Millie Collines is a truly Afro-politan label with its roots stretching from Kigali in Rwanda to Cape Town in South Africa. Their 2016 autumn/winter show at AFI Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg on Friday (11 March) took place in an intimate venue to provide all guests with a front-row view.
Curio 1 city, their autumn/winter 2016 collection, is also their first with Namnyak Odupoy, who joined Inés Cuatrecasas and Marc Oliver, the cofounders of Mille Collines, in March 2015 as designer. Odupoy comes with strong fashion-industry credentials that include successes as model and stylist for Couture Africa in Kenya.
Cuatrecasas calls Curio l city; cosmopolitan, elegant and artisanal.“We took our inspiration from the curio shops found throughout Africa and their disconnect with today’s Africa. We understand the nostalgia associated with curios and reinterpreted them to reflect the cosmopolitan, globalised Africa, African women live in today. We took the most obvious elements that non-Africans consider ‘African’ and expressed them in a contemporary way.”
The collection encompasses a professional woman’s day and the show started with Mille Collines’ trademark relaxed resort wear before moving on to suits – a first for the designers – and sophisticated 3D beaded cocktail wear. There are flowing printed tunics and kimonos, tailored jackets and dresses as well as cocktail dresses, all in Mille Collines’ natural palette of sand, stone and indigo enlivened with flashes of bottle green, mint, banana yellow and peach. Easy-wearing Italian matt silk crêpe and wool, for the suits and waistcoats, and natural cotton transformed with prints traditionally associated with curios, particularly the patterns of Kuba fabrics from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All the accessories similarly put an elegant spin on the ubiquitous curios. The models wore faux elephant hair bracelets, belts and necklaces made from rubber, leather and copper thread; leather handbags with woven panels made from recycled T-shirt yarn by Philani, a women’s workshop in Khayelitsha and another in Nairobi, Kenya; 3D brooches and necklaces that echo African masks that have been hand decorated with beading by a group of 25 Masai women; and beaded cuffs inspired by Masai motifs and given contemporary colours. The laptop bags are by The WRen Design in Cape Town and made from recycled paper finished with a waterproof coating to which ‘Mille Collines’ customised prints were added. Ballo, also from Cape Town, collaborated on the unisex, cow’s horn, leather and wood sunglasses finished with beaded straps that double as necklaces
What do you think about Mille Collines Afro-Politan Collection?? More Screen Shot below.
“When you move to a new environment it forces you to go back to your roots so that the core of your designs does not get lost in the change. Today we can say that South Africa is giving us the opportunity to continue growing in a creative way, something that is very important as we are a young company with lots of scope to grow. We are excited to be doing it here in South Africa while continuing to be in East Africa.”
Curio l city will be available in April from the Mille Collines online store, which offers free delivery throughout Africa, and at the Mille Collines boutiques in Nairobi.
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Photography credits: SDR Photo | Show Producer: Deon Redman | Set design: Krisjan Rossouw
Image Credit: StyleAfrica.co.za