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Harper’s Bazaar March 2011 Issue features Ataui Deng, Anais Mali & Nyasha Matonhodze

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Photography: Daniel Jackson

An all black model cast for Harper’s Bazaar March 2011 Issue in honor of Black History Month ”What’s Bright Now”, this editorial features young, talented models amongst which some African models were featured, see images of Ataui Deng, Anais Mali, Nyasha Matonhodze alongside Rose Codero, Shena Moulton, Sedene Blake and Jeneil Williams. Ataui Deng, spotted in this editorial wearing Giambattista Valli and Balenciaga and others in pieces by Gucci, Calvin Klein & Prada.

 

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Who’s HauTe: Interview with Aisha Obuobi of Christie Brown

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Christie Brown is a Ghanaian based luxury women’s clothing/fashion brand with a chief goal of satisfying and delighting “that modern woman who seeks a true and unique taste of Africa“. The label found in 2008 has come a long way since launch, a lot of it’s pieces have been featured in international magazines and the likes. CEO and Creative Director of Christie Brown; Aisha Obuobi, an award winning designer and Psychology graduate sits with HauTe to have a chat with us about the label in general, the refreshed collection,  it’s recent collaboration with Temple Muse in Nigeria and what’s to come from Christie Brown.

HauTeFashionAfrica: Tell us how it all started!!  From growing up in Ghana to doing a major in Psychology now making waves in the African fashion industry – have Aisha always known she was going to go into Fashion or at what point did she determine to go into fashion?

Aisha Obuobi: Aisha’s grandmother was a seamstress so, from her youth, she was surrounded by pieces of rich, vibrant African prints and quickly learnt to appreciate the wonders of elegant design. She would watch her grandmother huddled over a sewing machine, and she reveled in toying with scraps of African print, which she used to create looks for her favourite dolls. When she was slightly older, she would save old clothes and alter them in funky, unique ways to update and personalize her wardrobe; friends would often compliment the work she’d done so she gradually gained confidence in transforming her ideas into wearable pieces.

Christie Brown was launched in 2008. Aisha felt that, at the time, people didn’t experiment much with African prints in Accra; the material was mostly used in very traditional ways and she knew that she could think of more interesting, modern designs in which to incorporate the gorgeous prints. She wanted people to be re-inspired by African prints; she wanted to cultivate fresh appeal for them.

HFA: How far has the brand –Christie Brown- come?

AO: The label has come a long way! The international appeal and success of the Christie Brown brand has been acknowledged in a number of magazine features, both on the African continent and abroad. Christie Brown designs have featured in internationally renowned magazines, such as ‘Grazia (UK)‘, Italian ‘Marie Claire’Canoe 53 SailsDestiny (SA), and ‘Arise‘. Aisha was invited to show Christie Brown pieces at the George V hotel, Paris, as part of ‘Arise L’Afrique-a-porter’ – a fashion exhibition at which only nine other African designers were invited to present. The growing success of the brand was further recognized when Aisha was invited to sit on a panel at the African Economic Forum, which took place at Columbia University, New York. Marie Claire (international) featured Aisha this year as one of twenty-one “Daring Women of 2010″, noting the “the energy, the courage, the creativity,” and “the drive” behind her work. Christie Brown was also invited to feature in the Africa Fashion Week, in Johannesburg, last year and the year before (2009), when Aisha was celebrated as ‘The Emerging Designer of the Year’ with an award we are incredibly proud of. It’s been a truly fulfilling experience to watch the label blossom so far and I am confident there is so much more to come!

HFA: Where did the Inspiration for the name of the label come from?

AO: Aisha decided to call the brand Christie Brown, after her grandmother, because her grandmother first ignited her love for fashion. Christie Brown was a fantastic seamstress but Aisha always felt she never received the full recognition that she deserved, for all her skill and creativity.

The brand name is Aisha’s way of dedicating her work to her grandmother and applauding her accomplishments.

HFA: What’s the aesthetic of this label?

AO: We always say, “there is great beauty in simplicity”. At Christie Brown, we appreciate the elegance and grace of effortless, classic style and design; we seek to celebrate these elements. We often incorporate unique accents, such as the African print buttons, and always toy with the vibrancy and boldness of the African print patterns. We believe in creating wearable designs that make our clients feel glamorous, sophisticated, confident, and distinct.

