Janelle Angelique Forde always had ambitious dreams of a life in fashion. Growing up in Barbados, the influence of style was heavy but the path to becoming a designer was not an easy one to travel. She describes her success as a progression. As her signature looks and aesthetics evolved, she eventually moved to Trinidad to propel her luxury label forward. Her self-named brand, J.Angelique, has since become a powerhouse known across the Caribbean for ultra-feminine pieces with intricate details and romantic draping.
On the foundation of her past work, Forde created the Red Carpet Collection, featuring glamorous Caribbean-inspired outfits for Hollywood’s runway. “I’m very Caribbean proud. To showcase that in my design is really important to me; blending our cultures and letting people see that this is Caribbean style,” she said.
The Red Carpet Collection
- Photography: Kyle Babb
The Disa Cape
Originally derived from signature styles of the J.Angelique “Orchid” collection, the Disa Cape is an ode to the Disa uniflora, a beautiful pink orchid that demands attention. Cascading feathers incorporate Carnival queen plumes into a gown suitable for the boldest of divas. A simple rope belt cinches the glittery-pink dress at the waist, while drawing the eye to a daringly high leg slit.
The Midnight Pieris
Reinterpreting the one-piece suit that launched her career, Forde created The Midnight Pieris — a glam, voluminous jumpsuit with glitter-stretch lace and raven-dark feathers. The designer took inspiration from the Pieris butterfly, mimicking its delicate wings. “If you look at the butterfly, you would see a black design on their wings that’s very reminiscent of lace,” she explains.
This handmade and hand-stitched tulle cape drapes over a vinyl bodycon dress, creating a dramatic contrast between ethereal softness and high gloss. “Opposites create a lot of dynamism,” says Forde of the juxtaposition. The Máxima subtly references the black latex outfit Giselle Laronde wore at her crowning ceremony in 1986, when she became the first beauty queen from Trinidad and Tobago to win the Miss World pageant. Forde’s version opts for pale pink and embroidered flowers for that extra feminine touch. “There’s a story here that says, ‘make a statement without saying a word.’”
The Selene is a golden knockout made entirely out of ornate glitter lace. This ultra-femme look was an “explorative design” she concocted for an Olympus-themed party thrown by DJ Private Ryan, the creator of the popular Soca Brainwash festival. In Greek mythology, Selene was a Titan goddess, which inspired the designer’s choice of gold and a Grecian-like draped silhouette complete with a deep over-the-thigh slit ― culminating in a dress that’s divinely feminine.
Named after the “Queen of Disco” Donna Summer, this full lace dress is donned in pink feathers and hand-sewn beading. “I always had to work so hard for everything, but designing has always been more intrinsic,” says Forde when asked about pairing all of these bold elements together. The Donna is further complimented by a plunging neckline and high slit to create even more drama.
For more Caribbean glam, check out Raphelita, serving up the best cocktail hour and party looks!