Thursday, 20 September 2012

Africa’s finest

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What a weekend I've had attending the Fashions finest shows in London at Fashion week 2012. Saturday certainly kicked off with an explosive celebration of African culture, colour and textiles emblazed proudly upon feminine silhouettes of the forties, sixties and seventies. One of the many shows which stood out for me earlier on in the day was the powerful work of April2nd; a London based designer merging traditional African textile, colour and classic feminine tailoring with a 2012 edge of her own.


With the use of bright apple greens, oranges and African batik print fabrics and a nod to the sixties, this collection stood out for me as bold, feminine , un restrained and free spirited.


As the models walked further we were then treated to a real seventies revival featuring bay city roller -esq diagonal checks and vivid hues of midnight blue contrasted with yellows, set off perfectly by attention to detail such as open backed zip detail and colour blocking contrasted against the check.

African inspiration and textile was felt everywhere that day and another favourite show of mine had to be Brenda Marakas' celebration of Ugandan culture, utensils and imagery. Being a fan of art and imagery on clothing, I felt Brenda illustrated real beauty in every day utensils and took us instantaneously to far -away places of tribal living, camp and cave paintings. Thousands of miles away from the tribal trends we have seen this summer, this wonderful flared trouser combination tells a story of early settlement, survival and cave painting to me. The waterfall hemmed dress, then takes us by the camp fire and onto the straw of grazing cattle. These colours then merge into a dusky African sunset in the third dress. I particularly liked the use of the rope belt accessory, almost mimicking the domed underskirt garment of the 1700s worn to hoop out dresses by the likes of Marianne Antoinette yet, this time telling a tale of basket weaving on sun baked planes and elongating the short dress to new visual lengths.


Over belts' on clothing were also echoed in Eva Kamarotos collection later on that day and I feel that 'inside out' under-garmented is definitely one to watch for seasons to come. Perhaps Brenda's most ingenious combination of the practical and imagery had to be the terracotta pot handbag and 'that' terracotta pot dress featured below. The use of terracotta water pots as pockets was equally ingenious and I'd like to see more of this designer adorning practical utensils onto clothing in the near future. The final dress I feature here feminises the use of rope yet again but, this time in a more decorative almost nautical inspired knot combination.
Two wonderful collections from two very different and vibrant designers fusing their own twist on traditional African dress and cultural elements. A real pleasure to view and an inspiration to all.

For more information on these collections be sure to look up or Brenda Maraka on htts://