HFA: Describe ‘The Christie Brown’ woman in one sentence

AO: Well…I’d like to say it’s difficult to describe the Christie Brown woman in one sentence – certainly in one short one! There’s a lot to “The Christie Brown woman”; she has real depth.

She is a woman who likes to look effortless, modern, and chic; she embraces that which is unique and realizes the importance of superior quality and gorgeous design. She is confident and daring, and looks to develop her own individual sense of style, while always remaining conscious of sophistication and classic elegance.

HFA: What gives ‘The Christie Brown’ woman the Va-Va-Voom effect that she doesn’t get from wearing other pieces?

AO: It’s all about the way a client feels when she steps into a Christie Brown piece – the fact that the passion we have for exquisite design is reflected by each Christie Brown item. When a woman puts on Christie Brown, I like to think there’s a transformation that occurs…she taps into the world of the brand – one of timeless glamour, class, beauty, and sophistication.

HFA: On a general scale, looking at your designs they are very colourful pieces and very rich in texture; Where and How do you draw inspiration for designing these pieces?

AO: At Christie Brown, we firmly believe that inspiration can spring from any source: photographs, art, furniture, something on a TV screen, a description in an enthralling novel. I enjoy exploring the intricacy and splendor of nature. Often, Aisha’ll walk through a bustling market and be inspired by the people she sees – by the way a woman has tied her headscarf, by the patterns on another’s skirt, by the colours of the various materials on display…

HFA: Do you see Christie Brown successfully penetrating the Fashion Industry in a couple of years and taking over? Why makes this task appear possible? What are the long terms goals for this brand?

AO: Absolutely – I do! Primarily because, at Christie Brown, we have a clear set of long term goals and a concrete strategy for expansion of the business. Already, the company is growing at a fast pace. We’ve trained and retained more expert craftsmen; after two years of success in Ghana, the brand has penetrated the Nigerian market (with me as a Nigerian-based partner, completely dedicated to driving the brand forward). We are now stocked exclusively at luxury boutique, Temple Muse, and we currently have deals in the works to stock the brand at a series of exclusive boutiques in Holland and to begin sale of our accessories line in the US.

Things are extremely promising and I’m confident that, with the loyalty of our amazing clients and the support of Christie Brown fans across the globe, including great sites like ‘haute fashion africa’, the brand will only flourish!

HFA: Possibility of a Men’s Wear line in the future?

AO: Yes! We’ve recently discussed how great it could be to do a men’s wear line; we would love to cater to the fashionable males out there eventually. For now, though, there is so much more we’d like to do with the women’s wear line that we feel it’s important to give it our full attention and to focus on satisfying and delighting our rapidly growing clientele base.

HFA: Excellent!! Now that we’ve spoken a bit about the brand, tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Aisha Obuobi?

AO: Aisha Obuobi is a woman who feels truly blessed to be doing something that she adores – to have the opportunity to enhance the beauty in all her clients and to explore the fruits of her creativity.

HFA: How do you combine a Psychology degree and Fashion designing effectively?

AO: My psych background comes in so handy especially when dealing with clients on bespoke pieces where I have to judge within such a short period, a design that not only looks good but also agrees with the person’s personality. We want the client to wear the piece and not the piece wearing her.

HFA: You have had the opportunity to showcase your designs at two different Arise African Fashion events, and won an award at one of them for ‘Emerging Designer of the year’; How much work went into preparing for both fashion shows and how was winning that award influenced your drive as a designer?

AO: Lots! I always put a lot of myself into my designs because I’m truly passionate about what I do.  I go over each detail of my creations to ensure that every stitch, every colourful embellishment is finished off to our high standards. Quality is crucial to us at Christie Brown. Winning the award for ‘Emerging Designer of the Year’ was a fantastic moment for me and it gave me a huge boost of confidence moving forward. It’s great to know that my work is appreciated by the fashion community; I’m humbled by the honour.

HFA: How would you describe your personal style?

AO: I’d label my style “effortlessly chic”.

HFA: Do you see a reflection of your personal style when designing?

AO: I’d definitely say that my personal style is evident in the pieces I create… And that’s because I believe the Christie Brown woman should look chic and stylish without looking like she’s trying too hard!

HFA: What do you enjoy most about Fashion Designing?

