BN Style presents Collection Conversations, a weekly round up of all the collections and look books from African designers featured on BN Style from the previous week. Collection Conversations features Eki Ogunbor & Richard Akuson sharing their individual thoughts on featured collections from the previous week.
So, let’s get started.
Richard: Twenty Six and Co. So, I’ve always had a problem understanding this brand’s aesthetic. It always appears too rustic and a collection of skirts and in this case maxi and shift dresses does not make a collection. I think the brand could use some thorough reawakening. I don’t know if these models works for them but it doesn’t appeal to me at all. What do you think?
Eki: Maybe that’s what they were going for with this collection, the rustic thing, everyone has their own aesthetic.
Yes, it would be nice if they did more which is what they did by introducing the linen fabric and shift dresses. But if they want to be that easy brand with printed skirts for every girl, I don’t mind.
That’s the story they started with and they’ve stuck to it. I like skirts and I like prints and most of their pieces I think look like easy sells for a Naija girl (depending on price and accessibility/availability). This is what I think and on that note I’ll pick my faves. The linen dresses that look like denim
Richard: Ok. I really do not like anything in the collection
Moving on – DT clothings. So, I see this collection, it looks good on the model but it does not tick me at all. There’s no dynamism, no range and any form of depth. These are things that ANY tailor can make and that really disturbs me; when anybody can make what you make. I am just not excited about this collection
Eki: I’d put this in that same high street pile. When you walk into 10 shops and they have this same thing but in different colours or prints, that’s what this is. Everyone can make a maxi dress with pockets or off shoulder dresses or wide leg jumpsuits. So yea, high street
Richard: By the way, the Twenty Six and Co collection could have used some coordination, either in colour or something. It just appeared all over the place
Eki: My fave is this tie dye wide leg jumpsuit. If more was done with this print, maybe I’d have loved it. But I really don’t like that blue leopard print with the blue background
Richard: Then we shouldn’t bother reviewing these sorts of collections. Because there’s nothing to review. I can’t find anything I like
Eki: I agree
Richard: Next we have Dpiper Twins
Eki: Again to me, high street
Richard: I cannot begin to explain my disappointment with Chantelle and Danielle. This is Dpiper’s weakest collection that I’ve seen in a while and the fabrication is just not right. It reminds me of pictures of those milk maids I used to see on my story books. I really wish they’d done a better job. I used to respect the girls, until this collection.
Eki: I don’t like it either… ? @ milk maids!
Richard: This absolutely does not live up to their good name. It’s a bad collection for me. You?
Eki: Yea I’m not crazy about it either. I do see what you mean with the milk maids though… So funny! What if that was part of their inspiration? Lol, if it was then I can appreciate their literal translation. Let’s move on
Richard: The plaids they used, doesn’t it even remind you of those kids that went to public secondary schools and had to sew shift dresses out of it, my cousins used to call theirs “checks”
Richard: BenRia next
Eki: I like! Definitely my kind of collection, I want everything !!!
Richard: I’m excited about it! I swear it makes me want to be a girl. The sheer exuberance of colours and prints. The clean lines amidst all those prints, the tasteful incorporation of key trends. I want everything too. It’s a brilliant collection. I’m not complaining about anything!
Eki: And I love the mix of prints, it’s done so well here. Subtle details of a different print instead of drowning us clashing prints that don’t make sense together.
Richard: Exactly! It’s just a cleaner take on wax prints
Eki: Yea and we needed that, we really needed that. I think this brand is going places and definitely here to stay, can’t wait to see more. But can’t really pick a fave, it’s hard
Richard: Me too, I totally agree. It’s hard for me to pick as well but let me try. I kinda like this more
Eki: Love that. The print almost doesn’t look like ankara
Richard: Yes, like boxes of different things
Eki: I like these yellow dresses too
Richard: Those are made for the sun!! Love! Anyway, moving on, Lisa Folawiyo. Hmm Eki, I’m ashamed to say this, but I truly do not understand this collection. I tried. I looked at it over and over again, read the story, I really wanted to understand it but I just couldn’t.
