Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Africa, Revisited

There are some perennial themes in fashion that are virtually always incorporated in a season in one fashion or an other.  One of these themes is Africa and African art/fashion.  Some years it is animal prints, sometimes it is tropical prints, and sometimes it is reinterpretations of traditional dress.

This season, Spring/Summer 2009, not only are some animal prints being used, but some designers are using wax fabric/wax fabric inspired prints.  Dutch Wax Fabric is a specific type of fabric in West Africa, such as the Cote de Ivoire and Nigeria.  It features bright colors, bold prints with
almost any theme but primarily geometric or nature-inspired.  There are several different styles of prints and garments made from the fabric are worn by both men and women, but primarily women.  Much of the fabric is by Vlisco and is considered a fashion essential.

A current example of the use of these prints is in the SS09 Junya Watanabe show.  He showed beautifully complex dresses in bold wax-fabric style prints!  They look so summery and fresh, and not necessarily because of the cut, but because of the print.  Bold prints are always in style and the kind of attention given to that in Africa is something to aspire to and admire.  My favorite print that Junya Watanabe used was the evil eye print--blue, yellow and red in a new interpretation of a traditional good luck symbol.  It will be exciting to see where else these prints show up in fashion this season!

Picture from style.com

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