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.

Advertisements

For The Bride Who… Isn’t Afraid to Make Her Day a Royal Fantasy

For the Bride Who…
Isn’t Afraid to Make Her Day a Royal Fantasy

by Saroyah

Sound familiar? We’ve all seen it: the woman who has dreamed of her day since she could barely walk. She’s spent the time perfectly curating her Pinterest wedding board—maybe it’s not even on private. Personally, I’ve always envied these women, stalking their fairytale table decorations and flowery runways. She doesn’t shy away from being perfectly over the top, and it totally works.

 

ElieSaab cinerellas envy

 

Elie Saab revived the dress for this bride in his Spring/Summer 2014 couture collection. Crossing the border between floral romanticism and dream-like fantasy, it seems that almost nothing was off limits to the designer. Sheer gowns of all shapes and sizes and vibrant colors, ranging from pale pinks to dark purples and blues, and even—not for the faint of heart—black gowns, made quite the impression on the runway. The collection was fit for the cast of a beautiful fairytale.

 

eliesaabrunway

It is this royal vibe that carried over into his collection for Pronovias, Elie by Elie Saab. In a season dominated by plunging backs, large bows and off-the-shoulder sleeves, Elie Saab has chosen to take a definitively distinct approach—restoring this wedding fantasy to the bridal world with a modern twist. Think Kate Middleton meets glamorous 1920s movie star. The combinations of lace overlay and full, delicate sleeves temper plunging necklines, keeping the designs classic.

 

elieforpronv

 

elieforpronovias

A similar feeling is evident in Ersa Atelier’s 2015 collection. Ersa is the product of two Romanian sisters who began designing gowns ten years ago and have since achieved great success, winning countless awards across the globe. Their designs stem from the idea that a dream can become a physical reality. Using rare, handmade materials these dresses would work perfectly in a royal wedding or that of a Southern belle, since they are inspired by traditional balls. The beautifully full skirts, tulles, and light lace tops in variant neutrals are something truly breathtaking. These are the dresses for the girl who knows her wedding is the chance to be a princess, if only for a day.

 

2_ersa-atelier-charlotte-E432a-cut

5_ersa-atelier-himiko-E485a-cut

13_ersa-atelier-catherina-E662a-cut

4_ersa-atelier-yatie-E696a-cut2

Elie Saab available at Pronovias stores / http://www.pronovias.us
Ersa Atelier available at Dimitra’s Bridal, 1011 Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611 / 312-787-0920 / info@dimitrasbridal.com

All About Eve: Fashion

allaboutevefashionI grew up listening to Eve here in Europe and I am a huge fan of her work; however, as much as I have admired her talent, I have always found it difficult to appreciate her sense of style – uncertain if she was creating her own image or if a styling team was. Either way, I never felt that her public fashion image was quite right for her. There was always something missing or wrong with the final outcome, making it very difficult for me to find some red carpet looks I could appreciate. Don’t get me wrong, I think she is a beautiful woman with a beautiful figure, but her wardrobe just did not quite fit the woman and her talent. As she developed into womanhood, I must admit that I noticed a shift in her style – an evolution into a more feminine and fashionable Eve. Thank God for growth! Nowadays, her fashion faux pas are less obvious and not so damaging. Below are a few of my favorite looks on her and one epic fail I had to feature, so that we can avoid it in the future. Currently, Eve is embarking toward another phase of her life: becoming a bride! Realistically, this will be her biggest red carpet moment in her life, both personally and professionally. Given, I took the liberty of putting together a list of suggested bridal gowns for her big day… with diamonds of course! If anyone knows my sense of style (from the designs of my clothing collection, to my styling some of the most amazing people) then you know that I study people first, acknowledging their past sense of style while cultivating a new image. My bi-lateral approach helps them to appreciate their new look without feeling like a completely “new” person. So, congrats to our beauty, Eve, on her nuptials, and may her choice in wedding attire fit the occasion!

Eve in Bill Blass at the amfAR and GBCHealth to end Aids Evening.

Eve in Bill Blass at the amfAR and GBCHealth to end Aids Evening.

