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RiRi full of Radiance

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

RiRi full of Radiance

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LAUREN AUSTIN IS TIRED; on a scale of one to ten she says it is a 15.

“I need a vacation,” she said, laughing as she spoke to EASY magazine on Friday. “My body is so tired.”

Who is Lauren and why does she need a vacation?

She is the lead designer for Aura Kadooment band, yes, that one that Barbadian superstar Rihanna has been jumping with for the past three years.

This year the band saw its biggest group on the road – 1 200 – which included celebrities, soca star Machel Montano, Formulae 1 racing top dog Lewis Hamilton, Voice (winner of Trinidad International Soca Monarch titles) and Rihanna.

“Rihanna is so easy to design for. We sent her the options of the seven sections created for Dreamcatcher [theme for Aura this year].

However, the section Radiance stood out the most for her. From there she sent me her preference in body wear and I created a special look for her.”

Lauren worked steadfastly on the piece for two days.

lauren-austin-and-costume-081317“It was an individual piece. When she arrived there was the final reveal of the costume and fitting. And she was very excited and loved every piece of the costume. I only had to make little adjustments for it to be the perfect fit.”

Along with the costume Rihanna had personalised pieces done, like the pink eyeglasses she had on the day, the customised cup specially done for her by Cockspur Rum that was delivered to her.

Rihanna aside, Lauren said the band’s success is overwhelming.

Lauren working on Rihanna’s costume. (GP) 

“There are eight members on the team, consisting of six directors and two management, each with diverse list of responsibilites.”

Lauren said designing for 1 200 is not as difficult as it looks.

“I am doing something I love and enjoy. The only part that was tricky was choosing my materials (gems, cloth, feathers and so on). Once I had those things in hand, it was pretty much easy for me to design the sections to suit.”

With no sketches to go on, Lauren said it is all in her mind: “I know it sounds crazy but I honestly do not sketch any of my costumes. I basically know how I want my final design to look and the effect it gives. So from my idea I then source all which is needed to bring my costumes to reality and I begin creating.”

Lauren said she has done interviews since last Monday with international magazines Vogue and GQ and TV station BET, with more to come since her band hit the road.

“I am very happy and grateful for Aura being the band it is today. Everyday I feel blessed knowing how much it is has grown and the number of people who are becoming part of the Aura family.”

Lauren said she is back behind the sewing machine as she has more costumes to design for Jamaica carnival and for Trinidad carnival.

“After that I can rest and hang out with family and friends.” (NS)