AO : I love the rush that I get when I discover a stylish, innovative way to use a beautiful piece of fabric and the satisfaction of having the ideas in my head transformed into physical pieces that our clients can wear. Ultimately, I love to make people feel beautiful and glamorous and to make the most of my God-given talents!

HFA: Any further projects, fashion shows, collections, events you want us to know about?

AO: Well…We launched a refresh to our recent collection at Temple Muse, at the beginning of February, over Temple’s Muse’s Valentine’s event. The latest Christie Brown pieces can always be purchased exclusively at Temple Muse boutique (No. 8  Sanusi Fafunwa, Victoria Island). We’ll be updating our online collection, which can be purchased at ‘myasho.com’.

We’ll also be featuring in a number of fabulous, Nigerian publications over the next few months so please do look out for Christie Brown in magazines such as Genevieve and TW.

Beyond this, we’ll be looking ahead…filled with thoughts of fashion weeks!

HFA: Thanks for your time!

‘An afromantic daydream’ – The Collection:

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Samata Angel’s Pre – Oscar Bash Red Carpet Winning Dress.

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On the 15th of February we featured Samata Angel’s win in the Red Carpet Green Dress competion for the Pre-Oscar bash, well it’s here and we are loving it.

Suzy Amis Cameron was joined by her husband James Cameron to officially unveil the Red Carpet Green Dress winner and her design last night on the red (green) carpet at the 8th annual, star-studded Global Green pre-Oscar bash held at the Avalon in Hollywood.

Suzy Amis Cameron said, We must all work together to find solutions to climate change. I started Red Carpet Green Dress not only to benefit MUSE School CA and MUSE Global, but to show that sustainable design can also be beautiful. All of us wear clothing, and buying clothes that aren t energy intensive and don t use toxic dyes is one way we can reduce our impact. Samata Angel s incredible gown is proof that exquisite design and sustainability can come together.

Red Carpet Green Dress winner Samata Angel said, It has been an honor to walk the green carpet with Suzy and James, two environmental pioneers who are an absolute inspiration. The Red Carpet Green Dress experience is a dream realized. To design a gorgeous dress made entirely of sustainable silks and dyes, and see it in this glamorous Hollywood setting, is truly a memorable moment in my career. To have an incredible model, Aine Rose Campbell-He, wear the dress was the icing on the cake.”

About Red Carpet Green Dress

Red Carpet Green Dress contest (http://www.redcarpetgreendress.com) is an international competition, benefiting MUSE School CA and MUSE Global, to create a dress made of sustainable materials. The 2011 winner is Samata Angel, a London-based fashion entrepreneur who was flown to Los Angeles to have her own model walk the “red” (green) carpet at the 8th annual Global Green pre- Oscar® party.

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Shingai Shoniwa Featured in Harpers Bazaar [March 2011]

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British Singer of Zimbabwean descent-Shingai Shoniwa { Pictured above} - recently poses for the camera to be featured in the Harpers Bazaar’s March edition. For a fashion lover like Shingai, it appears that the shoot was easy-breezy-beautiful. Shingai looked stunning, loving the eye colour and the au-naturale hair!

Photographed by: Txema Veste

Shingai spotted at the Elle style awards recently sporting a feathered-turban [Urban Glam]:

-Stunningly HauTe!

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7 ”HauTe Trends” To Know: London Fashion Week [Autumn/Winter 2011]

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The recently concluded London Fashion Week featured a large number of designers, we were very pleased to have been able to witness a few African designers showcase their work during this huge fashion event. African designers that were present were { Kiki Kamanu, Bunmi Koko, Samantha Cole, Gloria Wavamunno and Zed eye}, The A/W 2011 collections unveiled from these designers were indeed impressive, from Bunmi Koko‘s use of Bold & Pastel colours to Gloria Wavamunno‘s African-Inspired collection and even going down the Vintage route with Zed-Eye, dark and edgy with Samantha Cole and Geometrics with Kiki Kamanu.

1. Bold and Beautiful:

Upsetting the status quo, it doesn’t appear as if we will be having a dark/gloomy Autumn-Winter season, Kiki Kamanu & Bunmi Koko went down the bright-coloured route. Colour Fusion if you may call it that and we are loving it!!!

L-R { Bunmi Koko, Kiki Kamanu}

 

2. The Business of Leather:

Leather is the new cotton from the looks of things, Zed-Eye and Samantha Cole prove that wearing Leather could be the new cool for A/W 2011.

