Surfacing Trend: African Prints

Amerie_in_Nicole_Miller_Korto_Momolu_African_inspired_print_dresses_Bluefly_blog_FlyPaper.jpg“I’m actually wearing Nicole Miller,” singer Amerie told us as she sat front row at the Arise Promise of Africa group show on Friday, September 11th, “but I thought that it kind of went [with the African theme of the Arise show] because of the print.” Miller isn’t the only designer who’s spring 2010 collection featured prints reminiscent of African textiles. In his Marc by Marc line, Marc Jacobs created sassy skirts and dresses out of batik prints, while Spaniard, Juanjo Oliva designed a collection of dresses out of mostly Nigerian wax prints he bought at a small fabric shop in Paris.
“Bored” with the pretty but plain dresses he was seeing, Oliva who was known for his fearless use of color — but had not used prints in his own collections — chose to end his aversion to patterns with bold colored African textiles. Playing with volume, pleating, and woven techniques, Oliva used the traditional African textiles to create a thoroughly modern collection. And because the textiles come in sheets of just a few yards,”It’s kind of exclusive,” Oliva notes, “you won’t easily find someone else wearing one.”


For Liberian-American Project Runway all-star Korto Momolu who hails from Arkansas, the attention African fashion is getting is overdue. Rocking an African-print mini dress she designed to take in the group showing of David Tlale, Eric Raisina, Jewel by Lisa, and Tiffany Amber’s work at the Arise show, she told us she loved “the energy” of it. “Taking designers right out of Africa, handpick them, bring them to the U.S. to show the world that we’re doing it big in Africa. Just because our fashions may differ from most ofthe peoplethat show during fashion week, it’s still fashion.” She added, “There’s a place where all these pieces come from… it’s really more in depth than just going to Mood and buying some silk.”
>Buy this batik print Nicole Miller shift dress
>Listen to our full interview with Korto Momolu
>Vote on Nicole Miller’s spring 2010 collection
>Vote on Marc by Marc Jacobs’ spring 2010 collection
>Vote on the Arise Promise of Africa spring 2010 collection
[top photo: singer Amerie & designer Korto Momolu; center photos: l to r look from Marc by Marc Jacobs spring 2010 courtesy of Getty Images; look from Jewel by Lisa, from Arise Promise of Africa group show; designer Juanjo Oliva stands in front of a Nigerian wax print dress from his spring 2010 collection]

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