The man behind the magical dresses of Kosibah, Yemi Osunkoya, celebrated another milestone on 1 September as he celebrated 20 years of Kosibah with friends and fans and unveiled his brand new bridal collection ‘Bienvenue 20′ at the glamorous Institute of Directors on Pall Mall.
Following a champagne reception where the guests had the chance to network, the fashion show kicked off with a video reel of Kosibah’s last 20 years and a video message from Lord and Lady Boateng (Lady Boateng has been a loyal Kosibah fan for years).
Yemi took to the stage shortly after to welcome his guests and give a lovely tribute to his mum amongst the audience whose name Cosiba (originally from the Republic of Benin and is the day name of a female child born on a Sunday) inspired Yemi in naming his label as a way of thanking her for all her support. In his speech Yemi acknowledged this once again, reminding us he was lucky to have such supportive parents who encouraged him at a time when fashion design was not a career option for many of his peers.
The first part of the fashion show was a retrospective of Kosibah’s 20 years as many of the Kosibah that at one point or another took our breath away – on catwalks or on the pages of glossies – graced the catwalk once again, reminding us exactly why Yemi is the King of Corsetry.
Following the showcase of Kosibah classics, there was a little interval allowing the guests to enjoy the surprise performances of the night by the two lovely little ladies and Clarissa. As ‘Bienvenue 20′ is inspired by ballet, and the gowns take their names from famous ballerina and characters of ballets, this was a nice touch.
Soprano singer Lisa Carlisle’s dulcet tones were the perfect intro to the second part of the fashion show which saw the unveiling of (pun intended indeed!) the brand new bridal collection by Kosibah ‘Bienvenue 20′. The perfectly crafted corsets creating feminine silhouettes, hand-stitched Swarovski and dainty lace details truly dazzled as Yemi’s brides styled by yet another fashion icon Adebayo Jones took to the catwalk.
Following the magical procession of beautiful brides culminated in standing ovation for the master behind the magical dresses, the raffle draw (All proceeds from the sales going to Alzheimer’s Society) took place where one lucky lady got her hands on the grand prize: a Kosibah dress. The guests were then treated to mini ice cream cones and cup cakes while the models took part in a impromptu photo shoot.
At the end of the evening, we grabbed Yemi for a quick chat on his new collection ‘Bienvenue 20′.
“It was very important to prove to myself that I can do something fresh, something new,” said Yemi, speaking of the celebration and his new collection, “I think I put a great team together and it was beautiful.”
Yemi also talked of the Bienvenue 20 collection:
“It was inspired by ballet. There is a lot of tulle, a lot of organza, a lot of lace; it is very soft, very fresh. It still very much retains the structure of Kosibah but I have made it inside so the corsetry is all inside and outside we’ve got delicate buttons – it’s a illusion really. It also has these little tops that can come off so you can look demure for your service and afterwards you can look like a vamp. They have all got names like Odette, Odile – all ballet-inspired names.”
Speaking of the last 20 years in fashion, Yemi said the highlight was “the first time someone who didn’t know me from Adam saw my dress in a magazine in America, picked up the phone and flew me out to Los Angeles to dress her for her wedding.”
Images: SubySinem and Juliana Kasumu
Full credits for the event:
Venue styling/Tablescape: Cedar Events
Couture Stationery and Invites: Lovicci
Florist: Blue Sky Flowers
Heirloom Bouquets: Tinygems
Chiavari Chairs: I am Wedding Hire
Soprano Singer: Lisa Carlisle
Mini Ice Cream Cones: Ice Angels
Cake (above): Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium
Stylist and Choreographer: Adebayo Jones
Hair Stylist: Kasia Fortuna
Makeup artist: Kemi Kings Beauty
Compere: Diana Dalia
Bridal Tiaras/Headpieces: Claire Ogden Designs
Saxophonist: A I Romantic Sax
Hats/Fascinators: Lyze Bamigbola-Silas
Videographer/Showreel: Laja than Life Productions