Made in Africa

 

I love opening magazines and looking online for styles that l can send to my seamstress in Ghana to make into Ntoma (Twi word for African printed cloth) or Kente dresses, skirts and trousers etc.

My Seamstress made a simple Ntoma skirt with a peplum like end inspired by the Balmain Skirts in its Spring Summer 2014 collection. I paired it with a red lace top.

Made in Africa 1

African prints has indeed inspired Western Fashion and the fashion industry. It can be said it became ‘mainstream’ between 2009 and 2010. It is not uncommon to find African like prints in the high street as well on the catwalk. Fashion Brands like Matthew Williamson, Etro, Roberto Cavalli, Givenchy (and many more) have all had ‘exotic’ collections pop up now again. Celebrities like Solange Knowles, Michelle Obama, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna have embraced Ankara prints and styles. Seeing the influence that African fashion has had on the fashion industry as a whole and the strong desire for it (which has increased over the years), it is safe to say Ankara, Ntoma and Kente is here to stay.

African designers like Christie Brown, Duro Olowu, Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel by Lisa), Ituen Basi, Deola Sagoe transformed what was considered a local trend into a global trend, where everyone wants a bit of African prints. These designers reinvented traditional Ankara and Ntoma styles, for the modern woman and man. 

Franca Sozzani (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia) believes that the Africa has the potential to develop into something like the brand and stamp, Made in Italy (See blog post Place to Visit- Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’). I agree! I truly believe that ‘Made in Africa’ has great craftsmanship and can be seen as a sign of style across the world.

I think I’ll write a detailed blog post on the development of Made in Africa and the Rise of African Fashion soon.

In the meantime, here are some more pictures of my outfit

Made in Africa 2

Made in Africa 3

Made in Africa 4

What was I wearing?

Red Lace Top- Marks & Spencer

Ntoma Skirt-Made by my seamstress in Ghana

Black bag- Marks & Spencer

Shoes- Zara

Stay Blessed

x

Place to Visit- Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’

Italian Glamour 3

A couple of weeks ago I went out with my brothers to Victoria & Albert Museum. We went to see the Museum’s exhibition ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’. The exhibition started from 5th April 2014 and will continue to 27th July 2014.

Italian Glamour 4

The exhibition explores designs after the second world war to the present day. The clothes on display were breathtaking and just seeing the craftsmanship that goes into designing clothes is extraordinary. We also learned what the ‘Made in Italy’ brand means to designers, creative directors, artisans and writers. Franca Sozzani (editor-in chief of Vogue Italia) defined Italian fashion and ‘Made in Italy’ as quality, creativity, glamour, richness and unnoticeable luxury. Additionally, what was fascinating to see was the business aspect of the Italian fashion industry and Angela Missoni of the Italian fashion house Missoni commenting on the lack of support from the Italian government.

I thought Fausto Puglisi’s commentary on Italian fashion was very interesting:

I trust so much in Italian art and craft. That is something I like to do. I can never accept to do something out of Italy. I believe so much in sacrifice in fashion. Rome wasn’t built in a day and that’s for me the same thing. I mean a dress is not built in a day. A dress needs to be fitted, a dress needs to be sewed, a dress needs to be amazing. And if we think about the big names in fashion we think about sacrifice. Sacrifice means that fashion is your obsession and fashion is the only girlfriend and boyfriend you can have in life. Fashion is the only obsession, there is nothing else than fashion.

Francesco Cianferoni, Gucci Artisan:

On average a modeller has more than 20 years of experience. A prototype artisan, more than 10 years. I personally have done this job for 37 years. Obviously, our values are tradition, “Made in Italy” and quality. These are, of course, constantly challenged by innovation, which we must confront every day to have a young product that keeps up with the times.

Of course, during the making process the bags are assembled by hand, sewn with sewing machines, etc., but there is always a large human component – that is what determines the expected final result. We are talking about productions that were made in the 1960s and 1950s, and are still made today in the same manner and using the same tools. We draw a lot out of our historical archive.

We work with living materials. Leather changes according to tanning, dyeing… so many factors. The product always has to be followed from beginning to end, as every product is unique; each piece of leather is different from another. So it is not an assembly-line job, but a job requiring concentration, analysis and passion.

It made me appreciate fashion even more than I already do. The passion that goes into creating high fashion pieces is clearly visible in the exhibition. I am happy that I have brothers that equally love fashion as I do, we enjoyed ourselves so much (fashion geeks ha).

There is a book with the history of The glamour of Italian Fashion that you can buy from V&A’s gift shop. I can’t wait to read it!

