Seven African Designers Dazzle At The Spring 2012 Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week

Socialites, bloggers, editors, models and celebrities dressed to kill at the Avery Fisher hall in New York on the 15th of September 2011 for the Made in Africa collective. Arise magazine, a London based publication brought together seven outstanding designers from all over the African continent.

The model line-up included Sessilee Lopez, Georgie Badiel, Rose Cordero, Janeil Williams, Amina Ayinde and new Nigerian export Chika Emmanuel all of whom gave the clothes a hot vibe.

The show started with designs from Nigerian based designer Asibelua– a new luxury line from Momo showing pieces with bold colour prints and the traditional tie and dye designs in soft silk.

Nigerian/London based Tsemaye Binitie then followed the collective’s line up with his collection ‘Beautiful People’ which had a strong sexy undertone with soft flimsy fabrics in both subtle and bold colours.

We then moved on to that of Nigerian/London based Bunmi Koko titled ‘Allure of the Sirens’- formed on the seductive nature of the ‘sirens’ in Greek myths. The collection drew inspiration from the designer’s combined Nigerian and Scottish heritage while exploring and telling a story of a twisted parallel between allure and danger, which was a key theme.  The discovery of damaged and used produce from old shipwrecks forms the trend, which adapts androgynous dressing into something organic and femininely sexy. There was an exaggeration of silhouettes, belted waists, winged sleeves, draping, versatility, translucency, fluidity and Bunmi Koko’s signature longitudinal caissons. As well as unusual textiles, an aquatic palette, tassels, lace embroideries, organza, chiffon and satin.

The fourth designer in the line up is definitely my favourite and one of my clients who I work with as publicist, Fashion Consultant and Stylist. Nigerian designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi (LDA) showed her elegant ‘Labour of Love’ collection best described as a mix of the architectural works of Italy with the vibrancy of Africa and in particular Nigeria evident in the choice of bold colours and lady-like silhouettes. The pieces came in silks, lace and silk sequin tweeds. LDA also made great use bright colourful butterfly prints in romantic silk fabrics.

Next was French-Ivoirian designer Pierre-Antoine Vettorello’s collection, which challenged the imagination by creating a playful, elegant and conceptual atmosphere. The pieces are accessible and retain the imaginative aspects. The collection also featured some sculptural and gothic effects.

Nigerian designer Jewel by Lisa’s collection was a modern translation of Nigeria in the 60s: using traditional menswear and classic garments or pieces from that era as inspiration to create ultra-feminine pieces for today&#39s woman. There was the label’s signature Ankara pieces that have been hand-embellished and some personalised custom-made luxurious prints accessorised with beaded bags.

Last in the line up was South African design duo- Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit of KLuK CGDT who brought a romantic collection using colours and traditional fabrics that bring about a whimsical innocence in the pieces.

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