DO THE NAMES MALIK SIDIBE AND SEYDOU KEITA RING A BELL? WELL, IF THEY DO, THEN YOU’LL KNOW THAT THE TWO OF THEM ARE TWO OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICAN PHOTOGRAPHERS OF OUR TIME. FAMOUS FOR VIBRANT PHOTOS, SOME DEPICTING THEIR SUBJECTS POSING AGAINST PRINTED BACKGROUNDS; THEIR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK REALLY CAPTURED THE DYNAMIC AND STYLISH SIDE OF AFRICA, SHOWING A NARRATIVE THAT THE WORLD WAS NOT SEEING AT THE TIME. THEIR WORK HOLDS A SIGNIFICANT PLACE IN AFRICA’S ARCHIVES AND HAS INSPIRED MANY ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, TONY GUM, LAKIN OGUNBANWO, TREVOR STUURMAN TO NAME A FEW.
The print on print look has of course, has translated into fashion and infiltrated runways and retail stores just as much as its brought a breed of fresh African designers to the fore, South Africaâ€™s MaXhosa by Laduma and Chulaap. Admittedly, it takes a little bit of guts to pull off a head to toe printed outfit for the first time and you need not be Solange Knowles to do so seamlessly â€“ all you need is to balance out the shapes and colours of the prints with your hair and have at least one neutral item that will pull the look together.
Choose one main colour from the pattern and use that as a base to bring together the rest of the look. With this one, red and blue are the base colours and theyâ€™ve thus been incorporated into the statement lip and hair. In this case matching up one base colour with the colour of the hair makes the look more cohesive. A darker hair colour, perhaps black would also work well here as the print does so much to carry the outfit, it would still be a bright and bold look.
Smaller patterns with less colour detail tend to be easier to work with regardless of the palette. To break away from the print you can add a statement accessory, in this case an earring which echoes the brown and gold hues in the fabric. A neat top bun works well with this kind of look as it shows off the accessories and makes the look a little more formal. The round earring which is unlike the geometric print helps if you donâ€™t want your look to be too â€œmatchy matchyâ€. To add to the muted tones, apply light makeup and a strong brown or darker lip colour for edge.
Bold prints with large shapes have the benefit of being able to be incorporated into looks more than once. If the idea of mixing prints is a bit overwhelming then matching your accessories with the exact print of whatever youâ€™re wearing. Your hair plays a big role here because thatâ€™s what will pull the look together. The two braids with the grey/white wool mimic the paisley-like shape of garment. The wool also matches the subtle white lines in the printed garment, as is the case with the first look. Add on a bright lipstick and itâ€™s a go.