A dream becomes reality twice over
Designer Javotte Bethel has designed dozens of dresses during her career, but there was one person she really wanted to see in one of her creations, and this year her dream became reality — twice as Bernadette Christie, wife of Prime Minister Perry Christie, commissioned the veteran designer to dress her for two events this year. Bethel designed the gowns worn by the prime minister’s wife at the Cancer Ball and, most recently, at the Legacy Ball.
“It was really great to dress Mrs. Christie,” said Bethel. “It had been on my mind for a while. [Prior to this year] for the past three to four years I had always wanted to see one of my designs on her and wondered when I would actually be able to do a dress for her,” she said.
A friend called Bethel and asked if she would design a dress for Christie. Bethel, who owns Javotte’s House of Couture on Bar 20 Corner, jumped at the opportunity. For the Legacy Ball, Bethel sketched a one-shouldered design to show Christie, who added her own brand of flare with a piece of fabric that draped down from the shoulder. The dress was also originally to be made in aqua, but Christie opted for a yellow silk fabric instead.
“She made sure that she definitely got what she wanted and leaned on my experience through the process. She made sure it would definitely look good on her, because sometimes you can have a drawing on paper, but it doesn’t complement your body,” said Bethel.
The designer said she loved the first lady’s body frame and added that it was perfect for her designs and her design philosophy.
“I love her body frame, which I think is really perfect,” said Bethel. “She has a really nice shape, so I had fun sewing the dress,” she said of her latest creation for Christie. “It was very exciting for me.”
That was the second dress that Bethel made for Christie.
The first, made of chiffon, in a purple-pink hue was totally Bethel’s vision that Christie allowed her to run with as she had not worked with Bethel before.
“I took designs to her house, and it was her first time working with me, so she left it up to me to pick the fabric and the style.”
Her dream of dressing the first lady came through twice. And in becoming a reality, Bethel said she found Christie to be down-to-earth and a normal person.
She also recently designed two gowns for JoAnn Callender, a classically trained singer, which she wore at her concert to celebrate Bahamian composers.
Bethel, 36, who attended the International Fine Arts College in Miami, Florida, said her earliest memories of designing were of dressing her dolls. She has been designing professionally for about nine years. And even though designing dresses for the prime minister’s wife has been one of her dreams, she says all of her customers are treated the same. She ensures that everyone’s dress color complements their skin complexion and their body and that they all feel comfortable when they walk out of the door.
“I always try to bring out the best in a person. When a customer comes to me I ensure that they leave my store happy. I ensure that the clothing looks handmade, but with store-bought finishing,” she said.
Bethel says a person goes to a fashion designer for one-of-a-kind pieces and to get something different. And when a person wears one of her designs she says she’s looking for them to give that wow effect when they walk into a room.
“I always try for that wow factor. Actually, one of my mottos is to always do my best and ensure that the customer is always happy,” she said. “A designer has a vision of how they want you to look when you walk out. A designer can put something down on paper and give you that exact dress that you see on paper. A designer is someone who can take a vision and make it a reality,” she said.
A Javotte original starts in the low hundreds, but as a full-service seamstress, Bethel makes alterations and everyday wear for women.