Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Afropolitans - V&A Museum

Last Friday was truly the highlight of my Fashion Styling career thus far and I find that I am actually still slightly overwhelmed by how amazing an experience it was!  Ok, so let me explain: I was invited to come on board as the Lead Stylist for a fashion installation at an event called Friday Night Late: Afropolitans, which was held at the prestigious V&A Museum, London.
It was an evening exploring African photography, fashion, style and identity in celebration of the exhibition Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography.

I had the pleasure of collaboratively working with the Show Producer - the lovely Minna Salami (MsAfropolitan) and Ola Shobowale, who was  the Creative Director and host of the show.

I was absolutely thrilled and very honoured when Minna called me, one evening, to ask me to be a part of this fantastic project.  It was great to throw ideas around with her and Ola and be involved with organising certain logistics.
As Lead Stylist, my role, in particular, was mainly to liaise with the MUAs, hair stylists, the shoe sponsor, my assistant etc and brief them on the concept for the outfits and make-up that Minna had chosen. 

I therefore put together a style board and make-up concept board (below) which provided a useful visual aid for the MUAs and hair stylists and made it easier to share with them the looks that she wanted to create:

Afropolitan Style Board
Make-Up concept board

On the day of the event, I was almost ready to combust with excitement!
It was my first experience of having so much freedom to be as creative as I pleased and put together outfits using beautiful pieces from talented African designers: Eki Orleans, KemKem Studio, Duro Oluwo, Chichia London, Beatrice K Newman, Bestow Elan, Tiffany Amber and many others.
Accessories were by Bianou, Hayley Kruger et al and the fantastic shoes were kindly lent to us by Mosaic.

The requisite purpose of the Afropolitan fashion installation was to harness and display the essence of African beauty, elegance and splendour. 
So my whole aim was to do my best to fulfill that by enhancing the model's natural beauty by creating a variety of outfits teamed with accessories to suit their body-shape, height and complexion. I wanted to ensure, above all, that each model looked strikingly beautiful, distinguished and somewhat endearingly unusual in order to ultimately emphasise the uniqueness of the beauty of African women .
Compounded with this, Minna and I also discussed creating original and eccentric looks that the ordinary woman would not necessarily wear, which I believe I managed to pull off!

Here is a taster of the finished products:

KemKem Studio (left)

Beatrice K Newman
Eki Orleans

Chichia London (jacket) and Zebra (trousers)
Beatrice K Newman

Neckpiece by Bianou (left)
Headpiece by Hayley Kruger

The Kora player - Jally Kebba Susso. Models strutted down the catwalk to his renditions
Some of the Designers: (l-r) Hazel of Eki Orleans, Christina of Chichia London and Erzumah of Bestow Elan and MUA Misha Terret-Njie
Myself with Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes (centre) and models
Dream team: myself, Minna Salami (Show Producer) [middle] and Ola Shobowale (Creative Director).

[I will aim to add a few backstage shots as soon as I can!] For more catwalk images, please see my Styling Portfolio.

What an amazing event it turned out to be! The response and turn-out was incredible, so much more than we anticipated! The Raphael Gallery where it was held was completely full to capacity, to the point where, unfortunately, some were unable to enter!

We have received rave reviews and there have been requests for us to recreate a similar event at some stage..so watch this space!

[Images courtesy of Photographer Rob Sheppard - www.robsheppard.com ]

Friday, 17 June 2011

Loud Mouth

Having injected some brighter, vibrant colours into our Spring/Summer wardrobes, why not incorporate some into our make-up bags also?!

Bold colour to make those puckers pop is all the rage this season. Pay particular attention to ranges of orange and coral, which has been prominent on the catwalks and a notable S/S 2011 Beauty trend.

