Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Water,’ 2010
Burberry Prorsum, Spring 2012 Runway
Shoes @ Opening Ceremony
J.W. Anderson top @ Net-a-Porter.com
Like an elephant at the watering hole, …a mosquito on a host at a nighttime barbeque, …a wedding crasher at the open bar—I’ve been drinking up all I can of this season’s tribal theme. It’s going to be my colorful, easy, chic go-to look for summer.
In the meantime, with an intent to soak up all things tribal, I came across the works of Yinka Shonibare, who exhibited at the Frieze Art Fair in New York last weekend. The artist’s message and social commentary is clearly in direct opposition to the frivolity and superficiality of fashion trends. However, the ii’s couldn’t help being mesmerized by the irony and energy his pieces convey, while finding inspiration in their multiple layers of visual stimulation.
Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Food Faerie,’ 2009
Proenza Schouler bag @ Barneys New York
Boxing Kitten dress @ Urban Outfitters
I’ve always been attracted to the colorful graphic African tribal fabrics, and the ties and folds of the traditional garments worn by women on the streets of New York. The stiffer, waxed texture of the fabric, and mix of pattern/print, naturally lends itself to an effect that is both graphically vibrant and rich in depth.
Ironically enough, I learned that these were originally Indonesian designs brought to Africa by the Dutch via colonialism. While Yinka Shonibare channels that particular historical confusion to enhance his social statement, one can’t deny the added dimension it brings to a fashion story.
Boxing Kitten is an up-and-coming brand that utilizes these fabrics in a fresh way to create young, fun, fashion-forward silhouettes. Regardless of the beat a girl walks to, the drum circle she plays with, or the size of her straw pocketbook, the styles have a wide range of appeal.
Holst & Lee necklace
Issey Miyake belt @ Farfetch.com
The tribal prints coordinate nicely back to snakeskin, raffia, wood, animal print, and woven leather elements. The addition of a slick and polished item or two will keep the look less-literal, more modern, and city-safari friendly.
Miniskirt @ Boxingkitten.com
Marni clutch @ Barneys New York
Woven bangle @ Urban Outfitters
Yinka Shonibare’s ‘Boy on a Globe,’ 2010
Charlotte Olympia wedge @ Bergdorf Goodman
If you’re planning to go TRIBAL and like to be prepared, the items shown here are just a few suggested ‘supplies’ for your trip.
To find a drum circle near you and get your beat on, go to http://drumcircles.net.
Photos of Yinka Shonibare’s work @ http://www.yinkashonibarembe.com and http://www.stephenfriedman.com.