It seems too un-Lisa Folawiyo. This appears much more like what Maki Oh would do. Maybe because of the similarities that this collection bears with hers’. But somehow this seems more Maki Oh than Lisa. Lisa is softer than this, she’s more feminine than this and wearable. The prints are the undoing of this collection for me. They’re just too dark
Eki: Ok I see the Maki Oh reference now
Richard: In short, I do not see Lisa Folawiyo anywhere in this collection, and thats really disappointing for a huge fan like me. I can spot her work from a thousand miles. But this, I won’t even recognize. What do u think?
Eki: I like it, and I feel like seeing the pieces in person would blow me away the finishing, the vibrant colours the appliqué especially on this black dress.
For someone who loves prints, I think the prints are a good mix of light and dark to be honest. I see the Maki Oh resemblance but I think Lisa still put her own spin on things with her usual clash of prints, mixing bright colours and she’s allowed to try something new like how Victoria beckham’s ss17 collection at nyfw shocked me. You don’t have to like everything but you can appreciate the creativity behind it. You know this is way better than lots we see and I’m a Lisa fan all day lol. I’d really love the see them in person, I know I’ll be blown away by the quality of craftsmanship, as always.
Richard: I wish I could look at the collection through your eyes. I really wanted to love and understand it, but my eyes just didn’t see it!
Eki: One thing I don’t quite get are the suits but I like that she tried that cold shoulder sleeve with it. These two…
Richard: That’s where she shines the brightest in the collection for me, the coldshoulder blazer
Eki: ? Aren’t you the one who just said you don’t see Lisa in this collection? This is where I don’t see her but I love it still, I’m open to change lol
Richard: That coat was a missed opportunity for her to make something really bold and unforgettable. But then she made the same coats we see around only with her prints. I mean, with that coat, I can see profundity and complexity of thought. It shows they really thought through it. And it’s a lovely masterpiece. Overall, that blazer and this, are my favorites
Eki: I like that too and this
Richard: Ahhhh!!! That print is disturbing
Eki: To you…
Richard: The shine on it makes it look really cheap. Abeg, moving on Chidinma is next. Now, while this collection looks good on the eyes, I can’t help but ask myself, how many balls are there in Nigeria, how many galas are there? How many of those women will be willing to pay for their dresses and not just have their stylists pull those dresses? Also, is there an actual buying market for long evening dresses in Nigeria? So, I really think this is a good collection, but I wonder if people have that many events that need evening gowns
Eki: Well there are events like BN Wonderland and people love weddings, perhaps a dress from this collection could work as a second dress? My faves are the blue combos but that’s all for me, I’ll pass on everything else.
Richard: Well, this long dress can pass as a wedding dress and the short one is my fave. Only because I think it is commercial, a lot of women will have daily need for it, and it appears comfortable
Eki: I don’t like a lot of things. Even that dress you said for wedding dress I don’t like it. The sequin fabric with lace, the gold thing going down the front, I don’t like it. I wouldn’t wear them, it too much. But then I’m probably not the target market.
Richard: I don’t like that too. Moving on?
Richard: OUCH, Nicely tailored suits on buffed men. What do you think?
Eki: Yeah that’s the beginning and end of it to be honest. Moving on
So, looking at Mocheddah‘s collection, I wasn’t quite sure what to look at. I can’t place a style or aesthetic to the collection. It seems like a collection of different things out of her closet. What I’m not sure of is if this is supposed to be a serious designer brand or just something for her fans. If the latter is the case then she’s done a good job delivering to them what they want.
Otherwise, there needs to be more work done. A better understanding of design themes, cohesion, fabrication etc. A total reeducation. What do you think? I also think she needs to appoint a creative director. Someone to do the thinking and execution. Hopefully with a creative director we should expect something more formidable next season
Eki: It is an extension of her closet, expansion of her personal style for her fans, she’s doing what we knows what she loves, what she’s comfortable with and its this same style that has made her one of our fave fashionistas recently.
