Nick Goes to Kenya!Model Katrina shows off a multi-colored paisley and geometric printed mini tunic with side pockets and shrunken "tuxedo" jacket, Suno Spring/Summer '09...via the Suno Collection. Read on... Last Saturday, I attended the launch and trunk show of Suno's "Out of Africa" Spring/Summer 2009 line. The launch was held at the Opening Ceremony boutique on La Cienega Blvd. Opening Ceremony--which also has it's original branch in the Soho area of New York-- is known as the "high fashion version of a cultural exchange program". Every year, owners Carol Lim and Humberto Leon like to showcase fashions from different countries and it seems that with Suno's Spring/Summer 2009 Collection they are feeling some love for East Africa. The store is currently stocked with lots of chic US, Asian and European brands such as Alexander Wang, Lad Musician, Band of Outsiders, Comme de Garcons and Rodarte. But they don't carry my line, NIKOLAKI (note to self, must meet with their buyers in the near future). Speaking of Rodarte, I even saw the Rodarte designers, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, actually sitting outside the boutique's "patio" relaxing on this Saturday afternoon, as I walked into the store. Yep, this must be "LA Fashion" central.
Designers Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis pose with their trunk show models, Katrina and Caitlin, and Nick VerreosAs I walked in, I was immediately greeted by Suno designers Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty, who were on hand to introduce Los Angeles fashionistas to their wildly colorful line. This summer, the collection was based on the kanga, a brightly colored cotton wrap worn by Kenyan women on a daily basis. Osterweis has been collecting these kangas for over a decade after his mother built a house on an island off the coast of the East African country. Post Colonial Afrique: Models from the Suno Spring/Summer '09 Look Book
In a perfect collaboration, both Erin and Max, returned to Kenya (they are based in NY and they confided that it's a VERY LONG flight!) and began designing what was to be this 1000 one-of-a-kind piece collection. Priced in the $100 to $600 range, the pieces range from shrunken tailored "smoking jackets" with shawl collars and silk charmeuse piping, wildly printed tunic minis with in-seam side pockets (love those pockets!) to dresses, jumpers and blouses galore. Kanga Sandwich: Nick Verreos poses with Suno-clothed models Katrina and Caitlin, Opening Ceremony Boutique, Los AngelesIn regard to the prints, Max was happy to educate me and tell me how many of the prints are printed with Swahili aphorisms, originally worn to send messages to fellow villagers. As an example, he pointed out one that, loosely translated, said: “Watch your roosters, there’s a new hen in town.” Can I have that in a shirt for me? Maybe next year, he'll incorporate some Kanga-inspired menswear, who knows? You can find the Suno Spring/Summer 2009 Collection at Opening Ceremony, 451 North La Cienega Blvd. 310-652-1120