Nigerian born London based Bunmi Olaye, creative director of fashion label Bunmi Koko with rising profile in the international fashion industry has launched a new mini three-piece capsule bridal collection coinciding with The Royal Wedding of William and Kate- Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Olaye was invited as part of the panel of designers to comment on UK’s television channel ITV coverage on The Royal Wedding. The topic of discussion was no other than the most famous dress in the world – the wedding dress of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The sketch design from Bunmi Koko’s capsule collection was shown on ITV during The Royal Wedding coverage and Olaye was given an opportunity to talk about her choice of the classic and vintage dress made from French lace, chiffon, organza with silk satin lining for the Duchess.
The dress can be described as a 3-dimensional pleating detail (longitudinal Caissons) with a bodice that was shrunk down to a centimeter a pleat. The inspiration for the collection was got from The Royal Wedding, according to Olaye ‘it made sense to have a royalty theme behind the collection, as we have just celebrated another historic Royal Wedding.’ She further adds by saying, “I was so glad to be a part of the special day in some way. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing as I was so close to the Palace. The dresses in the collection were named after female royal titles such as Duchess, Countess and Baroness.’
This taster collection launches the label’s bridal line and clearly shows Olaye’s point of view as a designer.
The Duchess dress from the bridal collection is named after The Duchess of Cambridge and is intricately hand finished incorporating contemporary and traditional bridal wear for today’s discerning bride.
The Baroness dress is also a contemporary one and made from silk crepe backed satin. The front has a structured design made from organza draped pleats at the centre of the chest and that is mirrored on the sheer chiffon sleeves and finished off with very fine horsehair braid to create the Bunmi Koko signature sleeves.
The Countess dress is young and edgy edge and made from heavy silk crepe backed satin combined with natural Scottish lambskin for the skirt. The shoulders are defined and structured with padding.
Bunmi Koko’s innovative and creative talents have received numerous accolades, in 2010 she won best international designer at African Fashion week. She also showcased collections in Africa and London including the Jo’burg Fashion week and under the Vauxhall Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week both in 2010.
Bunmi Olaye has not only been fortunate but has also put in a lot of hardwork to get to where she is today, according to her ‘I’ve been really fortunate with everything that’s happened. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s great to be recognized when you’ve worked so hard and put everything you’ve got into something. It’s great.’
Bunmi Koko came about in March 2009, it is a label that she runs with her life and business partner Francis Odom who is responsible for the choice of ‘Koko’ as part of the label, Olaye says, ‘When it came to brainstorming names….he calls me ‘Koko’, which is like a pet name. It actually means ‘my other half’ in his language. My first name, Bunmi, means ‘God gave me’, in Yoruba. So, it made sense to put ‘Bunmi’ and ‘Koko’ together, which means ‘God gave me my other half.’
Olaye studied fashion and has worked for various brands including Louis Vuitton, Allison Rodger and Alexander McQueen. Though she attests to the fact that Africa and Scottish cultures play a strong role in her label’s influence as she is able to appreciate both cultures, which is also what her designs represent, she however refuses to be solely tagged as an ‘African designer’ as she grew up in the UK and has travelled the world. Also a vast a vast amount of her knowledge comes from meeting people of different race, cultures and backgrounds, especially living in London, a city know as the hub for different cultures.
With her tremendous experience in the industry she gives one major advice to aspiring designers ‘understand your target market, you have to think of who’s going to be wearing your product, when you know who your woman is, you design with her in mind and that helps you design your product.’
Olaye has big aspirations for the next five years that includes increasing her international recognition, make readily available pieces and stock in stores around the world. She also wants to own a flagship store and expand into producing other accessories such as shoes and bags.
For more information visit: Bunmi Koko
David Brunetti for Bunmi Koko