So I really don’t mind that it looks like an “extension of her closet” as you put it. It might not be singer turned runway designer. Yes a creative director wouldn’t hurt if it makes her line better, it’s all about improvement in the end. But I don’t think this is a bad first, it’s stylish. I just don’t like the orange outfit and I want to see more
Richard: Lol, that orange look. I’m not sure I’m with you on this. It doesn’t bother you that there’s not cohesion in this collection?
Eki: Not really. I think you expect too much from high street fashion brands. Maybe we’d need to start distinguishing the two for us to properly understand what people send in. If it was runway I’d expect cohesion. This is just easy style, buy online, quick fashion.
Richard: Eki, I’ve seen Zara‘s lookbooks they look cinched to the tilt. No slips. Properly colour coordinated etc. We have to stop excusing these Nigerian high street brands. They need to work!! Eki, check Zara’s lookbooks, it’s the standard for high street. It’s mass produced, they churn out different styles weekly, it’s the perfect high street model. So, anything less of it, needs to work!
Eki: Yea but I’d need to see mo’s pricing to know. Cuz if they’re expensive then I’d be disappointed but I don’t think they’ll be. Zara is borderline expensive for the average that’s why they give it their all, mass produced or not, a lot is expected so they step up. Yea they all need to work, I’m up for improvement all day everyday but again I don’t think this collection is a failed first
Richard: Everyone I know shops at Zara, how’s that expensive. Zara is for everyone!!
Eki: Aren’t u a rich kid of Abuja or something? You’re rich folk but Zara can be expensive for the average even in this economy
Richard: @ rich kid of Abuja… Biko. Cover me with the blood
Eki: What are Maju‘s price points? Frankie & Co?
Richard: I really do not remember Frankie and Co’s, Maju’s I don’t know
Eki: Ok so I’m telling you that to ME, Mo’s looks like another one of those kinds. She not trying to be a Lisa. You might want to check those brands and their price points then compare to your beloved high street Zara. I think there are levels.
Let’s move on, Eman Zazar
Richard: Well, this is a work in progress for me, I see the possibility of something good, but it all feels rushed
Eki: I’m happy that this is a “capsule collection.” Very apt
Richard: And perhaps a little extra naira on the fabrics would have done some magic too
Eki: Like which one
Richard: All of it
Eki: I don’t know About this lace appliqué, similar to Chidinma obiari. That’s one thing I really didn’t like. It was another thing I didn’t like with Makioba. It just ends up looking bad when it’s not done right.
Richard: Lol I know!
Eki: My fave is the black outfit and the dress with the lace appliqué only I’d prefer it WITHOUT the lace
Richard: I have none
Eki: As usual
Richard: Ahn ahn that’s not fair ??
Eki: Lol how is it not fair? You have some high Anna Wintour standards, we know this. So when you don’t have faves I’m not surprised. Next is Vanskere. I like the collection except for the really skinny pants. I like stripes so the lines are great to me and my fave is the sailor looking one, I just kind of wish it had sleeves
Richard: Oh, I like especially like the poncho. Although it looks familiar just like the rest of the collection but I just like it
And I applaud them for good use of stripes across the entire collection which served as a unifying factor for the many colours and pieces. Besides the poncho, I also like this piece
Richard: It’s so me; paired back but yet makes a considerable amount of sartorial statement.
Eki: Next is Belois Couture
Richard: Belois is such a rising phoenix that is incredible to watch With every collection you can see progress and growth which is really what I look forward to when considering a brand’s collection season after season. Is it different from last season? Is there an improvement? Are the seams better done? Etc.