Italian Glamour 5

Italian Glamour 6

Sadly, I could not take pictures of the exhibition. They were really strict on photography-sad times. You all need to see the beautiful clothing in the exhibition. It is only £8 for students. I want to go again!

Italian Glamour 2

Go check it out!

Stay Blessed

x

Happy Birthday John Lewis!

 

Now I usually do not do this, wishing Happy Birthday to a store but John Lewis deserves it. If you know me, John Lewis is one of my favourite department stores. Simply because their service is excellent, customer assistants are always eager to help and they have great clothes too.

Last week Sunday (not the one just gone, the previous week to that) I was shopping at Oxford Street and walked into John Lewis.  They had an 150th exhibition named ‘Stories of a Shopkeeper’ on the third floor, showcasing their history from its beginnings in 1894 to now and even its plans for the future.

Happy Birthday John Lewis

Happy Birthday John Lewis 2

Happy Birthday John Lewis 3

IMG_4226

IMG_4242

IMG_4244

IMG_4245

IMG_4246

IMG_4257

IMG_4260

IMG_4267

IMG_4270

IMG_4271

IMG_4272

IMG_4273

IMG_4274

IMG_4275

The exhibition has been extended to the 31st August. Go and have a look, it’s really interesting!

Stay Blessed

x

Bring me flowers

This is an outfit I wore to Church today. It has been such a sunny and lovely day. I finally could put a pair of sunglasses on. I hope it stays the same throughout the week. Maybe, that’s a big ask…lol.

It seems that florals are never going to go out of fashion. Last summer it was in and it is still in now. I guess it is a statement that says ‘BANG, here is the Spring and Summer Season!’. Nothing but florals and bright colours say Spring and Summer better.

Bring me flowers 1

Bring me flowers 2

Bring me flowers 3

Bring me flowers 4

Bring me flowers 5

Bring me flowers 6

Bring me flowers 8

Bring me flowers 9

Bring me flowers 10 Bring me flowers 11

What I was wearing?

Dress- Marks & Spencer

Shoes-Kurt Geiger

Earrings- Topshop

Pearl Bracelet-Topshop

Bag- Zara

Stay Blessed

x

Purple pleats

Happy Sunday everyone. It has been a lovely day, hasn’t it? Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

I do not usually have braids. But I l do love it, you can just wake up and go without any major styling. I also put some colour in my hair. Although I love colour generally, I’m usually a no no when it comes to the colour in the hair. I stick to 1B and that’s me, but my Auntie who does my hair persuaded me to have a change. And…I love it.

I wore this outfit two weeks ago and paired a white leather top with a purple pleated skirt and a cream longline sleeveless blazer.

Purple Pleats 3

Purple Pleats 5

Purple Pleats 1

The leather top is actually a crop top and comes up to my belly button. It is quite a long crop top, or maybe because I am short and it comes out bigger. I tucked it into the pleated skirt and belt.

Purple Pleats 4

Purple Pleats 6

Purple Pleats 2

Purple Pleats 7

What I was wearing?

Cream Longline blazer- Marks & Spencer

Leather Crop Top- Marks & Spencer

Purple Pleated Skirt- Marks & Spencer

Bag- Marks & Spencer

Belt-Versace

Black Sandals- Kurt Geiger

Stay Blessed

x

SUITS

No, this isn’t about the TV show, Suits. This is my take on wearing suits and how you can be fun with it. I am very excited though for Suits coming back- Season 4 of Suits is on next Wednesday (Thursday, for us in the UK).

When working in a conservative environment, traditional attires such as formal black pencil skirt suits are worn. Whenever I go to corporate events, I stick to black, greys, navies and neutral colours.  But outside of that world, I always try to keep my outfits bright and colourful.

Suits do not have to be boring. Many do have the preconception that suits are drab and dull, they can be but only if you make it like that.

Do not get me wrong, it is also nice to have a simple traditional black suit worn with a white shirt and pointy court stilettos. If you are looking to jazz or spruce your suit up a bit, I have suggested some ways of doing so:

-add colour

-wear patterns e.g florals, stripes, polka dots, houndstooth, leopard print

-wear different textures e.g sequins, jacquard, silk, lace

-wear layers e.g crop tops, bralets, corsets over shirts, polo neck jumpers, skirts over trousers

-statement accessories e.g belts, hats, jewellery, scarves

-statement heels and bags e.g mini bags, embellished clutches, oversized bags, bright heels

Here is a suit outfit I wore a while back. Yes, it is Grey-not one of the most exciting colours. However, it is not your stereotypical suit. The suit jacket is longline and has padded shoulders giving a classic 80s feel- think Joan Collins and Dynasty.

