Duro Olowu dazzles New York Fashion Week

With fans including Michelle Obama, Iman and Iris Apfel, it’s about time Duro Olowu stamped his distinctive mark on NYFW.

Already an established name at London Fashion Week, the Nigeria-born designer presented a stylish collection, drawing on a rich mix of vintage textiles.

Velvet, printed silks, merino jacquard and Linton tweed were patchworked, layered and panelled together to create sweeping floor-length dresses, fitted zip-up jackets, cropped trousers and cocoon cardigans.

“My intention was to create a freestyle, chic wardrobe for an independent spirit”, said Olowu, citing South American gauchos, Mexican screen icon Maria Felix and African-American Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van Der Zee as inspirations.

Olowu also worked alongside casting director Bethann Hardison to put together his autumn/winter 2011 presentation at New York’s Milk Studios. The show featured ARISE model favourites Georgie Baddiel, KinĂ©e Diouf and Sigail Currie prowling into view in Olowu’s Urban Gaucho finery. “It was pure magic, the clothes, the model, the moment,” said Hardison, who has a dress in the collection named after her.

Olowu trained as a lawyer in London before launching his brand and boutique in 2004. Last year he won International Designer of the Year at the 2010 Africa Fashion Awards. He is married to Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.



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