Lets Talk Fashion with British Bridal Designer – Kosibah’s Yemi Osunkoya

Even though it was almost 8 years ago, I remember vividly the excitement I felt when I decided to look for my dream wedding dress. The plan was to buy something off the rack, an elegant statement piece, one that people would ooh and aah and one that would take my groom’s breath away upon first sight. However, my dress was designed and made just for me, my first haute couture experience.

Shall we fast-forward 8 years as I walk into Kosibah to meet with the owner Yemi Osunkoya. Yemi is an impressive man, tall and charming yet eloquent in his approach. As he guides me through his journey, his labor of love shines through when he describes to me his journey of how he came to be one of the foremost British black haute couture bridal designers, still standing for 23 years. I ask if there is any significance with the name Kosibah. It turns out to be a derivation of his mother’s name. She was born on a Sunday and named Cosiba; he changed the spelling to make it a little more user friendly yet different and Kosibah was born.

'Odile''Odette'

Image courtesy of Damien Lovegrove                            Image courtesy of Alakija Studios

I wanted to know more about this important designer, so I delved into his background and how he came to be a designer. He explains that the compromise he made with his parents when he told them he wanted to be a designer it would be for that reason he would go to university. “If I could have gone to university to study fashion design in Nigeria, I would have done so, but there wasn’t any university offering fashion design courses at that time. So I decided to study textile design because I thought fashion and textiles go hand in hand and it could always come in useful afterwards. So when I came to England, I didn’t want to go through another 4 years of fashion school; I just wanted to learn how to sew, how to draft a pattern, how to cut fabric and other practical skills relevant to creating clothes because I could already design and was pretty good at sketching out my design ideas.” In London he attended a private fashion school called the Paris Academy School of Fashion. It’s closed now, but there he was taught old-school couture: “where you take 26 very precise body measurements from your client, you then develop a body block, from the body block you make a pattern draft and then you do a fitting on your client with a mockup/prototype of the garment you are making in toile; there’s usually some slight fitting issues that are flagged up at this stage because everyone’s body is different so I don’t deal in dress sizes, I deal in body measurements for each individual.”

'Ekatarina'

Image courtesy of Kosibah

After starting his business in casual wear, he very quickly realized his methods of production were not viable and would be both too expensive and labor intensive. His business organically evolved into bridal and special occasion wear because of the way he wanted to make his dresses. “I can create whatever my client wants. The unifying factor in all my dresses is the figure enhancing aspect of them, so regardless of whether I’m using kente, or I’m using ankara or I’m using lace, or I’m using duchess satin, it’s the same couture process I use but it’s all client led.”

Kosibah Real Bride Hadiza
Image courtesy of  Kosibah

Ladies, finally a designer that cares about women with curves! Yemi goes on to explain, “they obviously come to me because they’ve seen something I’ve done. I sit down with them, I look at them physically to see what would fit because that’s my basic ethos. I ask myself what can I do for this person in front of me to flatter them and make them look their best? Sometimes we minimize certain body areas and sometimes we enhance other body parts.” As a woman with curves, I begin to smile and Yemi smiles back in acknowledgment that I like his style!

Kente-Oke BridesmaidMother of the Bride Lady Boateng and Yemi
Images courtesy of Kosibah

Dressing his bride is a service he offers because after working for months on a dress, he wants to see the dress in the right setting and wants to ensure it looks exactly the way he designed the piece. A client who he met through Instagram flew him to Abuja to the wedding to dress her. Ladies, you can bring the designer to you! Yemi is not only a 21st century designer but he is engaged with social media and recognizes how powerful a marketing tool it is for his product. He understands the power of Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, “learning the etiquette of the social platforms he uses” he now has clients he would not have met under normal circumstances.

Kosibah Real Bride TemiKosibah Real Bride Chinyelu I

Images courtesy of Kosibah

I asked Yemi whom would he consider as his ideal client. He explains, “she is a full-figured woman because anybody that is a size 14 or under, people might just assume she’s got great body.” A full-figured woman that wears one of his dresses should expect a significant amount of body sculpting in order to make more of an impact. If you’re not sample sized, it might be more difficult to just get something off the peg which is where getting something bespoke might be your priority. Because of “the quality of the fabric, embellishments that I use in my dresses and the line and the silhouette of the finished gown, I want it to always scream class and grace.” I ask him if he could dress any bride, or create a bespoke dress, who or what would that be? Yemi immediately responds, “if Oprah ever decides that she wants to marry Stedman, she should come and knock on my door, and I will create the most amazing dress for her because she has the perfect figure I’d like to get my hands … ’cause she has an hourglass figure.” I smile and tell him we’ll have to get that message across the pond to Oprah.

