Duro Olowu Reimagines Power Dressing

LONDON, United Kingdom - Nigerian-born, London-based designer Duro Olowu has been a fountain of inspiration for African designers everywhere since launching his eponymous label in 2004. Olowu walks to a beat of his own - inspired by everyday people spotted in London's Ladbroke Grove neighborhood and constantly giving his followers a peek into his enviable gallery visits alongside his wife Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum of Harlem.

It is in the combination of patterns and textiles where Olowu has made his mark over the past thirteen years and his Spring 2018 collection shown at London Fashion Week was no different in the best ways. While Spring 2017 was all dreams of Nina Simone, this season is an ode to Lee Miller, another artist, but also a photographer and muse to surrealist painters in the 1930s. Olowu is attuned to strong women - Michelle Obama, Tracee Ellis Ross, his wife included - and designs for their worlds. It is a powerful undertaking, but the message is resonant in a series of ochre suiting, technicolor shirtdresses, and rich watercolor floral gowns that are sure to make a statement upon arrival. The elegance is met with an element of subversion: the tucked lapel, the hanging pocket, or a cuffed trouser - a complexity that speaks to Miller's life as a war correspondent for Vogue and subsequently, a country lady. His fastidious use of brightly printed silks and luminous plumes add sumptuous decadence pared down only by the geometric rationale. On a dreary day, Olowu has the precision to enhance the boldness within any woman.

Photos Courtesy of Duro Olowu / @duroolowu