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Serving in the vineyard of fashion and having produced countless top models and beauty queens, Jacqueline Koon How, fondly called Aunty Jacqui, transferred the baton of stewardship to her granddaughter, Faith Armour, recently at the San Fernando City Hall Auditorium.
Dubbed “The Finale” as the curtains were lowered on Koon How’s tenure as director, and having placed her signature on certificates for graduates of “the total graduation” for the last time, she urged that her enterprise be “treasured” and announced her departure from the forefront after a 53-year stint.
Founded in the mid-60s, Koon How became a household name as a trendsetter of styles, subsequent to the birth of the fashion house House of Jacqui (HOJ). Koon How paved the way for many of T&T fashionable women; some of who went on to represent this country internationally at prestigious competitions.
The HOJ equally became a formable force and groomed some of the nation’s well-kept men and women, each stepping in the indelible footsteps and expectations of Koon How.
Now 74, and holder of the Hummingbird Medal (Gold), received in 2004 for the development of beauty culture and mas in T&T, Koon How said she has done it all.
Nurturing the big idea she had for retirement with her “brother,” fallen mas kingpin Roland St George, Koon How said she woke up and realised she is going to be 75 years old next May 29.
She said reality struck and, with St George deceased, she could not be selfish and carry the HOJ legacy with her.
Sharing some departing words, Koon How said: “It was really a pleasure to work with these young people. They invigorate me. So many times people asked me what will become of HOJ?
“And I would tell them I am very selfish and the House of Jacqui dies with me.
“And then, I had a brother with whom I was extremely close and we planned to enjoy our twilight years together; but, he got ill and died swiftly. That made me become aware of my own mortality and it set me thinking; a little selfish, a little conceited; how can I deprive T&T of HOJ? How can I allow HOJ to die with me?
“I have energy to burn; so, I feel I come down here forever. I woke up and realised I am now 74 years old. On May 29 next year I will turn 75; we will have a big boat ride, a big fete for that one. I have no intentions of leaving you all in a hurry, I ain’t going nowhere.”
Koon How said before handing over her dynasty to Armour, a degree in management graduate from UWI, her desire is that everybody got their certificates before she did so.
By introducing a new slate with new blood, according to Koon How, includes talent and the advancement of technology.
“So, we have trained tutors, and a stylist who is the boss. I would like to officially hand the name over to the new HOJ director.
“She has the passion, she is the new face, next generation Faith Armour,” Koon How announced.
Jokingly, Koon How indicated that Armour will now fill the generation gap and bring to the table what she barley could manage to do herself, “switch on the cellular phone. She will handle all the Instagram, Twitter. I could barely turn on the cell.
“New blood, I will be right there in the background. She will have my experience, my knowledge to back her up and teach her as much as I possibly can. This is the new and improved HOJ.”
In Armour’s acceptance speech, she vowed to uphold and carry the torch of Koon How’s legacy and powerful brand to it’s pinnacle.
Over 50 graduates received certificates including those from the summer class 2019.
Looking towards her first year of retirement, Koon How said next May she will host her 75th birthday boat ride as well as a grand show in August to commemorate all HOJ models titled Tots and Teens.