L-R { Zed-Eye, Samantha Cole}

3.Thinking out of the BOX:

Believe it or not, ”Fashion-40s” found its way to London Fashion Week particularly with Zed-Eye and Bunmi Koko in the form of Boxy-Silhouettes, see below;

L-R { Zed-Eye, Bunmi Koko}

4. Prints-A-Prints:

We loved the modern use of prints at Gloria Wavamunno and Bunmi Koko.

L-R { Gloria Wavamunno, Bunmi Koko}

5. Body Conscious:

Figure hugging, curve-accentuating pieces flattering the right contours; Body-Con pieces as seen at Kiki Kamanu and Samantha Cole

L-R {Kiki Kamanu, Samantha Cole}

 

6. Sheer and Wear:

Fret Not! We won’t be wearing transparent pieces in the freezing cold,well.. at least we’re confident with how Sheer was layered at Samantha Cole and Bunmi Koko.

L-R { Samantha Cole, Bunmi Koko}

7. Shoulder Action:

Just when we thought we were done with Power shoulders, Gloria Wavamunno and Bunmi Koko rekinkled the love for power shoulders! J’adore!!!

L-R { Gloria Wavamunno, Bunmi Koko}

 

** HauTeTV covered Samatha Cole and Zed Eye’s Show, see videos here

Stay HauTe!

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HauTe Route: Cocktail Princesses

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You have a cocktail party to attend next weekend, time to plan your outfit. Nothing in your wardrobe is speaking your language; i.e you’ve got nothing to wear! You go online to order something from your favourite high street stores… Still, nothing. You want something that stands out, that makes a statement and you definitely don’t want to be caught dead in the same dress as the next girl… So! Why not try an African designer?! No?! Yes!!! Africa’s fashion world is bursting through its seams with so much talent and creativity, most especially this year. Patronize African fashion, give it the recognition it deserves. Buy African and wear like only you possibly can. This week’s collages features some creations fresh off the catwalk and amazing new talent. Whatever look you’re going for, glam rock, effortless and sexy, be a beautiful Cocktail Princess and leave no room for mediocrity. Be African!


TopShop platform pumps
$128 - topshop.com


 

Christian Louboutin platform heel
$825 - shopsavannahs.com


 

Gold handbag
20 GBP - fashion-conscience.com


 

Alexander mcqueen handbag
745 GBP - harveynichols.com


 

Biba gold ring
2,750 GBP - houseoffraser.co.uk

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HauTe TV: Samantha Cole’s A/W 2011 Collection – London Fashion Week

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A collection filled with character and attitude, Samantha Cole presented her alternative yet contemporary art of designing. Being a label not known for playing with colours, the collection kept its usual theme of neutral colours but with a lot of attention to detail. The designer explores a more minimalist style as compared to her previous collections but still focuses on emphasizing beautiful necklines and womanly curves. The blend of fabrics like leather and velvet fabrics with other fabrics very visibly accentuates the boldness of the label and its philosophy of redefining trends and concepts “to reproduce silhouettes that acknowledge the past, have a sense of the future and recognise that there are no limits or boundaries to fashion, just ourselves.”

 

-Enjoy!

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London Fashion Week: Kiki Kamanu A/W 2011 Collection

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The latest collection of model-turned-designer Kiki Kamanu was shown at the Fashion Mavericks event during the London Fashion week. The collection shows the growth of the designer and her proclivity for the eclectic. There are a variety of textures infused into the pieces; geometric detailing and a blend of blues and browns; overall a very cool colour scheme brought to life by the designs.  The collection is not trying to be trendy, has its own voice and definitely speaks for the designer.

PhotoCredit: Fashion Mavericks/Gavin Thorn

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Tsemaye Binitie A/W 2011 Presentation – ZipZone Paris [4th-7th March, 2011]

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London-based Nigerian designer Tsemaye Binitie set to show his A/W 2011 collection in Paris {ZipZone} between 4th – 7th March 2011. Knowing Tsemaye, he works with opulence, elegance and sexiness, we expect nothing less  from the A/W 2011 collection which he has called Sade we definitely expect to be blown away.

In 2004, ZipZone [Paris] launched a new concept -The Zip Zone Designers Gallery – ”where the designers presenting are selected based on their cutting edge and commercial potential ”.

