Selly Raby Kane’s AW16 collection deserves all the applause

Few designers are able to continue draw references from their previous collections and convert these obvious references into relevant new material. Senegal’s Selly Raby Kane is one of those designers. Internationally feted for her collections that marry modern design techniques with Senegal’s rich culture, Selly Raby Kane frames these discordant elements in her very contemporary clothes.

As a multinational millenial, Raby Kane constantly struggles with what it means to be a global citizen in her work. She continues this discussion this season, leaning more heavily towards a western perspective. The clothes are layered heavier this season too. There are bright pink fur vests, pleather jackets with quilted squares and extensive layering. But there are also the signature Raby Kane quirks that reminds the wearer that the designer is unashamed to announce her heritage. Applique African inspired Print Wax motifs dot the entire collection; bright yellow print crayfish appliqued onto a skirt, PVC detailing providing an unexpected distraction on an otherwise demure jacket.

To give the illusion of movement, she layers everything in miles of fringe; sleeves, bodices, skirts. But it is the jackets that are the true centre piece of this collection. Each one is unique, even the Nwentoma striped jacket and the felt trench with oversized lapels and an embroidered hem. Each is exquisite, the kind that stays in a wardrobe for decades, transcending seasonal trends.

Raby Kane’s only misstep is a sheer dress with with an oversized fur lattice layered over it. It is so vulgar and risque that it throws off the entire collection. Apart from this, the designer outdoes herself, and proves that being able to mine new ideas from a personal archive is a valuable resource.

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