If Princess of the Gates is not the most popular costume for Caribana 2013, I can definitely say that it is the most talked about.  From the moment those teal, white and silver wings hit the stage at Saldenah band launch, the Caribana network has been abuzz with questions, comments and critique.

So we called the modest and fantastically talented section leader Melinda Rickson who was happy to arrange for Trinidad Carnivals to have a private fitting so that we could answer some of your burning questions.  So without further delay:

Fitting for Princess of the Gates Frontline

Per designer and section leader Melinda Rickson:

“This is a costume for girls who want to be the centre of attention.  It’s for girls who want to FEEL like they are playing mas!”

Back pack: light and comfortable

  • The back pack was incredibly light.  I have worn frontline headpieces that were heavier than this backpack.  Even @SoulrebelTO was surprised by how light it is.  When section leader and designer for this section told me that she could hold the backpack in one hand and the headpiece in another I thought that was just ridiculous.  There is no way a backpack of that magnitude could be so light.  But, it’s true.  Its light light light!
  • The wire frame is designed so that it sits in the right place on your back.  No discomfort noted at all, even with movement.  The nice thing is that it is individually bent to fit with the person’s frame so there is no need for strings or harnesses to keep it on your body!  I have grown so accustomed to the unsightly strings that go from the backpack, under the arms and then tie at the back that I was shocked when Melinda fitted me with the backpack and there were no strings.  I was sure that once I started moving the backpack would shift and be uncomfortable but to my surprise it did not!  SCIENCE!
  • Note that this backpack will catch the wind but it should not be too bad as layout of the feather will allow for passage of air.  Also, you cannot make sudden turning movements, again because of the design catching the wind.  However, I did not find my mobility to be restricted.  I’ll be interested to hear people’s feedback about the costume on Lakeshore.
I can't believe there are no strings!

I can’t believe there are no strings!


The heapiece: light and comfortable.

  • Like most headpieces, it is secured with an elastic at the back.  I found it to be very secure and only required 2 bobby pins for extra security.
  • In terms of putting it on, your best bet is to part your hair in a half ponytail, put on the headpiece and then let the half ponytail down to cover the securing band
  • Once the headpiece and backpack are on, you will have limited range of motion in terms of head movement in that you will not be able to look directly over your shoulder.

Half Ponytail


Melinda Rickson letting down my half ponytail

After letting down the half ponytail

After letting down the half ponytail


  1. Will I be able to spread my hand and let go if I wear that massive headpiece or will I be on Lakeshore holding my headpiece on my head all day?

    Spreading you hands and letting go is A MUST!  The headpiece will not be a problem.  Just tighten the elastic at the back of your head to your comfort level and play yuh mas.

  2. That backpack is huge, how easy would it be for someone to tief a wine?

    According to @SoulrebelTO, this costume is conducive to both back and front wines.  Let the tiefing begin!

  3. What are the exact dimensions of the costumes and what accommodation will be made on the road for masqueraders?

    I forgot to measure it but will do so at the next visit 🙁  Sorry the costume was so nice I got distracted, lol.

    Update: The wings on display and at the launch are 12 feet wide.  However, the costume on the road will be about 8 feet wide.

  4. With all that load to carry, will I be able to get on bad or will it just be small wines all day?

    It really depends on what you consider getting on bad…This costume is not a “get on the ground and roll” type of costume if that is in your definition of getting on bad.  But you can wine and jam all you want.


For more information about this section:

Contact: Melinda Rickson ~ 647-835-5053
Email: melinda.rickson@hotmail.com

To register online:


Up next, Princess of the Gates ULTRA FRONTLINE fitting with super fabulous Sophia Rickson!