For the first time since Guaranty Trust Bank Fashion Weekend kicked off three years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the two-day event, which took place in Lagos and included master classes from industry experts, a trade-show and runway presentations. So as opposed to the traditional runway-only event, people were able to shop from local designers as well as interact with the likes of Dapper Dan and Nicholas Kirkwood at the masterclasses.
ITUEN BASI KICKED OFF DAY 1
The first day of the runway shows started with none other than Nigerian designer, Ituen Basi, opening with models whose cheerful stance reflected a sense of optimism, walking to some of Fela Kuti’s biggest hits including Zombie and Suffer, which set the tone for Ituen’s Spring Summer 2019 collection. This was a follow up to Ituen’s last collection (inspired by Fela’s 27 wives). The collection epitomized the energy and vibrancy of Fela, while the NYSC jungle boots was a reflection of the determination to walk the talk. The show opened with dancers heralding him as they used to back in the day while the models personified Fela as a woman in 2018. The collection included beautiful printed mini dresses, lace onesies, and handcrafted embroidered pieces.
SENEGALESE DESIGNER, SUKEINA BY OMAR SALAM WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
This was followed by Senegalese designer, Omar Salam, whose brand, Sukeina, also happened to be one of my highlights of the night. Apart from the beautiful silhouettes made up mostly of high-neck shirts, bodycon dresses, and high waisted skirts, the clothes were tastefully done transitioning from monochrome pieces, mint green, bright red, yellow to blue as the show progressed.
ROMEO HUNT ALSO STOOD OUT
And then there was the New York-based designer, Romeo Hunt, who opened his show, blasting Girrrl Like by South African musician, Dope Saint Jude. Some of the standout pieces included looks with zip detail, a mix of denim, structured silhouettes and plastic hoodies.
THERE WAS ALSO CLIVE RUNDLE, ADAMA PARIS AND DAVID TLALE
Other highlights from day 1 also included Clive Rundle whose collection was a mix of bold colours and patchwork while, Senegalese designer, Adama Paris, followed with a subtler approach with pieces made up mostly of neutral tones, with Chimes of Freedom by Youssou Ndour setting the tone. The show ended with David Tlale’s centenary collection, a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
AND THEN THERE WAS LANRE DASILVA AJAYI, TAIBO BACAR AND LAQUAN SMITH FROM DAY 2
Day 2 kicked off with Lanre Dasilva’s modern collection, which according to the designer, seeks to highlight the variants of femininity among women in contemporary society and celebrate all of them collectively. There was also Taibo Bacar from Mozambique whose tropical-inspired collection included culottes in neutral shades, cropped tops, and swimsuits styled with oversized sunglasses and large tots. The event ended with Laquan Smith’s show which included a lot of frills, high slits, plunging necklines and shine.
Images: Eva Losada/ Kola Oshalusi