African Heritage Night flowed with flamboyant elegance- PHOTOS

Wednesday October 25 2017

Pan-African fashion showcased on stage by

Pan-African fashion showcased on stage by models at the African Heritage Night 2017. PHOTOS| MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

By MARGARETTA WA GACHERU
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The African Heritage Night 2017 was reminiscent of previous AH events which have been organized over five decades since Alan Donovan, the American designer and former USAID worker first arrived in Africa back in 1967.

It was an extravaganza of fashion, beautiful faces and music by another band assembled by local artistes in conjunction with Mr Donovan. In the past it was the African Heritage Band, organised by Job Seda (who later became the acclaimed Ayub Ogada) that performed at AH events.

This time round, it was Papillon with his marvelous musicians who provided the live musical fire of the night. But then the fashion show, choreographed by Nigerian designer Paulina Otieno, featured an eclectic range of musical accompaniment including Fela Kuti and Ayub.

The star designer of the night was the internationally – known Nigerian batik artist, Nike Seven Seven Odundaye.

Gown designed with Bakuba cloth from Congo.

Gown designed with Bakuba cloth from Congo. PHOTO| MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

Credited with reviving the vanishing Nigerian textile of Adire, Nike’s indigo-blue tie and dye fabrics have been exhibited all over the world.

MR DONOVAN ABSENT

The one big difference in this year’s African Heritage Night was the absence of Mr Donovan who has been well but who was meant to be the star of the night.

Alan Donovan with African Heritage models in a

Alan Donovan with African Heritage models in a past event. PHOTO| COURTESY

In his absence, Mr Donovan was appreciated by everyone from former AH model Emma Too and Harsita Waters of Alliance Francaise to members of the Nigerian High Commission and Strathmore University’s Dr Luis Franceschi.

But even in his absence, Donovan’s presence was felt and tangibly seen in the Pan-African textiles that covered two floors of wall space, filled the cat-walk with elegant, original fashions made from the same fabulous hand-made fabrics and even the band Papillon that the designer has encouraged and assisted all along the way.

Nigerian Adire cloth with crown of ceremonial

Nigerian Adire cloth with crown of ceremonial peacock feathers. PHOTO| MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

BREATH-TAKING

Ultimately, it was the fashions that were most breath-taking. Made from textiles that came from Cameroon, Congo, Mali, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Kenya, the fashions stole the show.

Nigerian batik artist Nike Okundaye. PHOTO|

Nigerian batik artist Nike Okundaye. PHOTO| MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

But without doubt, the designer that was also a crowd-stopper was Nike Okundaye. With her elegant hand-stamped indigo-blue Adire gown, flame-red coral beads and flamboyant ‘peacock’ headdresses, she was definitely the presiding African Queen of the night.