Some of Africa and the diaspora’s most significant designers are descending on Melrose Arch in Johannesburg next week to show their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012.

Elie Kuame from Cote d'Ivoire
From Cote d’Ivoire, Elie Kuame’s creations reflect a cultural mosaic combining different materials like silk, lace, leather, fur, pearl stone and unusually, bark. I spoke to him about his designs.

“After four years of training, I became the 1st assistant designer for a line known in particular for its bridal gowns. I started a journey across the globe to to hone my knowledge about the fashion industry. In March 2006 I won a competition sponsored by the prestigious House of Hermès an the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. My collection, “Women of Power”, showed off clean and simple lines with wildly sophisticated cuts and fine embroidery. “Women of Power” marked the beginning of Elie Kuame Couture. 

“My designs have
a capacity to combine a variety of materials and textiles in a masterful manner and my style is defined by my own cultural mosaic.”
 ”I use my mixed race (metissage) cultural background as inspiration for my creations.  I mix silks, mousseline (a fine, semi-opaque, crisp fabric, resembling chiffon or delicate muslin) satin, crepe silk and lace from Calais - these are all fabrics typical of French dressing - with bark, bogolan (mud cloth, Malian fabric) and exotic
skins – more unusual materials. The bark – often seen in my collections – is complex to use and requires great skill.
“I source my fabric at Marche Saint Pierre in the 18th district of Paris and I also have a friend, Joelle, from Sonotis in the 3rd district that sometimes surprises me with great materials. Otherwise I source from all over the world.
“At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa I will be showing my  ”Ready To Couture” Spring-Summer 2013, called ”Detail Risime”. For the collection I have worked with printed materials inspired by the idea of the feminine elegance of past ages of nobility. THe bright colours are softened by white. I’ll also present my new luxury accessory range - bags, iPad cases, wallets, bracelets and belts - in exotic leather.

LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD Reviewed by Unknown on 13:32:00 Rating: 5

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