Designer Spotlight: Duro Olowu

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.
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 12, 2010

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Duro Olowu poses with his London New Designer of the Year Award and model Angela Daniels wearing the ‘Duro dress’ in a painterly collage of flowers.

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In his Spring Summer 2008 collection Duro Olowu updates his famous dress into a trapeze shape and adds tiered volume.

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Jourdan Dunn walks the Duro Olowu runway show at London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2008 in a put-together look consisting of a pink and white gingham ruffled shirt with sparkling brooch at the neck and green cropped pants.

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For his Spring Summer 2009 collection, Duro Olowu was inspired by the classic 1959 film “Black Orpheus” and Nigerian masquerade festivals he attended as a child.

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It’s simply awe-inspiring the way in which Duro Olowu can lend such elegant harmony to a busy union of polka dots, brocade and flower prints.

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Duro Olowu’s long subtle princess sleeve mini dress’ brown and white swirly print is the perfect number for a mesmerizing entrance.

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The contrasting piece of this long gown is just one the many touches Duro Olowu injects to create instant impact.

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Duro Olowu’s silk patterned kimono wrap packs a powerful punch.

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Duro Olowu perks up a classic shape in refined prints styled with leopard platform pumps.

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Duro Olowu turns up the notch on a skirt suit with an emerald jewel tone and unique details like the elastic hem and pouch pockets.

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