Ituen Basi, a titan in the Nigerian fashion industry’s “Dear George” collectionwas met with rapturous applause at the Arise Fashion Week 2019.
As expected, the collection is bold and uplifting with a colour palette that is a burst of ‘spicy’ and neon colours tempered with ivory and naturals. There is in addition the designer’s ingenious use of print and texture. Ituen is after all the undisputed queen of a perfectly executed print mash up.
The somewhat marginalized plaid George fabric is the mainstay of this collection, worn primarily by the people of the South Eastern part of Nigeria, it has been given a new lease of life. George fabric predates the Nigerian independence, it was brought over during the British colonialism from the Madras region in India. It was quickly adopted for its wearability and became a symbol of wealth and success until the weavers in Akwete began to weave their local versions of the fabric because the imported versions were very expensive. It is still argued that the fabric was named George after king George.
The pieces are young and vibrant with everything from dresses, aprons and skirts to culottes, rompers, jackets and a grand coat. The George fabric contrasts beautifully with the other fabrics used such as hessian, organdie, guipure lace, cotton madras and their customized ‘Rice’ print polyester crepe.
We predict the “must have” piece this season to be the iconic t-shirts with slogans such as “Dear George, I can buy my own rice”, “Dear George, I am not doing again” and “Dear George…Full stop”!!! These t-shirts are at once humorous on the one hand and on the other a call to arms to the inner feminist to take up her power and demand what is rightfully hers…in conclusion pure genius.
Not to be overlooked are the delightful accessories. Quirky playful leather bucket bags, colourful floral coronets, cowrie shell belts and raffia slides and of course the Ituen Basi signature “tassels” which have been revamped with a slight cultural accent as befits the new collection.
A fully comprehensive collection with its light reference on South-eastern traditional attire culminates in some beautiful “of the moment” double wrapper sets, inventively paired with shirts rather than traditional blouses.
The eagerly anticipated collection launched last Saturday and is now available in-store.