For the past two decades, Boston resident Daryl Cox, better known by the moniker designingDARYL, has used thousands of rhinestones and pounds of feathers to craft colorful bodysuits, headdresses and boots seen in parades and performances around the world. The Trinidad and Tobago native is also involved in planning Boston Carnival, so in advance of the festivities dancing into town on Aug. 27, he helped us get the party started.
What got you interested in Carnival? In our culture, Carnival is a big deal. It happens every year just before the Ash Wednesday celebration in the Roman Catholic faith, so on that Monday and Tuesday, the entire country basically shuts down and the folks there revel in Carnival, which is sort of a celebration where they throw caution into the wind. It’s a giant street parade. To be in the Carnival, that means it runs in your blood.
How long does it take you to make a single costume? I can actually construct a full costume if you give me about a week. When Wyclef Jean contacted a band that I worked with about two months ago…he needed a headpiece done, and I did it in 48 hours.
What are some of your career highlights? My major highlight comes with the [costume] launches. And that’s because it’s really a pageant show. It’s really like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on steroids. It’s a lot of energy; it’s a lot of music. Those are the moments that I live for, and I’m happy that I can’t really count a highlight because annually it happens for me. It’s kind of like I get to relive my dream every year.
What makes Boston Carnival special? Boston is such a diverse cultural melting pot, and it’s certainly taken some time to get here. [It’s] an experience to totally dabble in a culture that’s not your own where people throw judgments aside and all come out to have fun. It’s all about fun and laughter. We have to basically appreciate what we have, and this is certainly a cultural explosion. It’s color; it’s feathers. There’s laughter; it’s beautiful people. It’s certainly an experience I think someone should have, and it’s right in your city.