Suits 3

Suits 1

Suits 4

Suits 2

Suits 5

This suit seen below, I wore it some time back. I absolutely love the lime colour of the suit. I’m sorry guys, I couldn’t take pictures outside, it was raining that day. British weather eyy.

Suits 7

Suits 6

Suits 9

Suits 10 

The lime suit has interesting details, one is the zips on the back of the trousers (see picture below). It makes the suit (normally a conservative outfit and for the workplace), modern and contemporary.

Suits 8

Suits 11

What I was wearing-Grey suit

Grey Suit Jacket and matching dress- Vintage

Gold necklace- Wallis

Sandals-Marks & Spencer

Bag- Marks & Spencer

What I was wearing-Lime Suit

Lime Longline Blazer Jacket Suit & Trousers- ASOS

Black & White Crop Top- Marks & Spencer

Sandals- Marks & Spencer

Necklace-Topshop

Bag- Marks & Spencer

 

P.S.- It is Renaissance Ideal’s Birthday today! The blog is one years old today. Thank you to those who follow the blog and support it. Continue sharing and commenting.

I am on Twitter (RaeDosoo) and on Instagram (RaeDosoo). Renaissance Ideal is also on Facebook- www.facebook.com/renaissanceideal.  Check it out for daily updates on Politics, Law, Art, Finance, Business & Fashion stories. Share the Facebook page with family and friends.

Stay Blessed

x

Leather corset

I have been away from blogging, but do not worry, I will be updating you with outfits that I wore during Autumn and Winter.

For this outfit I paired a leather corset with a white shirt and a black pencil skirt.

Leather corset 2

If you are scared of doing leather, it is easier to start off with corset and wear it over another top, or a leather top. Before you go on to leather trousers and the rest.

Leather corset 1

Leather corset 3

Leather corset 6

I love wearing heels with pretty details. It can make any plain outfit glamorous

Leather corset 4

Leather corset 7

Leather corset 8

What I was wearing

Leather corset 5

White Shirt

Leather Corset- Zara

Black Pencil Skirt- Marks & Spencer

Necklace-Topshop

Bracelet Cuff- Wallis

Shoes-Kurt Geiger

Stay Blessed

x

Gentlewoman

Happy Friday. Hope you all have had a lovely week.

I wore this outfit a while back when it was miserable and cold. Pinstripes were very much in, during the A/W 2013-14 season. It is the year of Gentlewoman.

I wore a Pinstripe dress over a puffy sleeve shirt and you all know I love some colour, had to bring some warmth to the dull weather at the time- so I wore it with blue suede heels and a wine coloured handbag.

Gentlewoman 1

 Gentlewoman 3

Gentlewoman 2

Gentlewoman 4

Gentlewoman 5

Gentlewoman 7

Gentlewoman 11

Gentlewoman 9 

The Pinstripes and Gentlewomen trend was seen in designers collections like Stella McCartney, Maison Martin Margiela and Marc Jacobs in the A/W 2013-14 season.

Maison Martin Margiela Pinstripe  Maison Martin Margiela Autumn Winter 2013-14

Marc Jacobs Pinstripe Marc Jacobs Autumn Winter 2013-14

Stella McCartney’s collection in particular showcased the Pinstripes trend well, where she tapped back into her Saville Row background and her signature style (menswear fabrics, sporty luxe, sweatshirt dresses). The masculine-feminine collection was very much Stella.

Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 1 Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 3

Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 2 Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 4

Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 5 Stella McCartney AW 13-14 pinstripe 6

Stella McCartney Autumn Winter 2013-14 Collection

 

What I was wearing:

Gentlewoman 10 Dress-Vintage

Shirt-Vintage

Blue Velvet suede heels- Kurt Geiger

Belt- Versace

Wine Bag-John Lewis

 

Stay Blessed

x

Balenciaga files lawsuit against Steve Madden

Balenciaga is suing Steven Madden with a trademark lawsuit. The Paris based design house, helmed by Alexander Wang, filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Manhattan accusing accessories designer Steven Madden of copying its famous motorcycle bag. Balenciaga said that Steven Madden has made a “studied copy” of the bag. Balenciaga argues Steven Madden’s Btalia bag which is being sold for $88, resembles the Motorcycle bag.

