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 ]

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