By Kayito Nwokedi
The end of something is better than its beginning. No truer words have ever been spoken. The proof was on Saturday, the 1st of November 2014, when the GTB Lagos fashion & design week came to a close. Everyone who is anyone was present, from billionaires such as Femi Otedola, to former Miss World and denim designer, Agbani Darego. It was an event no one who witnessed it will forget.
The show began on a playful note, with ituen by ituen basi, a line designed by ituen’s trusty assistant, Khadijah, as a sort of ‘thank you’ to years of dedicated service. Her bespectacled models danced along the runway in prints that comprised of gingham and tape-rule grading, grounded by their print Oxford-clad feet. It suggested a younger clientele demographic.
Ade Bakare showed jackets with dramatic sleeves. MAI, as usual, showed menswear and women’s wear. It was a pragmatic play on masculine/feminine and feminine/masculine. For the men, the tailoring was strong, but softened with pastel colors and floral prints. The women’s silhouettes were elongated and fluid, but strengthened with the pinstripe fabrics all the looks came in. With a live drummer as the soundtrack, and a played video of a regular day in Lagos amidst its hustle and bustle, it sent off a vibe of urgency that one needs to survive in a city such as this. This is Lagos after all.
The terrific trio, or women of substance (as I like to call them) were up next. They are, in no particular order of preference, Meena, Bridget Awosika, and Ejiro Amos Tafiri.
Meena’s collection was a meditation on both form and shape. Shape, in terms of silhouettes that were close to the body. Form in terms of fabric usage, cut and structure. Garments were pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, with remnants of fabric left to hang freely. To some, it felt excessive and unnecessary. But they missed the point. Without that move, the clothes would have felt a bit stiff, and would have lacked movement. It was smart thinking on Uju Offiah’s part, and it paid off.
Bridget Awosika took on fringe. Sure, her black and white, superb draping, and asymmetry were all present, but it was the way she handled fringe that was huge news. First off, the fabrics were made of aso-oke. Second, the placement of strips of patent leather doubled as black tape that looked like they attached the fringe to the bodices of the dresses.
Ejiro’s opening white looks glowed in the dark. Not the entirety of the dresses, but the floral motifs embroidered on them. Other than that clever feat, the rest of the collection was a zeroing in on evening wear. She handled all techniques possible: use expensive fabrics, shine, drapery, and sheer: a half black, half white sheath dress came with a mesh panel that zigzagged its way from neckline to hem. Stylists would be so happy to pull a dress or two for their clients from this collection.
The closing shows felt like Paris, when Valentino and Chanel close fashion week. Here, it was in the form of Lanre DaSilva Ajayi, and Tiffany Amber. Lanre’s ‘rock delight’ collection featured prints that resembled the assemblage of rocks. Tiffany Amber’s formula of easy silhouettes included lamé and artwork by kolade oshinowo.
The night was also solemn. The okunoren twins dedicated their all black collection to one of Nigeria’s fashion greats, Remi Lagos.
All in all, this was a show that embodied the spirit of all the major fashion weeks put together. For day one, evening wear. For day two, sport. For day three, tribal. For the last day, creativity. It also represented the spirit of Lagos: complex, but not at the expense of fun.