Balenciaga Motorcycle bag Balenciaga Motorcycle bag

Balenceniaga motorcycle bag Balenciaga City Bag

Steve madden btalia bag Steven Madden’s Btalia bag

The French design house which is owned by parent company Kering has claimed that Steven Madden is manufacturing a cheaper version of their famous Motorcycle bag. This according to Balenciaga has been specifically done to confuse consumers. The company claims that Steven Madden has infringed a trade dress regulation that the Parisian house applied for in 2007. A trade dress regulation is a type of trademark protection. This is a visual kind of trademark where the appearance of the product is looked at.  Trade dress infringement issues arise when a party feels that a copy could result in consumer confusion. The trade dress which was registered by Balenciaga covers the front design of Motorcycle bag and its lookalikes such as Twiggy, Velo, Papier and City (see picture above).

The registration protects: “The flat pouch with a zippered rectangular closure, a zipper pull consisting of a strip centrally-knotted and hanging in two equal lengths, and a semi-elliptical patch outfitted with two raised studs in each corner; and two identical patches in an elongated pentagonal shape, featuring an elongated hexagonal patch outfitted with a buckle and two raised studs”.

The Motorcycle bag has been a celebrity favourite seen on the likes of Kim Kardashian, Mary-Kate Olsen and Paris Hilton. It became so popular that there were many counterfeits on the market. As a result of this, Balenciaga decided to register a US trade dress to protect the design. The bag was created by Nicholas Ghesquiere who was at Balenciaga from 1997 and in 2012 Alexander Wang became his successor.

SPL265916_009  Kim Kardashian carrying a suede Motorcycle bag

Balenciaga has asked the court for an injunction to prevent Steven Madden producing the “studied copy” of its Motorcycle bag. The French label is also seeking monetary damages and lost profits. Balenciaga’s complaint states: “Defendant’s wholesale copying of Balenciaga’s designs is likely to deceive consumers into believing that the infringing [handbag] is associated with or authorized by Balenciaga when it is, in fact, not.” In addition, Balenciaga claims not only is there customer confusion but it is also hurting the company’s goodwill, reputation and sales.

This is not the first time Balenciaga has filed a lawsuit against the American designer, Steve Madden. If you remember, in 2007 the company filed a complaint against Steven Madden for “intentionally copying” its LEGO high heel from its Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection.

Do you think Steve Madden’s Btalia copied Balenciaga’s Motorcycle bag? Or do you think they are just similar?

 

Stay Blessed

x

Pearl Choker

I have been wanting a statement necklace that has pearls in.  All I could find was the traditional one strand pearl necklaces which I already have. I am still on a mission to find a chunky pearl necklaces with many strands. Any ideas?

Many of you may have seen the Zara pearl choker which has been made popular by fashion bloggers. I think its such a elegant yet edgy necklace that can be worn day in and day out.

Mother of pearl 6 (zara)  Mother of pearl 7 (Zara)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zara Pearl Choker (find here)- sold out

Zara Pearl Bracelet (find here)

My love for the pearl choker began when I saw the Chanel Spring/Summer 2014 report and the huge pearl bubble chokers the models were wearing. Then I saw that Zara had a pearl choker which was similar. I put it in my basket and by the time I came back, it was sold out. Sad times indeed!

Mother of pearl 1 (Chanel)

Mother of pearl 2 (Chanel)

Mother of pearl 3 (Chanel)

Nevertheless, there was still hope for my mission to find a similar necklace to the Chanel pearl choker. Yayy, I did end up find up finding something. Topshop also have a pearl choker. They have it in grey too, which I have been thinking about getting.  I am thinking twice about it, the same necklace in two colours. Excessive or Necessary?

Mother of pearl 9

Mother of Pearl 10

Topshop Pearl Choker (find here)

Mother of pearl 4

Topshop Grey Ball Collar (Find here)

Topshop Grey Ball Bracelet (Find here)

It is great to see the influence of designers on the high street, high end designs trickling into high street shops. This means that people can find similar designs for a cheaper price and still feel en vogue. I remember Miranda Priestly telling off Andy in The Devil Wears Prada because she did not understand the importance of designs and how they could impact the ordinary man. Here is a quote of what she said:

Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?
Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing’s… You know, it’s just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I’m still learning about all this stuff and, uh…
Miranda Priestly: ‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff

Whether we like it or not, what we wear is somehow shaped by the fashion industry. Miranda’s example was Oscar De La Renta cerulean gowns and Andy’s sweater. There are many examples through history and today. For instance Roland Mouret and his ‘Moon’ Dress, famously worn by Victoria Beckham in 2007, created a frenzy on the high street. Stores such as Topshop had their own version and even Tesco had similar dresses to Mouret’s ‘Moon’ dress.  The Chanel Pearl Bubble Choker, is a clear example of this today.

Stay Blessed

x