The fact that big name editors, top international bloggers and celebs are so proud of sitting in the front row of the “Big Four” fashion-week shows indicates that the whole idea of fashion, by its nature, is hierarchical, which means only the elite fashion circle is entitled to enjoy the privilege of watching the glamorous world of high-end fashion on stage at a close distance. Exuding the democratic and harmonious spirit of traditional African culture, the African fashion night co-hosted by Amina Lamarre Delafoulhouse, the French-African businesswoman turned amateur fashion designer and the French jewelry designer Virginie Villa was like a breath of fresh air among the status oriented fashion occasions. The event taking place in Amina’s Makumba Africa Lounge, the first authentic African bar in Hong Kong (she has been running Makumba since I first met her a few years ago in Hong Kong) was open to all, regardless of social background or status, title, occupation or age. While waiting for the show to start, the guests could feel free to enjoy moving their hips to the passionate African live music while sipping a drink.
Not a big fan of dancing? The venue was lavishly decorated with brightly colored African handcrafted works. The guests could leisurely browse the beautiful displays of African fabrics, wood and other colorful handmade works and kept themselves in a delightful mood for the show.
More guests flocked to the bar fifteen minutes before the show started. After a short while the music stopped and the MC came onto the stage to announce the start of the show with a speech in praise of the designers’ creativity and the beauty of the models. Wows could be heard as each model came out in her stunning look. The models did not grace a typical runway; they catwalked through the audiences showing warm smiles and friendly gestures and welcoming close-up snapshots by the crowd. The African fashion show was all about everyone, no matter who they are enjoying and participating in a fun and fabulously chic party on an equal basis. So who cares about Anna Wintour?
Amina’s designs exuded eclectic African charm and style. Her traditional African inspired robe and headdresses and vibrantly colored maxi dresses featuring ethnic tribal prints paid tribute to the African cultural heritage.
The collection devoted a great deal of attention to multi-patterned African prints of bright colors such as lime, yellow and orange red and bold designs which reflected passion, enthusiasm and optimism, so intrinsic in African people. The model’s ice blue lips formed an interesting contrast against her kaleidoscope outfit in vivid warm colors.
Amina herself is a dress maniac (so am I). She thoughtfully designed plenty of colorful printed one-piece dresses with different silhouettes and styles perfect for busy metropolitan women who need a convenient wardrobe with various kinds of dresses for all occasions: sexy body hugging mini dresses, flowy dance dresses, adorable mermaid dresses, stylish chic tube dresses and off-shoulder dresses, classic elegant dresses, you name it being showcased in the fashion show, a dress extravaganza, to be precise. Amina fancified her favorite dresses even more with layers of ruffles, frills and ribbons that added a pretty touch of texture. All prints in this collection were exclusively designed, and each piece was sewn with a sewing machine by the designer herself (respect!). If you are thinking of what to wear to make yourself uniquely beautiful and be admired by the crowd like the models were, you have come to the right place – welcome to Amina’s Tailoring!
It is hard to pick just one must have item from the collection as each piece was so well tailored with particular attention given to design, character and quality. But if I could only choose one, I would most definitely go for this open back mermaid dress. With this super cute shoulderless backless dress, the wearer can show off her fun and flirty side. A row of flouncy ruffles across the high waistline with a girlish mermaid hemline and an obi-like ribbon at the back combined youthfulness, liveliness and sexiness as one. The back of the dress adopted the design of backlessness which was the entire point of the outfit. It is too hard to pick just one, can I pick two?
Neon colors are a global fashion hit for this summer. Amina mixed bright colored exotic tribal prints and African tradition with postmodern neon colors, which reflected the designer’s exceptional sensitivity to fashion, and took her collection to the next level by setting the “fluo meets ethnic” trend.
The neon colored dresses surprisingly and stunningly went well with the vintage style metal and leather jewelry by the French jewelry designer Virginie Villa for Miss Bella. Miss Bella’s signature feminine butterfly motif and classic fretwork design helped tone down the edginess of these electric colors: electric blue, neon green and neon orange.
If you happen to be in town, drop by Minimi and get your favorite little treasures by Miss Bella. You don’t want to wait till your next trip to France? No problem. Let’s now explore the treasures together, ta-da!
Shop address: 31 Galerie Bordelaise
33000 Bordeaux, France
Me and Amina Lamarre Delafoulhouse, the French-African businesswoman turned amateur fashion designer
Me and the French jewelry designer Virginie Villa for Miss Bella