Born the daughter and granddaughter of tribal chiefs in her native Ondo, Nigeria, designer Lola Faturoti is deeply influenced by both her personal history and African roots. “I got interested in fashion because my grandmother was a designer, she designed traditional Nigerian clothes. That was my first introduction to fashion,” laughs Lola, “which I hated because I wanted to be out playing instead of picking out seams!” Along with her grandmother, Faturoti’s mother played a pivotal role in the development of her daughter’s personal style. “My mom traveled a lot to London and New York. She bought me a lot of clothes, so I began to dress differently. I think that was the first introduction to me wanting to be different through clothing.”
Faturoti arrived in New York in the early 1990’s after studying in London. While working in New York’s trendy Charivari boutique, Barbara Weiser, President of the company, took note of Faturoti’s unique style and helped her launch her first collection, bringing her into the international spotlight.
Inspired by iconoclastic, independent, individual women like Nina Simone, Betty Davis, and Cate Blanchett, Lola insists that, “my woman doesn’t have to be pretty or sexy, nor is she superficial, she’s a woman who loves both her faults and her strengths.” Lola’s inspiration comes both from her past and the very basis of fashion itself: materials. “Everything begins for me with the prints and fabric, which usually has some shine,” she says. “I think that comes from Nigerian culture. I’ve always liked satin and brocade which is very close to damask, which is traditional in African dress. Paneling, juxtaposing shine against matte is always something my grandmother did with the traditional dress.”
After the acclaim of her first shows, she left fashion to regroup and hone her creative vision during a four-year hiatus. Faturoti returned in April 1999 with a celebrated show that led to the acquisition of a Lola Faturoti design by the prestigious Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the recognition as one of the “Best in America” by Amy Spindler of The New York Times Magazine.
In February 2000, Faturoti’s designs stole the headlines from Ralph Lauren when she staged her show across the street for the crowd leaving his presentation. After considerable success in New York with an impressive following by the international press and retailers, Faturoti decided to concentrate her efforts in Milan in order to expand her international presence. After four years spent in Italy, Lola returned to the city she considers home in 2005, launching her comeback collection for Fall-Winter 2007-08. “New York is my city, I love New York. I think when you’re born there’s a city for you, that fits perfectly and I think New York is that for me. The energy, the freedom of New York helps me to be free in my inspiration, to liberate myself.”
Lola Faturoti’s inspiration comes from Africa the most colorful continent on this planet and its influence can be seen and felt everywhere around the world. Lola combines this with her British background and her global travel experiences to create unique clothing which is no doubt appealing to a large audience as she carries out her vision. She is constantly searching for new perspective to keep the mundane fresh and exciting, starting with prints, color, fabric and, ultimately, a lifestyle.
Her designs can be found worldwide in department stores , specialty boutiques and fine stores including If Boutique in NY, Harvey Nichols in Dubai, Ryhadh and Hong Kong, Le ciel Bleu in Japan and more
For her Fall/winter 2010, Faturoti continues to put her heritage into her work, going back to her African roots, This season she is inspired by the iconic Mexican Artist/Painter Frida Khalo who was known for her extreme magnetism and originality, often creating striking shocking images both in her work and her fashion style. Faturoti portrays this by using bold primitive prints combine with bright jewel tone colors. She combined this with medieval shapes which can be seen in the big puffy sleeves, long drape skirts and long fluid dresses
For her Spring/Summer 2011 collection, Faturoti continues to put her heritage into her work. Going back to her African roots, Lola Faturoti’s Spring/Summer 2011 Collection bridges the gap between Japan and Africa in a way that no other designer could do.
From the prints designed by Lola Faturoti for her Spring/Summer 2011 collection to the influence of the Japanese kimono and the Yoruba tops known as the Buba, the confluence of these two cultures comes alive in this collection. The graphic black and white print inspired by the simplicity of African “Mud Cloth” of the areas North and East of Bamako in Mali are one of the two prints of the collection. Mud Cloth garments are worn to mark major transitions in life such as birth, death, marriage and death. Fitting for a Japanese style kimono, or a flowing dress with wide sleeves that are a signature of Ms. Faturoti’s designs.