AMFW Catwalk Superlatives
Arise Magazine Fashion Week not only shut down Lagos, Nigeria, but had the World Wide Web in a frenzy as all eyes were waiting and anticipating to see who is who within the world of global African fashion. The designers, the models, the stylists, and fashionistas all made their way to Las Gidi...the bling, fashion, and champagne capital of the world. After a jam-packed extended weekend of over 70 runway shows, red carpets fit for an Oga, and fist pumping that surely rivaled SXSW, there were several designers and models that left a unique impression on us.
1. HEAD OF THE CLASS: Loza Maleombho
Cote D'Ivoirian Loza Maleombho was inspired by the juxtaposition of the Tuareg people of Northern Africa mixed with traditional West African textiles, such as Kente and Ankara. The result: a beautiful medley of wanderers wearing perfectly tied headwraps, structured silhouettes, and prints, prints, and prints some more! [INSPIRE: Loza Maleombho's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
"Dear Submission" - We love everything about your seductive lace, perfectly placed slits, and curve accentuating pants. It's a battle between naughty and nice with you. Cute little fish swim downstream towards saucy strips of lace. A leather apron covers just enough atop a sheer, yet still demure, lace skirt. You win, we're forever yours. [INSPIRE: Maki Oh's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
3. MOST ARTISTIC: Bridget Awosika
Art truly imitates life with Bridget Awosika's "Passage to Nirvana" collection. Custom prints of peach and electric blue hued brush strokes, inspired by the Impressionist art movement of the 19th century, served as the backdrop for Bridget Awosika's evolving woman. The BA woman goes through a journey of self discovery in this collection, as exemplified through subtle iterations of bondage, liberation, and self-expression. [INSPIRE: Bridget Awosika AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
4. MATH WIZ: David David
Geometric prints came charging down the runway in David David's high energy catwalk show. A thoughtful collection of parkas, swimsuits, separates, and rompers were each adorned with his signature eye-popping color and symmetry. The only thing more psychedelic than the collection, was appropriately David David's catwalk soundtrack featuring M.I.A’s Bad Girls and Azealia Banks’ 212. [INSPIRE: David David's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
5. MOST ATHLETIC: Telfar
Born in Queens and bred in Liberia, Telfar Clemens of NYC-based Telfar consistently develops and refines his sportswear brand season-after-season. For AMFW, Telfar showed an eclectically witty collection chock full of unexpected design details, which made garments ever so daringly appropre, both on the court and off. [Inspire: Telfar's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
6. BEST DRESSED: Jewel By Lisa
Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel By Lisa presented 25 completely swoon-worthy looks, each almost more covetable than the last. She covered maxis, peplum waistlines, sheer opulence, asymmetrical hemlines, and mixed materials all while evoking a 1920's inspired rocker-chic feel. We couldn't agree more..."There's Something About A Lady" and this is precisely how she would dress. [Inspire: Jewel By Lisa's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
7. MOST MATURED SINCE FRESHMAN YEAR: Clan
Teni, Aba, and Tiwa, daughters of famed Nigerian designer Deola Sagoe, made their fashion debut last season with the launch of Clan. They started with a charming collection of ankara and lace shorts, polka-dot dresses, girly rompers, and printed bustiers. With their second collection, Clan proved they indeed were not too young to grow up! Structured silhouettes, peplum waistlines and plunging necklines gracefully added a more mature aesthetic to Clan, making this collection one of our most covetable from AMFW. [Inspire: Clan's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
8. MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: Tsemaye Binitie
From Lagos to London and Paris to NYC, Tsemaye Binitie leaves his mark in every city he steps foot into. Binitie's collections grow stronger and more defined with each and every season. Never resting his heals on his accolades and remaining thirsty for continued growth, Tsemeye Binitie was all smiles when he took home AMFW's "Womenswear of the Year Award". Success is relative, but no matter which way you spin it, Tsemeye Binitie is perfectly poised to be successful within this cut throat industry of ours. [Inspire: Tsemeye Binitie's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
9. MOST POPULAR: Ozwald Boateng
Savile Row's first black tailor, Ozwald Boateng, proved to be the crowd favorite after more than 70 runway shows, 4 days of sweltering humidity, 2 gigantuan runway tents, and countless hours of amazingly good, bad, and fugly collections. Shortly after his catwalk debut on African soil, Boateng was rightfully crowned with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" while the audience screamed, clapped, jumped, and made all sorts of noise in celebration that a trailblazer such as Boateng indeed deserves. [Inspire: Ozwald Boateng's AMFW 2012 Collection]
10. FRESHMAN TO WATCH: Kezia Frederick
