Iconic Jamaican fashion designer, Ivy Ralph, dies at 90

Ivy Ralph (right) (Photo via Jamaica Observer)
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(Jamaica Observer) ICONIC Jamaican fashion designer Ivy Ralph passed away yesterday at Nuttall Hospital in Cross Roads, St Andrew. She was 90.

In a prescient article emanating from an interview by the Sunday Observer with her daughter, the actress/singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, she was described as “the original diva”.

Ivy Ralph earned the auspicious title after inventing the once-famous Kareeba shirt/jacket, which gained international attention when it became the signature wardrobe piece of late Prime Minister Michael Manley.

It became the standard dress for his Comrades in the People’s National Party (PNP) in the 70s, and eventually copied by several like-minded political colleagues, including Julius Nyerere (Tanzania) and his Caribbean Community colleagues Errol Barrow (Barbados) and Forbes Burnham (Guyana).

Michael Manley (Photo via Jamaica Gleaner)

The New York Times reported in 1976 that, “The Kareeba, the styled, open-neck, over-the-pants shirt, and matching trousers suit has become the universally accepted dress for formal occasions, work and leisure wear.”

However, the Kareeba lost its political flavour after the ideological setbacks of the 1970s and early 1980s, which ended the political careers of Manley’s Kareeba-wearing counterparts.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

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