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“Ocean’s 8” Lagos Premier Is A Reminder That Fashion Is Both Art And Culture

For many people, it started on Instagram. Fabulous pictures flooded the Nigerian Instagram cyberspace. And what was the reason? Nigerian socialites had come out to play in Lagos, all summoned by the Ocean’s 8 film. The third instalment of the Ocean’s 11 movie franchise premiered in Lagos last weekend and the theme for the premier hosted by IMAX Cinema in Lekki was “Met Gala”.

The Met, as it’s fondly called, is an annual international Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It usually has different themes carefully selected every year.

Only a few months ago, the theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and different celebrities and designers got busy, producing different interpretations of the theme.

Now, the Met has come to our doorsteps in Lagos and we are faced with the same task of producing remarkable pieces for its celebration. And even better, we have been given room to pick any theme from any year as our inspiration. With flamboyant headpieces and a few slain birds (ask Osas Ighodaro-Ajibade), Nigerians did one of the things that we are great at. We owned the night and we did it our way.

Perhaps “The acculturation of the Met Gala” was the unsaid sub-theme for the event as Nigerian designers and celebrities took to their creative boards. From actress Osas Ighodro-Ajibade’s peacock-themed number, a collaborative work by designers Africcana and Visual Effect Multi-Media, to Shaffy Bello’s goddess-like ensemble by Enthyst Fashion Klinik, it was obvious that we meant business.

Osas’ black dress for the premier is museum worthy. The breathtaking fusion of peacock tail as a cape and a thigh-high slit, figure-hugging mermaid dress screamed magic all night. Rocking pearly details and a plunged neckline, Osas owned the night.

Also stunning was media personality Toke Makinwa in a navy blue thigh-high slit dress with a train by South African designer Orapeleng Module Style Avenue. The bestselling author looked like a character from Scott Fitz Gerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, set in the 1920 America. Of course, her hat by Urez Kulture made all the difference.

Actresses, Shaffy Bello and Kate Henshaw didn’t go too far down memory lane with their style inspiration, as they both obviously went for the Mets “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme for this year. With their iconic headpieces by Zubby Definition and heavenly dresses by Enthyst Fashion Klinik, they nailed the theme. Bello showed up in a heavy Renaissance-inspired number sewn into a thigh-high skirt and Henshaw rocked a more subtle but in no way simple outfit inspired by birds.

Media personality Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi hit the hammer on the nail a bit harder at the event. Her all-white outfit chosen for her by her designer best friend April of AprilbyKunbi was a stone that killed two birds, nailing both the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” Met theme and the “Girl Power” theme of the movie. Her dashing white pantsuit by Clan told the tale of an African “Bond” girl. A few people might just have mistaken her for a character from the movie.

The heavenly bodies theme with the fleets of headpieces many of which were made by Urez Kulture represents various interpretations of heavenly. The 2018 theme obviously stood out that night in Lagos and so did the infusion of some indigenous African fabrics in the dresses. In all, we were reminded that fashion is both art and culture.

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