Less than one year after graduating from Central Saints Martin, fashion and textile designer Kezia Frederick sent her debut collection down the runway during AMFW. Frederick, who pulled from textile design experience gained while interning for Suno and Jeremy Scott, created custom prints inspired by Nigerian women in church wear as seen in Hackney, London. The unique juxtaposition of prints coupled with the fluidity of each garment in Fredericks maiden collection makes us eager to see what she will come out with next! [Inspire: Kezia Frederick's AMFW 2012 Collection]
11. ONE OF THE BOYS: Buki Akib
From Ase-Oke capelets and gilletes to weekender satchels, Buki Akib's menswear collection was as full of androgyny as it was with bare chested men. With a menswear collection this sassy, we're perfectly fine with being one of the boys. [Inspire: Buki Akib's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
12. MOST DRAMATIC: Kluk CGDT
Malcolm and Christian of Kluk CGDT are known to put on quite the theatrical runway show. And put on a show they did during the final hours of AMFW. The South African design duo sent feathers, delicate lace applique, tiered gowns, and exposed nipples gliding down the catwalk. The piece de resistance, however, was this giant poof of whimsical delight that closed the show. [Inspire: Kluk CGDT's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
13. BEST PERSONALITY: Tiffany Amber
Very few things can rile up a crowd of weary-eyed fashionistas after 20 runway shows and counting at 1 in the morning, but Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber did just that! The crowd started jumping as soon as the first model hit the catwalk, walking to the beat of "I'm Every Woman" by Whitney Houston. Look after look, Folake showed us that she's multi-dimensional and immensely talented by presenting a collection that steered away from her signature billowy silhouettes. The perfect ending to the evening was when Folarin-Coker came out to take a bow donning a voluptuous afro wig and a beautiful ear-to-ear grin...just before pulling off her wig and whipping her hair back and forth! [Inspire: Tiffany Amber's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
14. CLASS CLOWN: Okunoren Twins
The Okunoren Twins take their craft very seriously...but their runway show, not so much. And that's exactly why we loved it! With a host of quirky ideas that could easily rival a set from the Three Stooges, we were just as eager to see the props as we were to see the next look. From a cigar smoking rasta wheeled down the runway by an asian monk to a dangling moose head in the hands of Rihanna's on-screen flame, the Okunoren Twins' theatrics were just as engaging as their impeccably crafted suits. It's all fun and games until the baby in a bicycle basket starts crying tho. Yet that didn't stop the bevy of charades nor detract from the exquisiteness of their collection. [Inspire: Okunoren Twins AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
15. CUTEST COUPLE: Darlene and Lizzy Okpo
Darlene and Lizzy Okpo are not just the design duo behind William Okpo, they're also sisters and friends. We love sister-friends! These Nigerian-American gals are so sweet, with just the right amount of sass, that it's impossible not to fall in love with them at first sight. From New York Fashion Week to Arise Magazine Fashion Week, this is one couple that's in it for the long haul. [Inspire: William Okpo's AMFW 2012 Catwalk Collection]
16. MOST OUTSPOKEN: One Nigerian Boy
From exclusive backstage close-ups to capturing street style aficionados, Terence Sambo of One Nigerian boy provided a comprehensive and well-curated recap of the best of the best that Arise Magazine Fashion Week had to offer. Chock full of enlightening commentary and well thought out analyses, not a beat nor pleat was missed. [Inspire: Terence Sambo's AMFW 2012 coverage on One Nigerian Boy]
17. MOST MUSICAL: Efya
Up and coming Ghanaian songstress, Efya, kept the crowd at bay during the final hours of AMFW. An acoustic rendition of her single, Decepticon, kept even the most restless of audience members tranquilized by her melodic jazz-infused twi and scatting. Efya's quick performance was a painful tease as she exited stage-left and left us fiending for more.
18. BEST HAIR: Georgie Badiel
Beyond being AMFW's Model of the Year, Georgie Badiel is incredibly smart, humble, Co-Founder of Models 4 Water, Founder of Georgie's Garden...and has the RADDEST haircut we've seen in a long time! Georgie's new faux-hawk exemplifies her easy going and carefree spirit. Long hair? Sure don't care! Georgie Badiel shows she has nothing to hide behind an 18 inch yaki coiffure.
19. BEST EYES: Dudley O'Shaughnessy
It's no wonder Rihanna found love in a hopeless way with Dudley O'Shaughnessy. Those eyes...piercing! Winner of AMFW's Male Model of the Year Award, O'Shaughnessy walked the catwalk with the most intensely focused glaze we ever did see!
BEST HANGOUT: Belvedere Tent
Since we're not really in High School, we can condone copious, yet *always* tolerable, amounts of Belve consumption before, during, and/or after runway shows. In true Nigerian spirit, a party aint a party till there's all-white leather sofas, shimmering disco balls, a top-shelf open bar, a live DJ spinning Afrobeat, and a beautiful crowd simply looking for good times!
Who were your favorite designers and models from AMFW 2012? Sound off below!