Bermuda Fashion Festival: behind the scenes
She’s known as a fashionista, but Danilee Trott insists she is not.
While the Bermuda Fashion Festival was indeed her baby, it began from a love of event planning and putting on shows.
As she gears up for its seventh year — and just as many incarnations — Ms Trott talked to Lifestyle about life behind the scenes.
Q: How did you become executive producer of the Bermuda Fashion Festival?
A: When I first came to the Corporation [of Hamilton as events co-ordinator] we didn’t really do our own events. I came on board initially to facilitate events within the city. That was the start of me coming here and being responsible for making things happen. Our mission is to create a vibrant city ... and I wanted to tap into the different ways that could happen — through music, art, fashion and food. Charles Gosling and his board were very supportive of making sure the city was a place that people could enjoy, and I took it on. I love creating something from nothing. Entertainment has always been a huge part of my life, so it was just a matter of finding what would be supported by everyone.
Q: How has the event evolved?
A: The very first year, which most people don’t even know about, was a big show that we did on Court Street in 2009. The first Evolution was 2010. It rained, but it was beautiful. It was something new and different. It was one show, it was one event and I thought, how can we build on this? The next year I called on Dean Parris. We almost had an identical plan with what we wanted to do in front of City Hall. Again, that was one show. The runway went over the pond in front of City Hall. Nothing like that had ever been done before. It drew so much attention. That kind of birthed the start and we grew from there. The next year we added the hair and beauty show, which was pretty close to being a nightmare. We had rain and wind, but the audience loved it. The next year we started talking about designers. My head started spinning. I wanted a five-year plan. In five years’ time this is going to be Bermuda’s Fashion Week and we’re going to be known across the world. I had big plans. I tracked down Shiona Turini. We talked for almost a year before we did anything together. We worked with how we can make Bermuda’s fashion stand out and give our designers a chance to shine. That’s how the local designer programme started. It was the brainchild of Shiona.
Q: Is there a moment you’re particularly proud of?
A: This is our fifth year doing the local designer showcase. That has really helped to put us on the map. With Shiona’s help, and the connections she has, we’ve been in Essence and Allure, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar — all sorts of huge magazines which covered our event because of these mentors. But that also promotes Bermuda, which is another passion of mine — to put Bermuda on the map and to show our little island gem as something more than just a volcano. We have so much talent and style and personality and character to offer the world.
It’s great that Bermuda Fashion Festival can put us on that stage. This year we’ve got seven international designers. Two of them are repeats and four of them are brand new to Bermuda. The finale is Stello; Stephanie Costello, the designer, is coming. We’re stoked. I didn’t even dream she was going to respond. I sent this cold call e-mail. For weeks I didn’t hear anything but then I got this call. I tried to sound cool, but I was so excited.
Q: What are some of the big steps this year?
A: Getting Stello was huge. Adding the celebrity golf tournament was a big one. We wanted to have something that featured the island a little more. We have so many international guests that come here for the event. Our golf courses are world renowned, so why not have a fun golf day in the middle of it? And to wrap up all of this greatness and expansion and evolution, this year we have Coach as a major sponsor and supporter. For us, and for Bermuda as a whole, that is a huge step for them to embrace a local event. It’s not an international event that came, it’s a Bermuda event — Bermuda-made, Bermuda-grown.
It started from the ground and it’s worked its way up for the last seven years through hard work and a lot of volunteers and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve never been able to work with a brand of that calibre on this level. It’s kind of surreal and you just keep going and keep working hard and you get excited about the successes and the achievements and then you say, ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do next year!?’
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