But the insider information I have is that this wasn’t supposed to be the designer’s lookbook. She only shot it with the photographer as an editorial that was meant to be released after the lookbook But somehow the stylist released it prematurely
Eki: Exactly what I was about to say. It’s a nice editorial shoot for a magazine but I don’t know about it being a lookbook, I’m too distracted by everything to appreciate the actual clothes
Richard: Yes. But the model did a good job. As an editorial, this looks amazing. But can’t review it as we can not see so much of the clothes. Or what do you think?
Eki: Yup We can’t. On to Amali Curtis. I think it’s funny how lookbooks now always have some random objects in the photos, I’ve noticed it a lot these days
Richard: Hahahahaha that is so succinct. I guess they’re trying to cut down on budget and present lookbooks that can also pass for campaigns
Eki: Maybe, but for editorials or campaigns they should look to the Belois Couture photos we just saw or some of Orange Culture or Maxivive‘s ones. Their shoots get me every time!
Richard: However, here are my thoughts on the collection: lovely play on colours, lovely styling, and nice photography. I completely agree with you
Eki: Yup all that is really nice. I love the colour palette too and the background used is perfect for the colour palette too
Richard: Yes! But besides these; this is really a familiar collection. I mean, I have seen each of that piece somewhere. There isn’t anything that I can place as theirs because really, there isn’t. Which I think they need to seriously work on for their next collection
Eki: I agree with you. But that French suit isn’t very popular these days. I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called
Richard: Well, I stand corrected. Save for this!
Eki: I feel like this style is really old school. But it’s done better in this collection, more modern
Richard: I guess it’s more like a safari but in a suit form
Eki: Exactly safari suit ? Did u notice the rip in this shirt?
Richard: Yes, but the line is not straight. As you can see accents of white from the lining perhaps or seams
Eki: Why is it there? ?
Richard: Lol. That’s a question I cannot answer
Eki: I know!!
Richard: But just like you, I wonder too!
Eki: Oshey rhymer lol. Ok let’s move on to Bibi Lawrence. Let me just say, before you butcher the collection, I actually liked it
Richard: You know, there is that idiomatic expression that says – “when it rains, it pours” I’ll like to say that this collection is a literal representation of that statement. On the contrary. I absolutely like it
Richard: I think they did a fantastic job in keeping it clean and so beautiful
Eki: I loved it, I just felt like this purple dress wasn’t needed. It physically hurt when I saw it
(At the same time Richard says…)
Richard: But the collection could have totally done without this look. It is very weak in comparison with everything else
Richard: Jesus. We literally just said the same thing! This goes to say that even for collections, there has to be checks-and-balances
Eki: Initially I thought it was the model’s fault, maybe the pose? But I looked at the illustration of the collection that the designer sent in and it still looked out of place
Eki: Another thing I noticed, this dress is worn differently on the model than how it looks in the illustration. I asked and the designer confirmed it can be worn two ways! I like that
Richard: This collection looks like something that Christian Siriano would do, circa Project Runway. Which is really good. Yes. Everything is fresh and in good taste. The finishing as far as I can see is impeccably done. The model carries the clothes well and photography was done well too
Eki: I have two faves, these peplum dresses. Mostly because they’re similar to a dress I wore recently from Marvee
I like the peplum detail in the front
Richard: Yes. I saw that!!! To the wedding yes? Loved it! I have 3 faves.
Richard: The cascading detail that formed the core of this collection is to-die-for. I’m beginning to use too many adjectives. Biko, let’s move on
Eki: Yes wedding. One fave dress in common ! High 5 ✋? But you always use too many adjectives ?
Richard: Yass!! @ fave dress in common, Touché! @ adjectives
Eki: Ok. Next is Josh Amor, LOVE
Richard: Ah!! Can I have that faux fur jacket already??? But yes, I agree with you. There’s nothing to not like about this collection. It is hinged on white and black with a few grey pieces
Eki: Great colour palettes excite me. Fair and dark model too!
