Wisdom Anaba, the creative engine behind the Weiz Dhurm Franklyn fashion house, describes his brand of feminine multiculturalism, with a hint of risk
by Hunt Ethridge
For a continent that launched the human species, and has 20% of the earth’s land mass and 16% of its population, Africa has been vastly underrepresented in the fashion realm for well over a century. Until just the last few years, consciousness of its style has been relegated to the oversampling of dashikis and head wraps and a myopic obsession with hue vibrancy. Very happily, that is changing, thanks to the work of designers like Modupe Omonze, Hana Himmi, and Laz Yani, along with the increasingly fascinating work of the Nigerian-born Wisdom Anaba, the creative engine behind the Weiz Dhurm Franklyn line. His new work, the GAMBU Collection, combines elegance, luxury and sensuality in ways that are music to our jaded eyes, and he seems set to become a global force.
“For the collection, Weiz Dhurm Franklyn‘s woman is a gambling queen,” the fashion house explained in a press release. “She reigns supreme in glamorous exuberance, evokes pure elegance of poker elements in its rarest forms, with a contemporary uproar of freedom and a stench of rebelliousness.”
Every design contains an amazing amount of work, including floral appliques, beading, stitchings, jewels, pearls and other accoutrements. There are also layers upon layers of decadent fabrics.
While all of the designs are entirely feminine, there is a sense of brashness in the work. None of the outfits would be out of place at a chic evening event, but every one of them stands out in a crowd. A majority of the pieces rely on the classic black-and-white theme. However, there are notable standouts of color; three of the designs use a pale pink for contrast, and one jumpsuit uses a beautiful scarlet to pop the designs, while its sheer fabric accentuates the curves of the wearer.
“The collection is a celebration of grace, feminism, and womanhood, visible in whites, blacks, and reds, with pastel hues of pink, mint green, and blue,” the company statement added. “A whirlwind of brilliance is encompassed by a wave of graphic energy with poker card characters—in collaboration with Data Oruwari as the graphic artist.”
Another dress in the collection brings in a mint color, decorated with playing cards—its cut showing naked leg with a “slit up to there” on the side. The combination of sensual cut and masculine poker cards gives a thrilling juxtaposition.
Already a favorite with Africa’s leading style gurus, notably Bonang Matheba, Beverly Naya and TV personality Stephanie Coker, Anaba’s innovative style will continue adding to the brand’s global appeal.
His former collection, “Red Light District” again focused on the female form with many cut outs, sheer windows and daring décolletage. He is offering, as Weiz Dhurm Franklyn explained, a sense of being “young, wild and free” as well as “elegance embodied.”
Weiz Dhurm Franklyn