At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we would like to state again, for the record that in fashion, words mean things.
Words like ‘Ready to Wear’, ‘Premium’, ‘Bespoke’ and ‘Couture’ are descriptors, a condensed micro-language spoken by fashion buyers and sellers to help the buyer choose as efficiently as possible without necessarily needing to be coddled by the designer. Couture dresses are rarely ever, almost never sold on a rack. A dress can be bespoke without being couture. Some Ready to Wear dresses can be premium, but none can be couture. This is why right off the bat, it is impossible to take Nigerian womenswear label, Couture by Makioba seriously. The name is a fail.
Couture is the very pinnacle of fashion, the clothing is usually handmade by some of the world’s best craftsmen and this title is so exclusive, the word itself is protected by legal statutes. A cursory exploration of Couture by Makioba’s portfolio will show that while they make good clothes, they are most certainly not couture. A faux pas this big and this easily avoidable never bodes well for a label that wants to make it internationally.
But that isn’t the focus of this article. Couture by Makioba just released campaign images for their Spring 2016 collection, geared specifically towards plus size women. Now this is genius. Statistics tell us that the average woman is plus size and providing stylish clothing for fashion’s biggest demographic is always a great idea. The clothes are fronted by T.V presenter and media personality Taje Prest (who has become something of a plus-size sex symbol in the last year,) and they cross the spectrum from grecian to flirty to sexy.
Right off the bat, it is obvious that Makioba understands the body of the plus-size woman; the clothes on the women are flattering, no mean feat considering the label explores several clothing styles. They also experiment with contrasting bold colours with prints, and minimal draping and embroidery. The tailoring is excellent, even though the silhouettes and construction do little to excite.
If there is a word to describe this collection, it would be ‘cute’. The clothes fit well, they flatter the models, they also don’t make them look comical. But they also don’t push any boundaries for plus-size women’s wear. There are no thematic strength, no experimentation.
Couture (ahem) by Makioba has cracked the code on how to sew for plus size women, now they need to find a way to make clothes that will take them from acceptable to fashion forward.
Photography: Elzia Vibes Studio
Models: Kemi Owolabi, Taje Prest
Makeup/Hair: Mathilda Amaebi Narebor
Tech Support: Mojoyin Owobowale, Dominic Ojomo