As far as Fashion Illustrators go, Papa Oppong Bediako is easily my favorite African illustrator. His work is stellar and innovative and he is quite the designer, garnering collaborative collaborations with global giants Vlisco and Swarovski Ghana. For someone so young, he has done so much, it’s mind boggling. So imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out that Papa has an interview on Youtube. I am all for creatives speaking up about their inspirations and Papa represents himself quite well.
The host of the show he was interviewed on left a lot to be desired but Papa was a delight.
Here’s the interview, and here’s some of his work from his new collection, ‘A celebration of Joy’, featuring hand drawn floral motifs.
Can’t wait to see what a ‘Celebration of Joy’ looks like when it’s done.
Cuban sisters (twins actually) and musical sensations Ibeyi have started their reign over the musical landscape of 2014, they are an eclectic pair, pairing jazz instrumentation with modern synths as the backdrop for deeply soulful, poetic music that marries their Parisian need for expression with a very traditional understanding of traditional santeria/yoruba Orisa mythology and worship. I absolutely love their self-titled album ‘Ibeyi’.
Recently the Guardian (guardian.co.uk) got them to shoot a very casual ‘editorial’ to accompany their interview with the site, putting their unique spin on the fashions from the new 2015 season. The result is quite simply magical. I personally like Naomi because she wears those locks of hers so well, but Lisa is quietly slaying as well. The rest of the pictures are up for you to get all of your life.
FYI: Lisa has the fro and the innocent eyes and Naomi has the long hair and the smoulder. Pretty easy to tell them apart right?
Pre-Fall collections, the companion ‘season’ (if you will) to Resort collections are always tricky to pull off. This because the collection has to ultimately serve as a segue between the warm months and the cool months and stay practical for both. So when I received news that Nigerian designer and LFDW finalist Weizdhurm Franklyn had released a Pre-Fall collection on the heels of his largely successful S/S collection debuted at the 2014 LFDW fashion week, I got very interested. I knew he had talent and a very good team behind him. So I went to hunt down pictures from the look-book and this is what I found.
First of all, let me post this disclaimer: There will be foul language, for now, more than ever, it is appropriate.
After a cursory look through the pieces, my first thoughts were “the fuck is this?”
This is one of those instances where saying something nice before dropping criticisms can’t happen, because there isn’t really a lot of nice going on. I am always one for creative avenues and interesting approaches to fashion, but there comes a point where we have to say “Please stop.”
This was supposed to be a Pre-Fall collection. Pre-Fall, for those who are not familiar with the term, refers to collections meant to be showcased earlier than now (around November, to reach retailers by May) before the usual period for Fall collections, which typically come around this time of the year (February to March, to reach retailers in September), focusing on more commercial and wearable clothes to attract buyers, while often giving hints of what to expect by Fall. Pre-Fall collections are supposed to echo the trends of the previous Summer season while foreshadowing the trends that will dominate the Fall Season.
This collection fails, by this definition.
First off, it is a given that if you want to sell sex and sensuality through the use of sheer and daring slits, your choice of fabric must be incredibly lush and drape beautifully. The fabric choices for the collection were questionable at best, given the direction the cut and silhouettes took. The clothes are meant to be risqué, but they easily cross the line into unnecessarily slutty. Most of it is either too sheer, too short, or both, and with the exception of the short coats, very little from this collection is actually wearable for any respectable occasion.
Interestingly there is an outpouring of faux fur accessories; capes, hats and shawls draped ‘artfully’ around the model’s shoulders, head and neck. Fur is supposed to add an air of luxury to a look but the opposite happens. There is too little fur to suggest opulence and the fur is too ratty to pass for minimalist glamour. Using fur collars/hats/shawls when the model basically nude seems a lot like trying to hide a dead body with a handkerchief.
The few actually wearable clothes seem like they’re sportswear-inspired and veer completely off the direction of the rest of the clothes. That white sweater/jumper thing with the shorts just seemed to come out of nowhere, and I wondered what was up when the designer put that crotch-high slit on the pink skirt.. The only two clothes in line with the mood of the collection that also seem passable are the black jumpsuit with the sheer shoulder and sleeves, and the black maxi dress with the sheer middle area on the skirt. And maybe also the long black dress with the sheer skirt that has the opaque fabric underneath up to micro-mini-skirt length.
The rest? No.