Check out Yemi at the following:

http://www.kosibah.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/YemiKosibah
http://www.twitter.com/yemikosibah
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/yemiosunkoya
http://www.yemikosibah.com

 

Michelle Lowe is the travel editor for World Bride Magazine and is based in London, UK.

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Bridal Accessories: The Ultimate Guide

Any bride-to-be knows that when choosing the perfect overall look for her wedding day, there is a constant battle going on in her mind between the need to fit in and at the same time, stand out.

Whereas wedding day traditions pull her in the direction of fitting in by looking almost exactly like every other bride that walked down the aisle before her the need to be remembered and appear more beautiful than other brides pulls her in the opposite direction of wanting to stand out.

So the question remains, how to stand out and be remembered while still dressing like a traditional bride? And the answer is…accessorize! On top of that traditional white dress wear the kind of jewelry and veil that speak to your true individual sense of style. Under it, wear shoes that complement the overall look and enhance it. Lastly, carry a bouquet made of your favorite flowers and accentuate it with accents such as crystals, pearls, or even quirky pins. Use your accessories to make your wedding day look your own!

Here are some options to help you accessorize your wedding day look perfectly and stand out in the best way possible from that other girl getting hitched in all white.

VEILS: RUNWAY VS. READY TO WEAR

Veils come in many different price ranges. A bride has the option of choosing to don a designer veil (from the likes of Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, etc.) for a higher price; or a ready to wear veil at a lower price, without having to compromise on the quality and beauty of the product.

Veils also come in many different lengths which then correspond to a certain overall look. For the sake of simplifying the process, I will break them down into three main categories and showcase both designer and non-designer options for every bride and every budget.

1) Short Length (Birdcage Veils, Blusher Veils and Headpieces). These veils tend to convey a lot of personality, are not traditionally worn and are flirty in appearance. An emerging trend seen amongst designers for this category of veils is headbands. Beautiful headbands worn on their own adorned with flowers or feathers as a headpiece or worn with blusher veils attached to them.

RUNWAY(Bridal Fashion Week 2015)

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Jenny Packham

 

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Reem Acra

READY TO WEAR

ETUDELOVE by Sara and Eugenia showcases a collection of extremely charming and feminine handmade blusher veils and headpieces that very much resemble those showcased at both Reem Acra and Jenny Packham at Bridal Fashion Week 2015. However, they come at a fraction of the price and are perfect for those brides that want to stay well within their budgets.

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ETUDELOVE Blushing Lullaby veil $60.00
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ETUDELOVE Pizzicato veil $115.00

ETUDELOVE veils available at ETUDELOVE.com

2) Medium Length (Fingertip and Waltz Veils). These are the most traditionally accepted form of veils and they give off an air of innocence. Most of the fingertip and waltz length veils seen on the runway were versions of mantilla lace veils, with scalloped lace edging which added a romantic touch.

RUNWAY (Bridal Fashion Week 2015)

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Naeem Khan

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Oscar de La Renta

READY TO WEAR

Erica Elizabeth Designs offers a great selection of traditionally beautiful medium length veils with the same lace edging as Oscar de la Renta and Naeem Khan. These veils would look best when paired with a wedding day look that wouldn’t be too embellished, such as a lightly beaded gown with very delicate, feminine jewelry.

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Erica Elizabeth Designs Chantilly Lace edge Mantilla Veil $355.00
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Erica Elizabeth Designs Daphne Silk Tulle Chantilly Lace Drop Veil $720.00

Erica Elizabeth Designs veils available at EricaElizabethDesigns.com

3) Long Length (Chapel and Cathedral Veils). The longest veils are meant for the most regal of looks. There were many designer veils on the runway this season with a cascading front.

RUNWAY (Bridal Fashion Week 2015)

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Carolina Herrera
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Naeem Khan

READY TO WEAR

Great examples of Chapel and Cathedral length veils with cascading fronts can also be found at Sara Gabriel; whose luxe floor sweeping veils lend a dramatic air to complement beautiful gowns paired with statement jewelry.

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Sara Gabriel Rachael Veil
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Sara Gabriel Chloe Veil

Sara Gabriel Veils available at 155 Wooster St Unit 3W New York, NY 10012 212.206.1915

 

JEWELRY:

Wedding day jewelry should be very carefully selected in accordance with the color and accents on the dress, veil and shoes. A bride can either opt to wear a necklace, earrings, bracelet or headwear. However, a general rule is to try not to wear all of these items at the same time. If a bride wears too much jewelry, it distracts the onlooker from the overall view and if she wears too little then she seems underdressed. Thus, if the veil and dress are heavily adorned, wear less jewelry; if the veil and dress are not as embellished, pile on more jewelry.

