Duro Olowu Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

After weeks of endless gray drizzle in London (but what’s new about that), it was a tonic to step into Duro Olowu’s colorful world on a particularly gloomy Tuesday afternoon. Seated inside a friend’s flat within a historic Chelsea apartment block, and with the blazing colors of an abstract Marina Adams painting as a backdrop, Olowu was ready to unveil his fall collection in his own, inimitable style. Namely, with a pair of models parading his latest set of maximalist sartorial confections through the living room, as Olowu himself provided a running commentary.

Except, this time around, Olowu’s starting point wasn’t a film or a book (as it typically is) but rather, a mood. While there were still plenty of flashes of his signature eye-popping prints, the print that recurred most was one of multi-colored stripes, which Olowu deliberately desaturated through a process he compared to color-grading a movie; more specifically, he referenced the idea of taking the Technicolor of Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes and dialing it back to something more muted. “I didn’t want it to feel too loud,” Olowu said. “It’s about ease and self-assurance.”

This care and precision—and ease—was visible in the meticulous construction of every piece: ’50s-inspired leopard-print car coats with plenty of satisfying swish; a striped shawl-collar shirt and pleated skirt set, fitted to ensure every stripe lined up perfectly, even across the cinched waist; coats cut from a feather-light, textured silk rayon to double up as a dress in the summer; peasant-sleeve gowns cut from a riot of artfully clashing patterns, seamed together from vintage Italian fabrics and prints of Olowu’s own design. Perhaps the most surprising new entry to Olowu’s canon? Hoodies—seamed together from eye-popping combinations of floral crushed velvets and shimmering iridescent brocades.

But as always, the devil was in the details; from the elegant drape of a skirt, to the gentle pointing-up of the shoulders on a form-fitting dress that balanced out the nipped-in waist. “It’s about using volume—not to cover things up, but to accentuate,” Olowu noted. His eye for color and print will always dazzle, but it’s still those thoughtful subtleties that shine brightest.

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