Weizdhurm Franklyn had an interesting idea, the criss crossed striping on sheer fabric, he could have built a beautiful collection on that alone. There were too many ideas all at the same time, none gaining any proper execution. Also, this is just a lookbook (though a look book is supposed to be your clothes marketed at their most glamorous) and the clothes might look better in person. There is something to be said of his design team, particularly whoever styled the fur pieces and the chose the location. Shooting dark clothes in a dark room was not the most inspired idea. I wait for his next collection, I hope he redeems this misstep.
I have always loved editorials that tried to capture the aesthetic of a brand instead of a collage of brands all mashed together, so when I saw the photos from an editorial in the January 2015 Vogue Paris, featuring Magdalena Frackowiak and Elisabet Erm shot by Italian photographer Giampaolo Sgura, I couldn’t hide my joy.
Six photographs frame the models as life-like doll mascots for six major brands; Moschino, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Chanel and Saint Laurent Paris (formerly Yves Saint Laurent), capturing the aesthetic of the brand’s latest collections, all the way down to shoes and accessories. It’s so beautiful that I cannot but gush like a fan girl. There really isn’t anything I can say but let you guys see for yourselves.
My favorite easily is the Moschino look, it completely captures the tongue-in-cheek bubble gum avant garde angle that Jeremy Scoot has pushed over the last few seasons, right down to the interesting purses and pop culture heavy accessories.
Bridget Awosika has always presented herself as a global designer, never relying on the African quirks that define other Nigerian designers. In her new collection, she pushes new boundaries while staying true to the edge that cut a clear path for her. There is a lot in collection, softer fabric, more draping, (a lot of) fringe and interesting asymmetry as we have come to expect from her. The new collection has some really strong pieces but these three are my favorite.
The geometric print of this crop top/skirt combo is visually arresting and the draping exaggerates this. The loose silhouette of sleeveless formal crop top is fresh, complete with strategically placed black panels that provide contrast and emphasize the loose silhouette. I can see this working as separates and as an ensemble. Beautiful.
Where do I start from, the etherealness of the fabric? Or the ruching on the skirt? The contrast between the patent leather cumberbund and the matte see-through skirt. The blouse or the overshirt? I know that this is not a dress but I’d like to petition that the rules be bent for this look. It works so well. The stylist for the project did an amazing job.
This ensemble is so damn strong. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have seen this year. Bridget Awosika is known for her plays on form and silhouette and with this ensemble she schools us on how it’s done. The blouse is regal but edgy, incorporating several trends (capes, the crop trend, angular silhouettes) into a cohesive, singular look. The baggy capri-pants complement the power blouse perfectly. You know a piece is good when I want it for my wardrobe even though it’s women’s wear.
The new Bridget Awosika summer collection is masterful, a the work of a maven at the top of her craft.
Had a good look at this and I will applaud one thing from the beginning: it was a look book in the most basic sense of the word. There were no ridiculous poses to block the view, and the simplicity of it let the clothes take precedence.
The inspiration for the collection really comes through, almost to the point of looking like a pre-colonial era appropriate replica. The jackets, buttoned up shirts, muted colours and neutrals really give a sense of something military-era, which is further emphasized by the models’ stance and disposition. However, unlike the actual military, things are a lot more streamlined and fitted, which makes the collection attuned to recent trends. I can see a lot of uses for those jackets, whether dressed up or dressed down, and those button-up shirts are austere enough for office wear, yet not so boring that they can’t be fashion statements of their own accord.
The outfits with plaid fabric and shorts broke away from the “new-age Lord Lugard” feel of it and gave a more contemporary and street savvy edge, while the collarless tops looked a lot less serious and seemed to pay homage to African clothing while still maintaining the tone of the rest of the collection with the use of buttons and pocket details. Continue reading S/S 2015 : BOSI AND CHARLES S/S 15→
It’s just a question I have thought to ask. I have seen dozens and dozens of look books and magazine editorials splashed out on the blogs over the last three years and I am starting to feel like maybe I should ask the question out loud. See if I’m the only one who thinks that.
Are Nigerian editorials about the clothes or are they about something else?
Look books and fashion editorials serve a niche in the Nigerian fashion industry, giving potential customers their first look of new collections in the absence of mass produced, readily available third party retailer catalogues. As a result of this, it needs to be given a lot more priority. Continue reading Why Did Our Look Books Stop Being About The Clothes?→