There are designers and then there are designers’ designers. There is no doubt Ituen Basi falls in the latter category. Who could forget when she stunned the global fashion world with her interpretation and introduction of ankara color blocking in her ‘Independence’ collection?
Basi gave historical context and showed the world that Nigeria’s fashion does have a history that shows the evolution of the Nigerian people, their resilience and how they have overcome great adversity.
Her independence collection, at the time, told a socio-political story of a time when the Nigerian people were under British rule, but eventually got their freedom. It was centered in the 1960s. Shortly after that freedom, Nigerians, for the first time in a long time, were proudly rocking their authentic African fabrics. Basi translated these historical moments through use of the ankara fabric in an extremely innovative way. She also infused the Western experiences Nigerians had gone through under British rule with silhouettes that included capri pants, structured ‘Jackie O’ cropped jackets’ and mini buba & iro (tops and bottoms). Essentially, she told our story through fashion.
How about the motorcycle safety/helmet story? Today, Lagosians debate over Governor Fashola’s so called “anti-okada” laws. Governor Fashola has defended his position citing almost 200 deaths (within the past year alone) as a result of the reckless driving of Okada drivers. He has also encouraged Nigerians to visit Lagos hospitals and emergency wards to witness victims including children who have become orphaned as result of these reckless driving.
But, who could forget Ituen Basi’s collection shown at the inaugural Arise Magazine Fashion Week Lagos where she told a story encouraging the use of helmets, for safety reasons, for all Nigerians who use Okada as a means of transportation?
Her latest collection which recently showed at MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week Spring/Summer 2013 is no different. Ituen Basic continues in the tradition of telling our stories, the Nigerian story. Playing with cottons, lace and silks, among other fabrics, Basi introduces Lagos to the world through her newspaper print dresses. The hustle and bustle of Lagos, its fashion and entertainment scene, and its local socio-economic and political issues. What’s highly impressive is that she effortlessly captures the beauty of the fashion forward Ituen Basi woman. The Ituen Basi woman maintains her composure, confidence and remains classy, sexy and chic despite all the daily demands and hustle in Lagos.
We loved all of her pieces shown in her Spring/Summer 2013 collection. We loved the overall lightness and fluidity of the collection, her color palette and use of neutrals such as gray, white and nudes. We loved her infusion of warmth with her yellows, and corresponding hair, makeup and accessories. Hair was slightly tousled yet sexy. Makeup was kept natural and her accessories were elongated beaded neck pieces on the necks of gorgeous models.
A very beautiful collection, one worthy of a standing ovation and a deep bow of respect for a designer that is totally in a league of her own.
Photocredit: Kola Oshalusi/Insignaonline.com