May is a happy month for most of us – it brings our first glimpse of summer, warmer weather and sun-related smiles all round – but for Nigerian designer Deola Sagoe, it also brings with it a Marie Claire cover and another red carpet slot for one of her latest designs.
Lydia Hearst, the doll-faced American supermodel, joined the likes of Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek on Monday when she wore a Deola Sagoe design to E!’s 20th Anniversary party last week – a gorgeous monochrome-and-red mix dress crafted from the designer’s trademark traditional African fabric Aso-Oke.
And if Deola Sagoe isn’t a name you’re familiar with just yet, it’s time to make a mental note because we’re pretty sure you’ll be hearing it a lot more in months to come. She is, after all, quickly becoming Africa’s most buzzed about designer.
Her exploration of Nigerian nostalgia and high fashion offers a refreshingly dynamic line that’s both cultural and creative in its influences – there’s hand-woven fabrics, vibrant colours, prints and patterns, beading and crystals and lashings of gold – and it’s a line that’s served her well.
After catching the eye of US Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley when she won the ‘African Designs’ and MNET/Anglo Gold African Designs in 2000 – just two years after she began designing – Deola has since gone on to win the Platinum Quality Award at 2006’s 10th International Star Awards in Paris, show her collections on the international runways, and earn a cult following among fashion’s elite with her haute couture and ready-to-wear lines (it’s not just the supers, we hear Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Roy are fans, too).