(Photo: Garfield Robinson)
The mood was both mellow and festive Saturday last, as family, friends and devotees stepped out in style to pay tribute to "Jamaica's 'First Lady of Fashion" Olga Francis Keane at a by-invitation-only red carpet event at the Terra Nova All-Suite hotel curated by the late designer's family.
Setting the tone for the affair that commenced with a sumptuous lunch and would end with some of Francis-Keane's favourite models sashaying down the runway in vintage pieces from the atelier, anchored by daughter Fay Keane-Headley and protégé Weston Haughton.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange, who was one of the many speakers on the programme, highlighted how a appropricate it was as the nation celebrated its 60 year anniversary to bring awareness of the contribution of a woman who, albeit small in stature, like her beloved Jamaica punched way above her weight class. "In the year when we celebrate Jamaica 60 under the theme 'Reigniting a Nation for Greatness', it is truly fitting to celebrate one among us who held nothing back, but launched out with a dream from Hagley Park Road on to Central Plaza in the process of taking on Florida, New York, Paris, indeed all the global centres of fashion for over 50 years.
"Olga Francis Keane believed in her creative imagination. Her vision was to dress the Jamaican woman to take on the world, to see beauty in every step, in every curve of her body. She was determined that the Jamaican woman would exude the personality and charm that would inevitably conquer the Jamaican society," Grange said.
Francis-Keane's forward thinking was also highlighted by international consultant Franklin Johnston and, too, media consultant Elaine Wint-Leslie.
"Francis Keane was a visionary who was clear about manifesting her impossible dream... she radiated the essence of humility, sincerity and clarity in her demeanour and masterfully, though quietly, displayed the knowledge, grace and skill that saw her effortlessly creating the exquisite and groundbreaking designs that were sought after locally and globally," shared Wint-Leslie. " Johnston shared his fascination with the designer. "I had heard so much about her cutwork and so I went to meet her. She was an utmost professional," he said. He would witness her design genius in her pattern grading, the creation of each design, and her manipulation of fabric. "I thought to myself this woman is phenomenal. I discovered that small business people have big visions, large minds and great ideas, and Olga Francis-Keane was one of those people who allowed me to be a part of that."
The highlights of the afternoon were the launch of the Dudley & Olga Francis Keane Fashion Foundation Ltd, which will be governing the annual scholarship dedicated to a student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the launch of the fashion tome: Francis Keane: Her Life, Fashion & Legacy.
Tuesday Social takes you into the showroom of a Jamaican fashion icon, small in size but enormous in stature and who made an impact on the world.
Children of the late Olga Francis Keane (from left) Dudley Francis Keane Jr, Jennifer Francis Keane, Fay Keane-Headley and Winston Francis Keane shared a moment. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
The grandchildren of Olga Francis Keane (from left) Azebe Etsubneh, Assu Etsubneh, Tsion Etsubneh, Brianna Francis Keane and Micah Headley made white a theme for their attire. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Veteran journalist Christene King and her grandson Tyrel Creary were amongst those spotted at the tribute. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Francis-Keane's protégé and co-franchise holder of Miss Jamaica World Weston Haughton handled the formalities with aplomb. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Miss World 1976 Cindy Breakspeare (left) presented the Francis Keane family with a plaque on behalf of Spartan Health Club. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Grandchildren of Olga Francis Keane (from left) Tsion Etsubneh Brianna Francis Keane and Jahmela Headley presented a symbolic cheque equivalent to a full scholarship for a student of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts on behalf of The Dudley & Olga Francis Keane Fashion Foundation Ltd. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Dean of the School of Visual Arts at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts Miriam Hinds-Smith (right) expressed appreciation on behalf of the school. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Miss World 1976 Cindy Breakspeare brought a touch of elegance to the red carpet. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Long-time friend and confidante of the late Olga Francis Keane, Jasmine Morgan, was accompanied by her daughter Michele Morgan-Evans. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Fay Keane-Headley (centre) joined Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange (right) and long-time muse of Francis Keane Ettie Dawkins for a photo op. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
A member of the original I Three and long-time client of Francis Keane, Marcia Griffiths was delighted to support the tribute. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Olga Francis-Keane's business advisor Dr Franklin Johnston paused alongside Dr Amoy Henry for a photo-op. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Entertainer AJ Brown kept the mood mellow. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Wint Training Specialists principal Elaine Wint-Leslie spoke of Francis Keane, the visionary. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Attorney-at-law Jeanne Robinson-Foster underscored the genius of Francis-Keane as she presented a dress made by her in 2004. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Olga Francis Keane's grandaughter Azebe Etsubneh (right) and great-grandson Omar Keane Masri presented the soon-to-be launched book, titled Francis Keane: Her Life, Fashion & Legacy. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Communications Specialist Roxene Nickle graced the runway in a Francis Keane bridal gown that highlighted the late designer's signature cutwork-style. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Miss Jamaica World 1978 Joan McDonald donned a printed cape from Francis Keane on the runway. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Chef/Patron, Moveable Feast Caterering Michele Williams modelled a vintage layered organza gown from Francis Keane. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia "Babsy" Grange delivered a heartwarming speech. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)