I spent part of my evening in the art cafe - a new coffee house in Victoria Island - writing about it. I was quite keen on going there because I thought it'd be a great place to write. I've been looking for a space that's quiet, with great vibes, that encourages the flow of words from brain to screen or paper. So, I was happy when an assignment led me there. I can't say that I'll ever do much writing there because I don't quite feel comfortable there. We just didn't click. My heart didn't beat. I didn't feel like myself there. I ordered a frappucino with baileys in it. As I sipped it, I could see Stranger Lagos - the micro cafe and concept store that I adore - in my mind's eye saying, "tell me you love me, tell me I'm better, tell me I'm the only one, even if you choke."
I had unwittingly applied some of the lyrics that inspired Maki-Oh's newest collection to my life. You might think it funny that I feel so strongly for Stranger Lagos, but I do not. I did not realise how destabilising the move back to Nigeria would be. I lost a fully formed life with routines, and constant gardeners, and gained an incomplete one with empty spaces, unfamiliar faces and more unstructured time than I could stand. When I found Stranger, I grabbed unto it. It stopped me from being as adrift as I was. One thing that Lagos has taught me is, when you find something that works you seize it. You don't wait for your idea of perfection to present itself, you make do with whatever's on ground. But you mustn't think that the frequency of my visits to Stranger are as a result of a decision to settle. You cannot say that you're settling when something is quite literally the best of its kind you've ever had.
Maki-Oh's fourth collection toys with the themes of madness and unmadness, and love and anti-love. These are states that are so fluid, and transient that it is often difficult for the bulk of us to distinguish where exactly between the two we lie. And even when we are sure, we're always aware that the other is just around the corner. What I love about Maki's clothes is that they're always so intelligent. You can see the story there. They're more than just things you put on your back. They mean something. It's a little bit mad, but I appreciate the story almost more than I do the clothes. Before I consider their wearability or how fashionable they are, I think about the story, and how genuine it is. The madness of the collection presents itself clearly to me in an off white dress with tassles that's vaguely reminiscent of a straight jacket, and in the awkward lengths of some of the dresses. That's the more obvious line of thought in the conversation she has presented.
|Can you see what I mean? It's longer than midi, and it's incredibly straight jacket-esque.|
|This one isn't straight jacket-esque but it's still a bit longer than midi.|
|This is the dress that I like most. I love the colour and the seams. This collection lets you know that Maki knows her girl.|
I turned up at Stranger for a social media week event they were hosting. On my way inside I bumped into Uju who asked me to help her unzip the phenomenal dress she was wearing. She told me in between gasps that I had stumbled upon the video shoot for Maki's 2014 fall collection. Strange things happen at stranger don't they?
|Arri Esiri and Uju.|
Click here to watch the video on style.com
I can't help but ask the same. Tell me I'm the only one even if you choke.