Making her return to the Lagos Fashion and Design Week stage, eponymous label Funke Adepoju had a lot to prove. After inking a concession deal with new high street retailer Zazaii/MeiDei, there was a whole new market to court. And court she did, with a hyper-feminine, easy to wear collection.
Favouring blush pink and tawny brown as her season’s defining colours; the showcase featured a number of heavily sequinned dresses with full skirts in the silhouette popularized by international brand Jil Sander. Floral elements provided detailing on the pieces, complex white floral motifs in relief against the simple lace pieces, augmented with cut-outs and layers of tulle. She experimented with off shoulder dresses and oversized peplums in lieu of detailing. This idea was best expressed in a baby pink midi dress, so perfect on the model; she seemed to slink across the runway. This dress has already made its red carpet debut on Dakore Akande during the Fifty movie press tour.
The second half of the showcase saw Adepoju shed the sorbet colours for more vibrant prints and deep reds and turquoise blues. This half of the collection was less whimsical and featured more regular staples; knee-length A-line dresses with sweetheart necklines, tube dresses, one shoulder dresses and the wide leg two piece pant.
The emphasis in this half was the fabric, a shiny abstract print with swaths of colour that will be instantly recognisable over the year. A good business strategy in an industry where several designers debuting similar styles in the same fabric is a common, unfortunate occurrence.
To close off the showcase, Adepoju showed us a glimpse of her true cash cow, bespoke evening wear. A trio of dresses, a floor length turquoise dress with an exaggerated collar and a train was transcendental on Uju Marshall, followed with white and oxblood dresses which drew the most applause; both heavily embroidered, tailored so succinctly they would be right at home at any couture show.
There were however a few missteps; an oxblood asymmetrical dress, that seemed a trial for many of the ideas that were properly executed on other dresses, a tawny dress that was little more than a fold of fabric with darts. The collection could have done without these looks, as they were sour notes in an otherwise assertive showing. Hopefully they will either be reworked or edited by the time the brand releases its catalogue.
The Funke Adepoju woman seems to be one with a lot of places to be and Adepoju has all the right pieces to dress her.