In the process I researched a new (to me) designer--Stella Jean, who incorporates a winning mix of Haitian and Italian influence in her designs. Her mother is from Haiti; her father is from Italy. My favourite look is the large red-check blouse worn under a wax-print bustier dress (see below). I couldn't help but think of Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea when I first saw it, as its exuberant celebration of native culture and colorful energy recalled, for this reader, a young Bertha Mason.
|Clothes by Stella Jean|
|Clothes by Taka Naka|
|Clothes by Tata Naka|
This clothing, a dialogue between colonial and postcolonial cultures, reminds me of the groundbreaking "Madwoman in the Attic" understanding of Jane Eyre--does Bertha act for Jane; does Bertha express the rage and passion that Jane represses? In these clothes,where Europe meets Haiti, two cultures stand strong and together. If we took Mr. Rochester out of the equation, maybe Jane and Bertha could have played dress-up together.
No tearing of wedding veils, though. But maybe they could share a mantilla?