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Monday, February 10, 2014

Best Foot Forward: Fashion High Tea 2014

Every year at about this time, Zen Garden in Nairobi hosts it's annual Fashion High Tea. Yes, it's a pretty fancy affair. There's Moët on tap, a sushi bar on ice, a cheese corner, cater waiters, lots of little boutique stands, cupcakes, beer, a deejay playing somewhere, preening ladies, cute little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, strawberries, fresh-cut flowers, models, people-watching, and LOTS AND LOTS of fashion. No other public event in this town (that I've seen anyway) inspires people to really make a civilized effort.

I've been to this thing every year since its inception, and every year I'm even more keen. There's a certain anticipation. For one thing, you have to plan what to wear. It's not a "Oh I'll just see what I have in the closet" sort of occasion. There's a lot to coordinate: dress, shoes, bag, hat. And if you have a partner or a friend, you have to plan what they'll wear too! It all has to work. And that... is exactly the kind of thing I live for.

This year did not disappoint. Literally the first thing I saw when we got there was Franklin Saiyalel's cane! Yes, a cane. Metallic handle. Fashion twins Wambui Kibue and Wambui Thimba wore the same designer (Angelsmile) with entirely different results: one in trendy mixed prints and a flash of navel, the other in a classic to-the-knee red cocktail look with a matching fascinator. Both looked perfect. The handsome Heineken administration showed a united front in matching blue seersucker suits. Sauti Sol, who've been looking really grown and clean lately all wore jackets in that expertly "broken" style they've perfected. Fashion PR Strategist Diana Opoti and I (clearly of the same mind) chose a riot of floral print and colour: hers, a high-skirt creation by David Tlale; me - a custom suit by Ankara Vintage. Even the snake-tongued MC Fareed Khimani rode the masculine version of the floral wave with a black brocade blazer that fit him like a glove.

We sipped, nibbled, air-kissed, preened, gossiped, laughed, posed, enjoyed a runway show, won a raffle (a Samsung printer), and drank some more.

On a less shallow note, after all the canapées are eaten and the last of the Prosecco is drunk, a portion of the ticket proceeds go to a charitable cause. A little tipsy and with hurting feet, we all go home reluctantly, and wait to do it all over again next year. Special thanks to Shivani Radia Patel of Zen Garden for being an ever-graceful host, and the rest of the Fashion High Tea producers, designers, and sponsors, who really know how to throw down.

I live for summer florals. Here, a custom-made suit by Ankara Vintage. Marek in blue summer linen. Image: Mi-Fone

That plastic skirt on the left! Image: Nick Klaus.
Larry Jakanoi. Image: Nick Klaus
Wambui Thimba in Angelsmile
Wambui Kibue, Designer at Angelsmile
Blaze of Mi-Fone (centre) with Vandana Hart (right) and friend.

Franklin Saiyalel, cane, & Suzie Wokabi of SuzieBeauty.

Marek Fuchs of Africacentric, Floris Dekampenaer of Heineken.

Chimano (Sauti Sol), Edward Ngera, Max Richiedei. Image: Nick Klaus.

Models wear whatever they damn want.

Image: Nick Klaus

Sarah Hassan & Nick Mutuma of Mashariki Mix

Makeup artist Steve Koby (right) and friend.

Diana Opoti of Designing Africa

Shivani Radia Patel & Payal Radia of Zen Garden & Fashion High Tea

Designers that showcased at the Fashion High Tea runway show included Njema Helena, KOOROO, Masaba, Shenu Hooda, & Neha.

Images courtesy of Eye-Con Photography, Nick Klaus, and Mi-Fone. Thank-you!


Diana said...

awesome piece Annabel. You looked absolutely smashing in the floral suit. Nick Ondu (Ankara Vintage) is awesome.
The men were particularly well dressed this year round. Loved Fashion High Tea.

Anyiko said...

I want to cry for having missed this gig!! SOOOOOB!!