Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trend : African Prints

L.A.M.B. S/S 2011
 Prints were back in trend for a while : exotic flowers and coconut trees in Summer 2010, animal prints in Autumn 2010 ... For the next step, it seemed logical to plunge back into our cultural roots and bring back the attention on those people we'd prefer to forget because some said they weren't enough glamour. Native Americans, Southern Americans, and especially Africans are now taking their revenge on our Westerner fashion industry. The pioneers of this mouvement were fashion iconoclasts Marc Jacobs ( Marc by Marc Jacobs Summer 2010 ) and Jean Paul Gaultier. The French designer married futuristic clothes with traditional African headgear.
Jean-Paul Gaultier A/W 2010
 But, oddly, things triggered off because of Gwen Stefani. Indeed, the singer launched her Spring Summer 2011 collection in September and there, it was an avalanche of African prints. Asymetrical dresses, blazer jackets, drapes, hats, jeans, necklaces, the influences are here but still a bit vague. It still could be opportunism more than a real research of aesthetism ( you know how much I consider celebs' attents to make real fashion ). But Africa haven't said its last word. Thanks to designers of all backgrounds, the prints, looking more authentic, were going to invade our casual wardrobe.
3 Suisses S/S 2011
 The most notable finds of the next season are from various horizons. There is new collection of French mail order and online retailer the 3 Suisses ( for International order )with elegant and stylish pieces, adapting ethnic prints for office and rather classic clothes. Back to luxury, you have Haute Couture dresses from Ghanaian designer Christie Brown ( ) who offer a mix of contemporary dresses and girly silhouettes.
Christie Brown
 Let's quote another celeb : it seems that British rapper M.I.A. is also in fashion ( yes, I was suprised too, I who can't do two things at the same time without spoiling one, I am always amazed by those Shiva-esque artists ). You thought that Africa and techno were far away from each others ? M.I.A. streetwear ( ) is proving the contrary. Not my cup of tea, but the leggings are neat.
M.I.A. Apparel
 But, suddenly, I have a dream. I dream of a world where designers wouldn't steal the patterns of some tribes to make money without their knowing. I dream of a world were those tribes, those countries who deserve to have the social dynamism we have, would build fairtrade factories and design studios in order to work with Westerners designers on an equal footing. They could sell their fabrics, imagine new ones, and transform their life in a more honorable one, far away from the misery and the dependance we are plunging them into. I'd love to see an African Fashion Week, and more talented designers such as London-based Duro Olowu ( )  and Christie Brown.
Duro Olowu S/S 2011
 Why couldn't Africa dress Europe and United States ? The only life we've offered them till now was exile, why couldn't we make possible for them to stay in their native homes and live a life equal to ours ? Yes, I know, it is turning to be more political than fashionable. But I don't care, I am like that, seeing further than things.
But let's come back to our shopping tips : for winter, there is the knitwear collection of "king of prints" Desigual ( ), and even if many different cultural prints are mixed together without care, it stays colourful and it's well-meant.
Desigual A/W 2010
 I don't know how much is the shipping for your country, but here in Europe it is okay, and I am definitely thinking about this gorgeous purse from 3 Suisses, with this pattern constituted of sequins and pearls. Very ethnic-chic and looking authentic. Pending the changes of our world, let's pay a tribute to this mysterious and intense continent.
3 Suisses S/S 2011

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