Arise Fashion Week has always set itself apart from the rest. It is undoubtedly one of the most glamorous and extravagant fashion events Nigeria has ever seen. After a 4 year hiatus, to hear Arise was coming back was beyond exciting but we were not prepared for what the legendary fashion show had in store for Day 1.
We are all familiar with Nigerian time but Arise took it to a whole new level on the very first day. A show that was scheduled to start at 4pm finally kicked off at 8.30pm and though we are tempted to hold it against the organisers, to say it was well worth the wait would be a gross understatement.
First up was Vonne Couture. Vonne, who has been in the industry for a very long time is finally reaping the rewards of her hard work and gaining well-deserved recognition. Vonne's collection was a riot of bright colours with a lot of frills and floral accents.
Though the collection was not as cohesive as it could have been it definitely represented what everyone has come to associate with Vonne, fun and flirty.
Vonne's signature fur slides made an appearance in a variety of colours and the show was closed by our very own supermodel, Oluchi who showed these young models exactly how it's done. Oluchi glided down the runway in a red silk gown with a matching red headpiece and the statement obi belt of our dreams.
Next up was Ziva Lagos, Tania Omotayo's brand and the entire collection was wearable if not a little underwhelming. The collection was full of printed dresses, jumpsuits and cute co-ords which would be great day-wear but didn't quite cut it for the runway.
The ATCL Collective
The About That Curvy Life collective returned for another turn on the run way and each time they just get better and better. One can't stress how important it is to have valid representation on the runway. The fashion industry is one that has ignored the marginalised for so long and been allowed to get away with it.
Despite the average woman being well above sample size, they continue to be underrepresented in all facets of the fashion industry but thanks to movements like the ATCL collective, we are refusing to stand for it any longer. Davido's FIA rang out of the speakers and the first curve model hit the runway to a round of applause.
The crowd came to life as a series of curve models, some short, some tall, some buxom and some carrying junk in the trunk strutted down the runway oozing confidence. ATCL collective comprised of many designers including contemporary womenswear designer Sally Bawa and quirky fashion favourite, Fia Factory.
The collective of designers led by About That Curvy Life founder Latasha Ngwube took a much deserved turn around the runway. ATCL represents the direction that the fashion industry as a whole is going on. Whereas a few years ago, putting plus-size models would have been a mere gimmick, now more designers are seeing the value in inclusion and understanding that in order to navigate the changing climate of the fashion industry, they must make sure we move forward together.
Abaya Lagos set the mood of the show with their awesome soundtrack which (after a quick Shazam) we found out was called Arabian Trap. The song represented everything the label stands for modest yet modern, cultural and cool.
The highlight of the Abaya show was the sparkling gold hooded cape that looked like something out of a fairytale. The finale piece which glittered ferociously under the lights looked reminiscent of something Zuhair Muraid would design and was definitely one of the stand out pieces of the night.
Bubu Ogisi did a great job of styling the Abaya show, the collection was cohesive, the colour palette was sumptuous and we can't resist a great turban which Abaya sent down the runway in abundance!
Lanre Da Silva
The . Naomi strutted onto the runway with her signature walk wearing a gold fringed dress which fit like a glove and moved beautifully. That's exactly why Lanre has lasted as long as she has, her craftsmanship is incomparable.
Of all the shows, her clothes felt the most alive. As the models moved down the runway, the clothes moved with them in the most beautiful way. Lanre's collection, which was very much her signature aesthetic, had a colour palette of jewel tones which made the whole collection look rich and opulent.
Lanre's collection makes us want to throw a swanky cocktail party and be the centre of attention in her divine dresses. Once again Oluchi closed the show but this time she went out with a bang. As she strode down the runway in a floor length gold gown, little did we know the back of it was completely sheer.
Oluchi revealed quite possibly the peachiest bum we have ever seen and by the look on her face she knew it too. At 37 and 47 years old respectively, Oluchi and Naomi are ageing like the finest of wines.
Abidjan born and Paris based label 'Laurenceairline' brought some much needed testosterone to the runway. The label, known for their cool, Laidback yet stylish aesthetic is the brainchild of Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud and is committed too drawing a path between cultures.
Despite the contemporary silhouettes, Laurenceairline is still very much influenced by its multicultural identity and aims to express that in every single collection. The result was a collection for the stylish modern man who wants to stay true to his roots.
Models hit the runway in a palette of earthy tones with splashes of colour. Summer suits and straw hats were a plenty and we watched every guy in the audience nod his head in silent approval.