Multidisciplinary artist and designer Loza Maleombho has put Cote D’Ivoire on the map in a way we’ve never seen before. Her Alien Edits have been shown across the world and her designs have been worn by a myriad of celebrities and have even featured in Beyonce Knowles 2016 opus ‘Lemonade’. But ultimately the designer has remained inextricably tied to her roots and her work continues to explore her ancestry and place of femininity in pre-colonial Africa.
Her Autumn 16 collection ‘Queen Pokou’ builds on the African mythos of her Spring 16 collection ‘Zaouli’ that celebrated the Guro culture, closing it’s spotlight on the life of one person in particular, Queen Abla Poku the founder of Baoule ethnicity of West Africa, based in the center of Côte d’Ivoire. Poku helped create an egalitarian community similar to the Igbo communities of Southern Nigeria and is one of the great Queens of Africa, often touted as Africa’s feminists long before the term became popular. To see Maleombho pay homage to her in fashion is pretty interesting.
There are many of the now signature Maleombho accents in the new collection, her quirk of fringing hemlines, flared hems and strategic cut outs. But this collection sees Maleombho uses her lightest fabric worked in gauzy striped jumpsuits and heavily pleated dresses. Her structured dresses and deconstructed blazers are also strong highlights, everything tied together by the impeccable fit and strong silhouettes. There are even what we suspect is a small nod to Amaka Osakwe’s Maki Oh in the spiked ties used to detail the pieces.
Maleombho reiterates how great she is at selling a full package with her new line of accessories that accompany the collection; a thigh high sandal boot (and its ankle length version) we will see on all the most fashionable women in the coming months, and gold accented hat that transmutes the campaign model to something truly regal.
Surrounded by her thought provoking art, Maleombho suggest that like Queen Poku, she is more than we can fathom.
Model: Fanta Kone
Photo: Daniel Sery
Location: Gallery LouiSimone Guirandou