Designer Spotlight: Duro Olowu
by Alexandra Phanor-Faury
Vivid floral prints and patterned dresses are all the rave for this upcoming spring and the go to designer for richly hued, mix and match ready-to-wear is the king of prints designer Duro Olowu. This Nigerian born and UK resident print aficionado first caught the fashion world’s attention in 2005 with what’s been coined as the ‘Duro dress’ : a silk kimono-like wide-sleeved, high-waisted patchwork dress accentuated at the waist, sleeves and hem with a wide contrasting print band. The limited edition signature dresses’ 70’s silhouette in punchy, collages of prints ignited a cult following among celebrities and fashion insiders, spawned a heap of copy-cats and was awarded with the title of 2005’s Dress of The Year by both American and UK Vogue.
His debut collection in 2005 proved that this former lawyer had more up his sleeves than a dress. The collection boast total looks from one-of-a-kind accessories to clothes in equally exuberant prints designed by Olowu. The 2005 London Designer of The Year’s claim to fame was and still remains, in addition to his multi-patterned prints and wild color combinations, the ultra-rich vintage, couture Parisian silks Olowu uses to cut his beautiful pieces. Olowu’s kaleidoscopic prints may spell bohemian but his tailored silhouettes evoke nothing less than chic sophistication. Olowu’s classic shapes help tame the cacophony of charming prints and color, so instead of looking like a mixed up bag of prints, the ensembles are decidedly posh.
Olowu’s artistic approach to his creative prints has won him the attention of stylish women around the world who love color, although he’s been known to convert many staunch head-to-toe black fans, and those confident enough to push fashion’s boundaries by mixing stripes, spots and animal skin in one outfit. Women like eBay Style Director Constance White, Fashion PR maven Bonnie Morrison, Supermodel Iman and Chief Curator and Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Gooden (now his wife) have all been spotted on more than one occasion in Duro Olowu creations.
For the last couple of seasons we’ve been so accustomed to the tough-girl aesthetic that Olowu’s brand of femininity is a welcomed breath of fresh air.