Queen of Print Lisa Folawiyo Strikes Back
LAGOS, Nigeria - "All I want to do is create clothes that match up to the incredible beauty of all women," remarked designer Lisa Folawiyo on the set of her look book shoot for her latest collection. Folawiyo has limited her exposure at global fashion weeks over the past few years, but she has consistently developed season after season an assortment of printed looks that exude enduring appeal for women everywhere. The Nigerian designer came back in full force with her Autumn / Winter 2018 collection presentation shown strategically off-schedule at Rele Gallery in Onikan, Lagos.
Entitled “Texture, Chaos, and Systems," the collection was one that Folawiyo described as "having you all delve into my most expressive self." Highlighting Folawiyo's signature fanaticism with prints, day dresses and cocktail separates were covered in cosmic swatches, painterly splatters, and celestial matter. With standout feminine silhouettes with a deliberate dose of attitude, billowing tops went from dreamy to dangerous when paired with high-waisted miniature skirts. Illusive layering, with subtle nods to her indigenous heritage, transformed mere pieces into modern-day collector's items.
The texture reference in the collection title is spot on if one knows anything about Folawiyo's tenure as a designer. She began in 2005 with her reworking of Ankara fabric, a culturally relevant textile despite its origins in the Netherlands using ornate embellishment. A closer look at her current collection revealed exquisite hand embroidered detail. Ink and ivory beading glinted and glimmered on pleated gowns produced by Folawiyo's team of expert artisans who spend on average 240 hours on these garments.
Folawiyo played a significant role in putting Ankara textile on a global stage in the early 2000s from dressing international celebrities (Lupita Nyong’o, Thandie Newton, and Solange Knowles) and building international distribution (Moda Operandi, MyTheresa, and Selfridges) to appearing in near every international fashion week (Lagos, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Milan and New York). She later developed her own African-inspired custom prints for that instantly recognizable mark that continues today in her rightful claim to the title of Queen of Print. Despite the aforementioned chaos, veteran Folawiyo looks to have a firm grip on her aesthetic approach to navigate the uncertain terrain.