surrounded by my models… a little more popular than usual!” she says.

Ethanie’s goal was to come up with a truly unique design, something her school had never seen before, so she brainstormed different ideas before putting anything on paper. After a week of intense thinking, she found a theme: the Internet. “It seemed complicated at first, I had to simplify the design and use as many bright colors as possible. Would the girls wear pants or skirts? Heels or flats? What about the top? It was a bit harder for the guys because men’s fashion in general is rather basic. (…) I didn’t even go online; my brain was my own Google.”

She decided on MSN Messenger (Microsoft’s popular online chat service) making great use of Microsoft’s iconic multi-colored logo (red, blue, yellow, green) and MSN’s status icons (Busy, Away, Online, Offline).

MSN Messenger interface.

MSN Messenger interface.

“Everything inspires me, everything. Especially things I like (animals, nature, photography, culture music). I took my time to think and combined a few things that related to [MSN Messenger]. I get a little scared when I start going into details… It’s just my creative process.”

Ethanie's winning design.

Ethanie’s winning design. Gates / Ballmer could use Ethanie’s design services in their Windows 8 launch 🙂

Teener Parade organizers managed to find materials (satin for extra shine) for NAf 50 ($30) per student and Ethanie’s grandmother was able to sow half of the costumes. Ethanie grew up observing her grandmother as she sowed numerous Carnaval and Séu costumes and draws a lot of inspiration from her work. She’s particularly proud that her grandmother has become Radulphus College’s “unofficial” Teener Parade costume seamstress (she’ll be sowing all of the costumes this year!).

The making of Radulphus Teener Parade:

RC students having a blast.

RC students having a blast.

If she had to design another costume, she’d probably go with “Blenchi ta chupa flor” (Hummingbird feeds off flower) inspired by our incredibly beautiful blenchis (the most amazing shiny green you’ve ever seen!) and our popular children’s song by the same name.

Blenchi ta Chupa Flor

Blenchi ta chupa flor

“The girls would dress up as gorgeous Curaçao flowers (bougainvilleas, fayalobis, korona di labírgen, etc) and the guys would all be “blenchis”, pointing their long beaks at the flowers throughout the parade! (…) New ideas pop in my head like popcorn. All I need is one good idea and the rest flows from there.”

Ethanie admiring one of her paintings at Kas di Kultura.

Ethanie admiring one of her paintings at Kas di Kultura.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!


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