Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese
Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
(12 September 2016)
The inaugural Samoa Fashion Week was launched on Monday night. The Masiofo, Her Highness Filifilia Tamasese delivered the keynote address. This is what she said:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I first want to thank the Organisers of this Fashion Week, the Samoa Arts Council, for inviting me to say something tonight.
I know nothing about fashion. I believe there are people in the United States who flaunt their limitations by calling themselves the “know nothings”. If I know nothing, why am I standing here speaking to you.
Well, as the song would have it, ‘it’s a lovely way to spend an evening’.
Notwithstanding, I love fashion. It’s partly because I have a nephew in Australia whose name is on the brochure, Peter Tamasese and I like what he says and does about fashion.
In fact I used to sit and watch him either draw dress designs (which were always too way out for me!) or watch him paint, choosing different colors, different motifs, different materials – whether it’s men’s wear or women’s wear.
Fashion is about so many things. It’s about art, it’s about values, it’s about vision. It’s about what you see, hear and smell. It’s about fauna and flora. It’s about the ordinary and the extraordinary. It’s about the colors that you see everyday, the blues of the sky and the sea, the light of the stars and the brightness of the sun.
How do you bring this to dress so that it reflects how a person relates to herself/himself, to each other and to the environment?
How does it capture and suggest subtly or not so subtly, the charm, the chic, the raw femaleness or maleness of the wearer?
When do you whisper, suggest, hint, insinuate the message?
And when do you blaze and display with glare and glitz?
To me, these are the challenges, ironies, paradoxes, idiosyncracies, that confront the designers of fashion.
Remember I am a know-nothing so I am only imagining or visualising. If I were a designer of fashion, I would ask myself, what is fashion? How would I like it to be? And I say to myself, it should be all the things I have mentioned.
But we have to bear in mind, there is a question of what one wears and the question of the wearer – that each woman and man is an individual. And therefore the dress as an appendage, should underline and portray the distinctive qualities and individuality of the person.
Let me end with a quote from the poet Auden that celebrates our sameness and our oddities:
We are the geeks and gooks of Creation
Believe it or not is our star
Each one of us thinks the other is queer
And no one is mistaken because all of us are
And against that background as a know-nothing, I want to say thank you to the Samoa Arts Council, the organisers and participants – for putting together this Fashion Week, a first in Samoa. Faamalo! Faafetai!
May God bless your hard work and commitment! May you achieve all your objectives this week! Ladies and Gentlemen, I have much pleasure in declaring this Fashion Week launched. Soifua!