Richard: Well noted
Eki: And I love black and white already, so I’m in love. Mix of classic prints (houndstooth) with something different (paint splash print)
Richard: So, it makes it look very crispy which is a good thing. Even where they make a suit, there’s an effort to put a spin on it; invariably re-inventing it their own way
Eki: Then the different fabrics used make these simple, neutral colours (that some might even call boring) come alive. This collection shows that there’s so much you can do with them. I love the fastening of that jacket, something different
Richard: I’m not so much a fan of the see throughs, which is a personal thing, but that does not take away from the collection at all, as many guys will rock it to the gods
Eki: The whole ying yang inspiration behind this collection is obvious but not in a “oh I just used the ying yang sign as a print on the pieces and here’s a collection” way or basic white trouser and black shirt styling or vice versa. There’s actually a notable design effort that went into it with the choice of fabrics and prints and it excites me
Richard: I just want to draw your attention to a few details that people may not pay attention to. Can you see the tassel appliquéd to the back of the shirts?
Eki: Love it! That was just the perfect photo to finish the lookbook. It’s so out of the box
Richard: Then the combat pockets, we’re used to generally seeing them on shirts, but not so much on short-shorts
Eki: Yea, I’m not a fan of the pockets
Richard: Then what appears to be a rope in a bow.
Richard: You’re in spirit!!!!
Eki: I’ve never liked combat pockets but I feel like those who can rock it will rock it well
Richard: Totally! We hope this high tempo shown by the brand in this collection will continue moving forward
Eki: Yup! Next Sheye Oladejo
Richard: Before I begin, can I just say how beautiful and alive Uju Marshall looks in the lookbook?
Eki: I’ve missed her
Richard: Yes. I guess she’s beginning to select what she appears in which is good, she’s gotten to that point where she needs to align her brand with only the right brands
Eki: I just like her especially because she’s got a gap in her teeth and natural hair like me ?
Richard: Hahahhha! I see you. And have you noticed how majority of the collections lookbooks she’s starred in have gotten good to critical acclaim from us since we started CC?
Eki: Yea. But some pieces in this collection I really don’t like, but I can appreciate. It’s like it starts out good and ends flat for me. But I love the buckle details, that’s something new
Richard: I always talk about spicing up the usual etc, but I’ve never had enough of such spice like now
Eki: You love it all?
Richard: Wait for it, I’m building up to a crescendo. This is the everyday pant that was made new with the roped detail
Richard: This, the usual bell sleeves we’ve seen everyday, but notice the amount of fabric used to make it ruche and the roping again!
Richard: And this is a normal skirt that they made edgier using belt buckles
Richard: And the list goes on which is incredibly brilliant. But just like you noted earlier, there’s an anti-climax to this collection. It starts out well, but ends not-so-great and the closer the zooming got, the more obvious the tailoring mishaps appear. The seams or ironing in these cases were not done right. Check the hemline. Check the pants. So, these irregularities really take away from the otherwise brilliant collection. We can only hope for more attention to detail from the brand moving forward as even the tiniest bit, really matters at the end of the day
Eki: I just wish all my excitement from the Ying Yang collection by Josh Amor, didn’t end here lol. Overall, Uju helped but the clothes… Nope
Richard: Absolutely!!!! She brings life to every collection
Eki: But I have a fave and that’s it. This dress should have replaced that purple dress from Bibi Lawrence
Richard: Hahaha I totally agree! You’re spot on! That’s also one of my faves And this…
Richard: It’s sporty, yet chic and laid back. Very effortless! And see the belt detail on the sleeves.
Eki: Yea. How’s your health now?
Richard: Much better. Thanks for asking. But still find it difficult to walk up or down the stairs
Eki: Sorry !! Good thing you’re out of the hospital now
Richard: Yes. That was such a horrible experience. No one deserves to be in the hospital. At all!
Sorry we took so long to put out CC, Richard has been ill but he’s much better now so expect a lot from us and a special edition for fashion week too!