Attending a soirée for the last night of the year is the perfect opportunity to put together an elevated elegance. It's the year's glitziest evening and certainly calls for an overload of glamor. With everything from sequinned frocks and tailored suit sets to form-fitting bodysuits and printed pieces on the table, how can one possibly go about choosing what to wear to commemorate the occasion while staying comfortable enough to make it all the way to midnight and beyond? Sharing the rundown on the best wardrobe philosophies to follow, we hit up some of Africa's regional fashion heads to break down their go-to style hacks. No matter what your plans are this year, read on for the ultimate style inspiration.
Photo: via @brianbabu.
A self-described free thinker and creative based in Nairobi, Kenya, Brian Babu's bold, opulent, and luxurious visual style has seen him work his aesthetic magic across mediums, including celebrity styling for clients Janet Mbugua and Amina Abdi, and television costume design for the Netflix show Sense8. Babu, who has been recognized by the Kenya Fashion Awards as 2016's Stylist of the Year and the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards as East Africa's Stylist of The Year 2016, describes his personal style as "edgy, comfortable, and African."
This year, Babu has plans to either host a dinner or attend one to celebrate the New Year, to which he'll opt to don a free-flowing silk kaftan or a modern take of the traditional Agbada (a flowing and wide-sleeved robe worn typically by Yoruba men in Nigeria) in vibrant colors. "My New Year's dressing philosophy is about comfort and elegance," he tells us. "I love crossing over looks and feeling divine." A lover and proponent of flowing styles, his outfit from last year, he says, was symbolic of this. "I wore this beautiful silk kimono by Afrostreet Kollektions with full black underneath. It looked amazing as I stood beneath the sky watching fireworks."
For more on Brian, click here.
stylist and art director
A multi-disciplinary creative from Ghana who takes inspiration from the world around her to create her art, Bernice Buo's distinctly modern and vibrantly colorful aesthetic has seen her create striking work for Mercedes Benz, Puma, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and more. Though she's not usually one for over-the-top New Year's Eve celebrations, the young fashion professional always puts comfort above everything else. "If I should go to a party, I'll stick to edgy loose-fitting clothes," Buo tells us. "But even though I'll want to keep it simple, I still want to be unique and make a statement."
To this end, she recommends choosing a single bold element as the focal point of her look. "Pants are my go-to in such situations. They facilitate movement and look dressy with minimal effort. The pants will be paired with a white bralette or a bustier top. I like to keep the top as white and plain as possible because I love to make a statement with my pants. Lengthy earrings, a mini-chain structured shoulder bag, kitten heels or ankle boots, and an updo help to lend an elegant edge. With the hair up, there's room for the earrings to accentuate the top."
For more on Bernice, click here.
Photo: via @bernicebuo.
Photo: via @__dwaynekenzie.
Based in Nairobi, Dwayne Kenzie's innovative, energetic, and forward-thinking work is a remarkable reflection of the vibrance of Kenya's growing creative community. A frequent collaborator of photographers including Maganga Mwagogo and Kibe Nduni, Kenzie's unique visual flair aligns seamlessly with his style. "My style is fierce, chic, and crazy," he tells us before describing a standout celebration look from his past. "I wore platform boots with flared pants and a fur hat with a striped coat which made the night more interesting."
With plans to go clubbing with his friends to usher in 2023, Kenzie intends to custom-make a 70's sequin look with wide-leg pants and shirt with platform boots, complete with a big bow-tie. He also names Rich Mnisi as the designer whose pieces are perfect for such an occasion. "I think on New Year's Eve parties people should go extra with their looks as we wait to celebrate the new year, and I'd put a look together with the mood I'll be having because my style keeps changing. So it all depends on the type of vibe I'll be feeling."
For more on Dwayne, click here.
Creative director from Accra, Ghana, Shadrack Stone considers his main focus as bridging the gap of quality and high standards between the western world and Africa. Over the years, he's worked with several high-profile clients, including Puma, Mercedes Benz, and Sony Music. Reaching a global audience, he can add international platforms as his followers with CNN Style, Vogue, GQ SA, Harper's Bazaar, and others having picked up his work. "I would say my approach to fashion is based on exploration and expressivity," he says. "I want my clients to see a side of themselves they didn't think existed."
Describing his style as clean, expressive, and innovative, Stone prefers low-key parties and intimate family events. "When it comes to end-of-year celebrations, I'd probably go for something like a pair of cool, tailored shorts from Orange Culture and pair it with a casual T-shirt," he states. "I don't have plans yet this year. I usually spend New Year's Eve in church, so maybe I'll do the same this year or stay home."
For more on Shadrack, click here.
Photo: via @shadraq_stone.
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