For the stylish bride with a budget, there is always the option of borrowing jewelry for the day of your wedding. Happily Ever Borrowed houses a great collection of elegant jewelry that can be borrowed at prices starting as low as $35.00. On top of the price of the item, the customer just pays a shipping fee of $12.99 and then returns the item back after using it for either four or eight days.hr60hr63

Available at HappilyEverBorrowed.com

If borrowing jewelry isn’t your preference, then there are many fine jewelry retailers that can satisfy a bride’s craving for all things shiny. Mija is home to sterling silver and 18k gold plated jewelry, encrusted with precious and semiprecious stones that are affordable and luxurious.

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Available at MijaJewelry.com

Tejani Jewelry incorporates modern flair and traditional Indian accents from designer Urvi’s cultural background into couture accessories. These pieces are one of a kind and perfect for the traditional bride who prefers jewelry with a vintage, feminine feel.hr80hr44

Available at Tejani.com

Powder Blue Bijoux offers a wide range of couture bridal accessories in every category, including headwear with prices ranging from $29.00 to $225.00. Thus, there is a piece on their website to please every bride.
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Available at PowderBlueBijoux.com

SHOES:

This is the area where comfort is key and the most experimentation with color, embellishments, textures and shapes is allowed. Even though shoes are hidden under a wedding dress most of the time, do not underestimate their power. The saying goes that the right shoes can make the outfit, whereas the wrong shoes can completely ruin it. This definitely holds true for your wedding day as well, so choose wisely.

Harriet Wilde is a British brand that offers worldwide shipping and is headed by designer Ruth Shaw. It is home to vintage inspired stylish wedding footwear that would glam up any wedding day ensemble.
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Available at HarrietWilde.com

Ruche carries a wide variety of shoes from flats and oxfords to wedges and heels in a variety of colors. The prices are more on the lower end and with a wide selection. A bride is sure to find something at Ruche that would make her feet very happy!
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Available at ShopRuche.com

BHLDN is a collection of bridal necessities inspired by world travel and the idea of regal and proper dressing at formal occasions. These two ideas are combined and evident in their beautiful collection of shoes that would make any bride blush.

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Available at BHLDN.com

FLOWERS:

A bridal bouquet can be as personalized as possible. When selecting one, the bride should keep in mind her favorite flowers, the season during which her wedding falls, and the color schemes of the wedding and her ensemble for the day. Or she can skip the flowers entirely and go straight for a crystal or bejeweled bouquet! Either way, the final result should be a bouquet that will help her perfectly round out her wedding day look.

Here are some of the most lovely flower shops and boutiques that will make any of a bride’s floral fantasies a reality.

Bridal Bouquets by Ky is an Etsy shop that will provide a bride with the most magical bouquets made of things such as pearl beads and mirrored beads. These will look beautiful with any dress and be a keepsake for the sole reason that they are not made of perishable materials!
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Available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BridalBouquetsbyKy

Red Rose and Lavender makes beautiful rustic bouquets out of wildflowers and even succulents that would accompany a bohemian wedding day look perfectly.
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Available by appointment at 653 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211. (718) 486-3569

Posy NYC puts together the most perfect little beautiful bouquets that lend a romantic and fabulous air to a traditional wedding look.

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Available by appointment at 145 E 72nd St # 2F, New York, NY 10021. (212) 744-7788

WEDDING HAIR

Doing your hair for your wedding can be complicated. You never want your hairstyle to upstage your jewelry, dress or makeup. All of these features should compliment each other. From long luscious locks to a naturalista your do is like the cherry on the top of the sundae. So you must get it right. You can wear hair accessories, a veal or just a plain up do. What ever you do own it!

A head band or a simple flower is great way to express yourself, especially if your dress is simple.

Just because you are wearing a veil does not mean you cant accessorize. Just keep it simple.

The locks just gave this head piece a new look.

For my twist out ladies!

For my ladies with long natural curls it is really easy to just throw some shiny accessories or flowers in there.

You can never go wrong with a classic up do.

Braids are in this season. Be a fashionista for your wedding day!

Some of WBM’s favorite accessory companies:

http://www.pronovias.us/bridal-accessories

http://www.oscardelarenta.com/bridal/collections/