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#ReelDeel2022: A testament to Nigerian women’s fashion and the magic of their designers [Pulse Editor's Opinion]

When a Nigerian woman finds a tailor she's in sync with... she becomes unstoppable.

Rita was the belle of the ball and Ini Edo, the best dressed [Instagram]

Rita Dominic had her traditional wedding on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 and it was a meeting of both old and new Nollywood. We got to see some of the actors we grew up watching like Lilian Bach, Hilda Dokunbo and Chidi Mokeme and we also saw many young Nollywood actors like Lily Afe, Beverly Osu, Ese Eriata, Meg Otanwa and many others.

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Apart from the celebration of love which was the highlight of the event, it was also a celebration of fashion, style and true Nigerianness of elaborate aso-ebi styles. All over Instagram, we watched videos of celebrities posing and strutting in green outfits and it was thrilling. It's safe to say this is as good as it gets... a breathtaking ode to Nigerian women and the designers powering their slay.

It's as if the lyrics “never to be caught unfresh” was written for Nigerian women. When you think of fashion in Nigeria, Nigerian women have always been over the top.

Think back to some historically fashionable women like Stella Obasanjo - she wore vibrant Ankara fabrics with puffy sleeves, glistening red lipstick and headgear that looked like a satellite dish.

Elaborate fashion has always been the style of Nigerian women who wear heavily embroidered guinea brocade with different motifs, appliques and beadings. A visit to a wedding party or Sunday service will reveal this to you.

Nigerian designers have proven that with just a little exposure and the right platform, they can stand shoulder to shoulder with international brands like Versace and Balenciaga. When it comes to sheer creativity, they do not fall short.

When we saw the guest’s outfits, we marveled at the construction and mechanics behind them - which were genius level. Like an engineer, these designer’s built these dresses. The skill it takes to intricately fold, twist, cut, join, and puff up these materials should be applauded. And we hold nothing back in our adulation.

Pattern-making is the foundation of tailoring and these Nigerian designers cut the fabrics and sewed them into something magnificent.

Last year, I complained that we were getting too many mesh and nude gowns and it was almost as if they heard our cries and decided to be at their creative best.

Let’s start with the Belle of the ball, Rita Dominic. She wore two outfits for her traditional wedding, the first and the second outfits were made by Tubo, a young Nigerian designer who was also part of the best-dressed guests.

For the first outfit, Tubo chose a modern spin on the traditional Igbo maiden wrapper which is usually a wrapper tied in the shape of a short skirt and another piece of wrapper tied as a tube top.

The use of the corset and the soft lace on her shoulders was a quiet simplicity that spelt elegance.

For her second look, Tubo went above and beyond to create what can only be described as a masterpiece.

Using coral beads on the fabric to create a pattern, Tubo took the traditional Igbo woman two wrapper dress a step further by creating a spiral-like sleeve to add to vavavoom to the outfit and, employing the same corset technique to make her stomach look snatched.

Another outfit from the event that deserves a spot in a museum of fashion was Ini Edo’s gown. From the sleeves to the bodice and the way the dress was folded and layered by the side, you could see that work has been put into imagining the dress.

Nigerian celebrities have long ditched international fashion brands and pitched their tents with Nigerian designers. Author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie always wears clothes made by Nigerian designers and that helps to propagate the gospel of Nigerian fashion.

What should be dream for Nigerian fashion designers? International recognition, of course, just like we have in Nigerian music that is popular in America and European countries.

We need to see the Beyonce and Rihanna in these wonderful designs, not just for the sake of it but because they are worth it. There is still work to be done, in terms of execution which can sometimes appear tacky and because not every outfit should be elaborate or over-the-top but they are on the right path.

*The views expressed here are that of the reporter and not Pulse Nigeria.

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