“Everyone please take your seats, we will be starting in a few minutes.” The audience took their designated chairs and positions. It’s Saturday night 8p.m. sharp, at the Broad Street ballroom in New York. The lights dim, the music starts and the first model of Korto Momolu’s collection struts her long legs down the catwalk. Day three of AFWNY 2012 has begun.
The audience couldn’t have asked for a better show opener. Former Project Runway TV show contestant and designer, Korto Momolu, gave life to the professional woman’s wardrobe. Done in browns, reds, teals, and black, her pieces could work for day or night looks. Chic capes, belted sweaters, and knee length skirts kept it office appropriate while the floor length plunging V neck and strapless gowns are ideal for formal events. Every model looked stunning and each look brought on louder applause.
Ghanaian design house MABM is always in favor of embracing feminine details while drawing their
audience in with girly details. In fashion, this translates into colored lace and figure hugging mermaid silhouettes with low-cut back hems. Shimmery half shirts styled with colorful skirts transitioned into lace dresses with contrasting sleeves, sheer fabrics, short shorts, and knee length skirts. All of the pieces were very versatile and wearable. Wide printed clutches were an accessory carried by the majority of models in the show. I personally enjoyed the unexpected hems on the bottom of a few of the dresses. INGENIOUS! The re-positioned hem created a very sexy look. The show finale was striking! It looked to be romper, beneath a long magenta skirt with a high slit. Bold and beautiful, just like the rest of the collection.
House of Marie brought warm rich browns, oranges, yellows, and pinks to the evening. The hues looked so natural on the models that rocked tunics, blouses, blazers, and pants in the earthy tones. Jewelry added an extra element of texture to the printed dresses and jackets. Bright yellow printed pants with stars placed like polka dots complemented the lace hoodie worn with it. Black and yellow has never looked so good together until House of Marie put her spin on it.
Ethiopian bred Firkirte Addis showed one of my favorite collections. If I were to name the show, it would be “Fit for a Queen”. One shoulder dresses and tops in white were canvas to intricate patterns around the chest and shoulders. All detailing used seemed reminiscent of an African queen’s wardrobe. Gold jewelry and blue beads accessorized the first set of looks, while a gold snake was made to outline the chest and shoulder area in a number of pieces seen later in the show. Aesthetically talented, Addis‘s gold headpieces and snake bangles brought every look to life. She has amazing talent and is definitely one to watch!
For the boys, Allex Kangala delivered a collection of menswear with inventive twists. Models wore traditional tuxedo suit concepts that were tweaked with unusual cuts and finishing materials. All of his looks provided charisma and character. The craftsmanship of the suits – impeccable! My favorite would be the metallic like brown suit jacket with a brown bow tie and black slacks. Kangala created a jacket for a man of every taste. Wearable men’s runway fashion is hard to come by but this collection suites many types of men in many lifestyles.
Afua Sam, CEO and lead designer of fashion house Studio D’Maxsi, has shown her talent yet again with an amazing collection of beauty and elegance. Her show opened with a gorgeous gold and teal floor length dress that moved effortlessly with the model down the runway. The pieces to follow infused lace, chiffon, and precisely placed ruffles, giving each look a powerful presence of demure and glamour. It was apparent how beautiful the models felt as they slowly glided to the end of the runway and turned for the crowd to take in the beautiful garments. Good fashions give feelings of confidence, which radiate from those wearing them; Studio D’Maxsi clearly has the formula down to a T.
Designer Marianne G.G. was inspired by her family tree and created a line with her Egyptian ancestors in mind. Her use of embroidery and clean lines in all of her designs was impressive. The prints and jewels sewn into the sides and trim of the dresses were subtle. The color palate used several earth tones and beiges. Each gown skimmed the body while highlighting the beauty of the back or shoulders of the woman wearing it.
The new kid on the block held her own! Afritili designs are for women who wants to enhance and embrace their sexuality, femininity, and personal power. Brown high waist trousers with printed trim were just the beginning each garment owned the girl wearing it. Tops from the collection are great for work, daytime, and formal events. Wardrobe staples such as the dress suit, and floor length gowns were given printed flare, thigh high slits, and beaded backs. Each detail enhanced the model’s figure and the overall beauty of the woman species. A beautiful collection for a beautiful brand that is sure to be around for fashion weeks to come!
Leonche represented its African roots through a collection of prints and solids. Modest printed designs accounted for the majority of skirts, dresses, and tunics. Radiance commenced as each look came to life on the models. Most outfits had some type of belt around the waist that defined the curves of the model. Embracing your origins and wearing them tastefully is a vital component of the brand, which they executed very well.
Accessories guru, Ani Siyah brought her best with clutches made of Kente, Ankara, Notoma fabrics and leather. Known for her extra touch, she likes using beads and different fabric textures to enhance her pieces. During her showcase, there were a variety of bag shapes and sizes. There were a few styles with chains and cloth handles and then some without, giving the woman plenty of options when it comes to her clutch. The clutch bag movement is growing. Ani Siyah is where you need to go!
Peter Walden gave more of an artistic approach to his suit collection. His creative influence was apparent through eye-catching details such as buttons, thick stitching, and contrasting trim. I appreciated how he played with the front cut of the suit, making it less traditional, and more contemporary and new age. His suit jackets would work well with both slacks and jeans. Walden thought out of the box, which resulted in the ‘Perfect Gentleman’ collection.
Self-taught designer Chigozie Anaele opened her showcase by way of the color-blocking trend. Her collection played with hues and lightweight fabrics. She created new dimensions to her shorts with printed trim and dolman sleeve blouses. Kachi Designs had a great range of necklines revealing just enough shoulder. A denim dress and blazer proved it is possible to be chic in denim separates through this brilliant collection of color, cuts, and creativity.
Drum roll please, the final show of AFWNY 2012 was Nadir Tati. This Angolan designer’s work is unforgettable. The headpieces worn in the show were beautiful and matched the garments they were worn with. My favorite was the black leather knee-length dress with vertical print in the front. The collection was an exquisite blend of African Luxury. It was the perfect ending to three days of intense passion for African Fashions.