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Milly by Michelle Smith


Spring 2011 catwalks of J. Mendel, Ohne Titel, Imitation, and Mill
Are you sold? Thought so..well here are some suggestions of orange or coral lipsticks to compliment each type of skin tone to help you select the correct shade:

Pale Skin:

YSL- Dewy Papaya 
(Volupté Sheer Candy range)

Other lipstick hues that suit pale skin are:  

Esteé Lauder - Melon ,£18 (Pure colour range),  Esteé Lauder - Orange Poppy (Pure colour gloss stick range), £17.50

Medium/Olive Skin:  

MAC - Meltdown, £13.50
 Other lipstick hues that suit medium skin are: 

Esteé Lauder - Crystal Coral, £18 (Pure colour range),  Dior - Andalouse [435] (Rouge Dior range).

Dark Brown Skin:

  YSL: No 21 (Rouge Pur Couture range) 

Other lipstick hues that suit dark brown skin are: 

Esteé Lauder - Coral fantasy, £18 (Pure colour range),  Nars - Beautiful Liar (sheer) or Casablanca (satin), both £17.50 .

For more info on rockin' lippy this summer, see my article: Gettin' Lippy With It.

[Images sourced from respective cosmetic websites]

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Graduate Fashion Week 2011 - Highlights

Graduate Fashion Week swung around again last week (5th-8th June) at Earls Court 2, London.
The initiative behind this event is to provide a platfom for the best BA Graduate fashion designers from Universities across the UK to showcase their talent.

What tickles me about GFW is that there is always plentiful evidence that these creative innovators of tomorrow truly believe in "stepping out of the box", veering away from conventionality and bravely venturing into the world of unrestricted originality. It is definitely one of the fashion scenes where you can behold creativity at it's best. I admire the use and juxtaposition of multiple shapes, concepts and colours. 
It's refreshing that with GFW there really are no rules or criteria, just free reign to concoct the kookiest, quirkiest and wackiest of fashion.
The fun element of fashion is harnessed and what you therefore experience is this:

Rachel Cogley

Nicola Chisnall

Laura Sorensen

Edward Lord
Edward Lord

Sarika Pancholi
Lucy Penney
Laura Jane Bailey

[Images courtesy of Photographer, Rob Sheppard - http://www.catwalk-capture.com]

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Backstage Report: Afro Hair and Beauty Live 2011

Over the most recent May Bank Holiday, once again, I was flitting around backstage at a Fashion Show! On this occasion it was at the Afro Hair and Beauty Live event which took place at the Business Design Centre in Islington.

I have been meaning to blog about this a lot sooner, but balancing a full-time job as well as other fashion-related projects outside of that is certainly no menial feat! (More on these projects in the coming weeks) 

Sleep deprivation is all too familiar nowadays!

The Afro Hair and Beauty Show has been running for the past 30 years and is an event tailored for women from African and Caribbean heritage.

It is reknowned for it's mini shows and exhibitions featuring the most outlandish hairstyles and wacky fashion creations! 
A sea of various boutiques and stands can also be found where companies and brands promote and sell their products and services, using interesting demonstrations.

 During this two-day event, I worked as part of a team who jointly co-ordinated the mayhem logistics and assisted with the styling at two installments of the "Zed Eye Presents" fashion shows where established as well as emerging designers showcased some samples from their collections.

There was also a pop-up boutique where some of their ensembles were on display and available for purchase.

The first show featured samples from the emerging designers including Lanyero, Adopted Culture, Monsura Boutique, Yaa Ataa Bags, Honey Malalou and Yummi Kouture.
The second show was a display of the established designers: Zed Eye, Ayakai Couture, Afro-Chique, Oheme Ohene and Tina Lobondi.

Here are some catwalk shots:

Lanyero Designer (left)
Honey Malaolu
Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi
Yaa Ataa Couture Bags
...And some of the backstage happenings...
Myself and a fashion assistant organising the collections and "running order" prior to the show
Doing what I love best..
The uber-talented MAC  MUA- Stacy Okafor
Backstage, minutes before the show (and crazyness!) begins. All models dressed in Zed Eye Designs
(L-R) Stacy (MUA), Yolande (Show Overseer), Zi (Fashion Designer of Zed Eye Designs) and Bumi Thomas (photographer).