Makabu, designed by Charly Café, sews traditional African motifs onto well-tailored suits and fitted vintage leather jackets, gaining an audience of hipsters at local shops in Paris. Young designer Bisrat Negassi‘s pretty African printed suits shown last season are a hit this fall in stores. In accessories, Walk that Walk’s spring ’05 collection includes a chic group of dark leathers mixed with blue and brown African leaf prints while Olivia Morris quirky sandals and pumps were covered similarly in bold colored leaves. Adele Clarke sought African prints as front piping on her ’40s-inspired high heels. And Guillame Hinfray‘s ebony wood with African etchings hinted at a big accessories trend.
On the runways, Cacharel is banking on young girls wearing breezy African printed cotton dresses and summer skirts paired with platforms. (Curiously, the label doesn’t envision girls of color wearing these ethnic looks, since none appeared on the runway). No colored girls at Barbara Bui either, though her laced cut bias dresses, light floral prints, cardigans and beaded sweaters were accented with African embroidery and neckpieces. Costume National took cues from the continent, accenting his satin tops with African motifs and tribal bracelets and necklaces to spice up chic safari jackets.
How will this African trend develop? Look out for bold neckpieces, shorts and little tops in popping, printed textiles, and other striking African accents.
Linen, another big trend, owes its “it” factor to Nicolas Ghesquèire at Balenciaga. His linen bags with leather piping were editors’ favorites this fall and a big inspiration for the fabric’s huge spring comeback. We started seeing it in New York in several looks both at Proenza Schouler and Behnaz Sarafpour; Rafael Lopez‘s bolero jackets and high-waisted tulip skirts worked heavily in linen; and linen turned up everywhere in Milan, including at Haute, beautifully mixed with glass green colored chiffon and leather for tops.
The strongest indication of the fabric’s high style quotient was in accessories seen at Premiere Classe in Paris. Rupert Sanderson‘s super-sweet mary janes in raw linen with black patent borders were workable naughty or nice. LeFlesh‘s green suede on stretch linen moccasins and biker tote mixed padded leather and raw linen that required a certain cool confidence. The fabric was worked to suit different moods; Estelle Yomeda mixed it with glitter on low-heeled ’50s sandals, Laurence Decade worked it with snakeskin in a variety of styles. And fittingly, cognac colored leathers outlined Henry Beguelin classic jackets, shirts, and linen shoes. Linen is said to lose its shape but designers are finding new shapes for the fabric.
Photos: Costume National spring 2005
Walk that Walk spring 2005
Leflesh spring 2005