I can only give this look the thumbs up. Very demure, simple, soft, feminine and perfect color on her. The metallic belt “cuts” her waist perfectly and elongates her legs. The metallic color brings the color of the dress out and gives an edgy look. Floor length is a must for this type of design. Right choice of jewelry too.     BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 - Red Carpet I love the whole combination, great LBD with the hem detail and the thigh jewelry that makes the whole difference. It is just the little fashion touch this look needed. The shoes are divine and feminine. Keeping the top half “classic” and jazzing up the bottom half is the right balance when you do not want to overdo it. Simple, sexy, feminine and definitely rocking!     3 Where do I start? This is just an epic faux pas. The whole leather look just does not work. The chunky zips, ermmm, hell no! This is fashion diarrhea to my eyes. When you have such a top, you cannot add any jewelry to it. Crotch zips showing on pants are always a no go ladies… The top would have looked a million dollar better if just worn with the perfect cut denims. The shoes are by Mugler and even though they are an absolute delight, with this styling disaster, they look cheap and definitely not chic! I will not even discuss her braid overkilling the fashion. This look makes her look shorter which none of us wants to do! Eve deserved to fire her whole styling team on this one.     4 I absolutely adore this look on her. The knee-length floral dress with the ruching/draping on the bustline accentuates any woman’s assets. The dress has a little late 50s feel to it, the peep-toes modern Mary-Janes are exquisite…     5 My first suggestion for Eve’s wedding would be this ivory organza wave bridal ball gown, sheer alencon lace bodice with organza petal accent, platinum jeweled ribbon belt at natural waist, circular skirt, chapel train. This design is by Lazaro. I would team it up with De Beers diamonds necklace and earrings from their Swan Lake collection. The Swan Lake collection is inspired by the harmony and grace of the prima ballerina and her corps de ballet. It is said that a ballerina will only reach her prime if she dances the part of Odette and Odile, the shapes of the prima’s perfect moving form and the balance of the dancing formation of the corps of swans is core to the harmony of the necklace. Each rare and stunning diamond is positioned to bring out its character and life, its unique brilliance living up to its shape and size.     6 This charming 18K white, pink and yellow gold necklace captivates the eye with a selection of 100 white and colored beads and pear-shaped marquise, oval, round brilliant, baguette and rose-cut diamonds, each in a half-bezel setting.     7 These delectable 18K white, pink gold earrings captivate the eye with a selection of 10 white and colored pear-shaped, baguette, oval and round brilliant diamonds in a half-bezel setting.     8 Her veil should be this one from Vera Wang. Two-tier chapel length veil with raw cut edge and lace applique detail. Beautiful hand-detailed lace appliques adorn the bottom edge of the long tier. Two layers of raw edge tulle create an ethereal, romantic bridal look.     9 I am a fan of Elie Saab and this magnificent gown is just a dream come true! The fishtail which brings old Hollywood glamour to the aisle, the statement backs, the illusion necklines, and sheer, embellished sleeves are superb. The veil is simple which is exactly how it should be as the dress tells a story by itself, the rest should stay minimal.     10 To go with this Royal Gown, you need Royal Diamonds and to stay simple it should be this Graaf Tiara. Worn by royalty for thousands of years, the tiara is a symbol of power, splendor and significance. Graff is known for its stunning tiara designs, and this latest incarnation of this iconic treasure is shown here with magnificent radiant, round and pear shape yellow and white diamonds – all hand set by Graff’s master craftsmen. 284 Diamonds, 122.63cts make this crown a delight to the eyes.     11 12 13 When it comes down to weddings, Vera Wang is The Queen of The Aisle! And this dress is from her archives/classic designs. As you know with wedding gowns, seasons do not matter as most designs are timeless and this is the perfect example. I love the latte color, the constructed bustier is super feminine; the draping, the layers of the silk organza and the oversize flowers are to die for. The bow belt accentuates the waistline. This is such a Princess dress. And we all know that any woman was a Princess growing up! I would choose Garrard’s jewelry to go with this gown… And from their Star and Garter Collection…     14 Star and Garter bangle featuring a focal rose cut diamond within star emblem, created in 18ct rose gold.
The Star and Garter collection is inspired by the rich and expansive heritage of this British jewelry house. Badges and decorations that the brand has made over the centuries form colourful ensembles of shapes and motifs.     15 Star and Garter pink tourmaline earrings surrounded by pink sapphires and white diamonds with a suspended rose quartz drop, created in 18ct rose gold.     16 Star and Garter rose quartz pendant surrounded with pave white diamonds and delicate trace chain detailing, created in 18ct rose gold.     17 My last choice of gown is from Maria Senvo, a newcomer in the bridal industry but I predict a beautiful and bright future for this brand. This design is from their debut collection. 
I would team this gown with some Stephen Webster diamonds from his Couture Voyage collection. Those pieces are inspired by iconic destination from around the world. Made in 18ct white gold, these couture pieces illustrate the architecture, culture and style of Africa, New York and Russia.     18 19     Francesca Marotta, is an Italian born designer, who is an incredible stylist, living in London.  But the world is her playground in search of fashion. www.francescamarotta.com