Tsemaye Binitie


Venue for presentation: Musee des arts decoratifs, 111 rue de Rivoli. 75001. Paris

Date & Time: 04 March at 10:00 - 07 March at 19:00

For more information please email: info@tsemayebinitie.com



For more information: info@tsemayebinitie.com

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10 ”HauTe Trends” To Know: JoBurg Fashion Week [Autumn/Winter 2011]

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One of the biggest and most anticipated Fashion Shows in Africa (Jo’burg Fashion Week) was held last week in Jo’burg,South Africa  featuring a number of home-grown/international South African designers. The most amazing part of this event was the opportunity that given to recently graduated designers to showcase their work, a whole day [Fast Track Day]was dedicated to young designers who have just graduated Fashion Design school  -based in SA- . Jo’Burg Fashion week 2011 focused A/W 2011 Collections. See trends below:

1. Sunshine in the Snow:

Don’t tuck away your sunglasses after Spring/Summer, you will be needing it in the winter!! Says Errol Arendz and Loin Cloth & Ashes as upset the status quo of just accessorizing their models with chunky scarves & snoods, as opposed to that they have opted for the unexpected – Sunglasses!

L-R { Errol Arendz, Loin Cloth & Ashes}

2. My Fair Lady:

It was ‘The lady Season’ during Jo’burg fashion week, a lot of the designers featured pieces that were very lady-like; Preppy-esque jackets, waist-clinching dress and pieces that are flattering for all shapes. This was very much on trend for the Fall 2010 season, we suppose it’s rolled it’s way into 2011! – Good Times- . Nothing else could beat the ”lady-era” going on at Abigail Betz and at Grapevine.

L-R { Grapevine, Abigail Betz}

3. Full-Skirted:

Just like in the 50s/60s and asides the lady-like vibe, Jo’Burg gives us Voluminous, Swirly silhouettes -Full Skirts. The designers show that whether worn in the minimalist way Bongiwe Walaza or going all out as shown in Thula Sindi, Full skirts will be a huge part of your wardrobe in the A/W season.

L-R { Bongiwe Walaza, Thula Sindi}

4. Sheer Action:

Sexy without being slutty, very sexy in a subtle way. Season after season, year after year we witness the recurrence of Sheer on the runway. We love the transparent action and how it was layered in Kluk CGDT, Thula Sindi, Avant.

L-R { Kluk, Thula Sindi, Avant}

5. FUR:

The A/W season will be incomplete without some fur. Top trend last Fall, still proving to be the coolest way to stay warm in the Autumn/Winter as seen at Errol Arendz, Spero Villioti, Abigail Betz .

L-R { Errol Arendz, Spero Villioti, Abigail Betz}

6. Feathered Goodness:

The Black Swan? Feathers add that fairy-tale, whimsical feel to the runway. Top trend in Fall 2009, Graduate Designer Minette Meyer & Spero Villioti have found ‘a happy place’ in feathers!! We are getting feathered-up in the winter, thanks to JFW.

L-R { Minette Meyer, Spero Villioti}

7. Love in the Safari:

Following the completion of any Fashion Show/event in Africa, having the Animal print trend evident is almost or inevitable. This myth/fact of ours was proven again this year as Animal Print fabrics were seen on the runway during JFW. See below at Thula Sindi, Kluk, Tart .

L-R { Thula SindiKlukTart}

8. La-La-Romance:

Bridal Couture? Flowy, delicate flouncy pieces; somewhat fairy-tale inspired, Makes us wonder is Romance the new edgy? See David Tlale, Abigail Betz and Kluk CGDT make Romance/Fairy-tale A/W 2011 worthy.


L-R { David Tlale, Abigail Betz, Kluk CGDT}

9. Leather & Bustiers:

Joburg Fashion Week proves that Leather is still very much in ‘fash-existence’ . With soft, well-structured leather on the runway at JFW, emphasizing that leather isn’t just for the tough ones and without being over the top sexy leather is the business! See Jessica Sutherland, Tart and Lisp below

L-R { Jessica Sutherland, Tart, Lisp}

10. Fringy Benefits, Frilly Search & Ruffle Trouble:

Frills, Fringed Hemlines & Ruffles. As seen at Graduate Designer Jessica Sutherland, David Tlale Melita Ngoasheng below

L-R { Jessica Sutherland, David Tlale, Melita Ngoasheng}

Stay HauTe!

-Romola

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