Duro Olowu is the essence of the multicultural dynamo that is London.
“I am a British designer with a Nigerian heritage and an important business in America,” said Olowu, as he showed his new collection, inspired by Saint-Louis in northwest Senegal.
Phew! That all sounds rather chaotic. But on the contrary, the clothes were about smoothing out the contrasts. First came the pin-up glamour of the 1940s — shapely long dresses with ruffles at the back from spine to ankle, worn with wedge sandals.
Then there were fluid dresses playing off polka dots. These circles were simple, or done with an African feel. Yet the designer also took the dusty pinks and pale turquoises from the ceramics of St Ives, Cornwall.
Olowu’s magical mix included sporty but fluid pants, ostrich-feather cloaks and brocade appliqué on silk. His secret is quality: the finest fabrics, dense colours, imaginative patterns — and good design.