AHLUWALIA: MENSWEAR SS23
Priya Ahluwalia goes from strength to strength. Her namesake label’s sophomore catwalk show – held in the shadows of London’s Barbican on Sunday afternoon, in a sun-drenched garden space – showcased the agility, refinement and ambition of a designer beyond her years.
This collection saw Ahluwalia weave together the diversity of Africa’s vibrant cultures through immense research and the desire to celebrate “A land of broad and diverse thinking, doing, and living,” that serves as an antithesis to white-washed, mass-media narratives, as noted in a press release.
Ahluwalia’s eye for textiles, exuberant colour and the most beautiful prints is guided by her Indian-Nigerian heritage, and the communities that have surrounded her growing up in London. For her Africa is Limitless collection, the designer cherry-picked a myriad of visual references from across the continent. Like the sartorial elegance of Congo’s Sapeurs, translated into the brand’s signature sportswear-tailoring mash-ups, which dazzle in deliciously sweet hues inspired by everything from Ivory Coast album covers, to Algeria’s Notre Dame d’Afrique basilica.
The designer’s signature laser-etched, repurposed denim met twisted knitted polos, beaded head-wraps and going-out dresses informed by Somali saris popular in Kenya. Elsewhere, hybrid plaid coats and faux-fur trimmed, double-breasted jackets proved some of the brand’s strongest outerwear yet – walking amongst a rich tapestry of treatments carving Ahluwalia as one of London’s most beloved labels. That’s because Ahluwalia’s design ethos seeps far beyond creating simply great clothing; her collections spark cultural conversation, led by a true tastemaker.
Photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans.