Wednesday, June 30, 2010

STYLE NOTES: Ituen Basi//Nigeria [DAY 1, Africa Fashion Week 2010]

The Ituen Basi brand usually invokes certain very specific images - African Print/Ankara deconstructed and reconstructed, shredded, transformed, beaded - making it the go-to brand for a certain timeless, classic look. Her latest collection, bright, beautiful, and bold as it is, is a fascinating study in Ankara's unprecedented ubiquity. If Ituen Basi pushes the boundaries of Ankara , it is in transforming it from the commonplace, the everyday and the trendy into something of a permanent lifestyle fixture. From chic purses, to flats, bangles, and brooches to mono-print dresses and separates, nothing is immune to Ankarization.

Having followed Ituen's work closely, there's a sense of deja vu we get with this collection - we've certainly seen many of the prints and concepts explored before. One particular highlight, however, was her re-interpretation of the iro and buba (traditional top and wrapper) with charming results. That said, Ituen Basi's use of rich prints that often evoke eras gone has become a hallmark of her work in the last few years and we wonder how long the love affair can, will and should last. It'll take fine-tuning the balance between being known for a certain aesthetic and finding ways to creatively and constantly push the boundaries. We're not convinced that was completely accomplished with this collection but being the fiercely talented designer she is, we're sure there's more to come.

See the entire collection here.


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