Hanifa makes her podium debut in Washington DC

On Tuesday, November 16, designer of luxury brand Hanifa, Anifa Mvuemba, turned Washington DC’s National Portrait Gallery into a whimsical reality, encouraging everyone in attendance to live out their wildest dreams, even those in the making. years.

In May 2020, Mvuemba sent shockwaves through the fashion industry with a virtual 3D presentation of its Pink Label Congo line. The show featured ethereal silhouettes wearing the second collection, marrying the worlds of fashion and tech at a time when brands were still looking to make their designs virtual. In DC, however, attendees were able to experience the spirit of designer IRL, starting with Mvuemba who chose to host the show in her hometown rather than New York, which is the way forward for them. flourishing fashion designers.

However, for Mvuemba, home is the place where she feels the most comfort and love. “There is talent here. I did it from DC, and I’m still doing it in DC, ”she told NYLON. Before the show, the designer relied on her community for model casting and content creation, calling on all models, hairstylists, makeup artists, bloggers, photographers and videographers to seize the chance to be a part of the evening. “It was so important to give opportunities to local artists. Eighty percent of the models are DC-based and I wanted to make sure that we were supporting them and showing the city that we have it too, ”she adds.

Photos by Getty Images / Shannon Finney

This support was made ten times greater when family, friends, publishers and many more have flocked wearing Hanifa pieces over the years since its launch in 2012 – a testament to the evolution of the brand and its commitment to creating something to make every woman feel better. Upon entering the historical museum, attendees were greeted by towering white walls accented with Hanifa’s logo script in soft pink and complementing the pink lights, proving to be the perfect photoshoot as people lined up for take their photos before the show starts. The plush pink-carpeted podium was staged in an airy room lit in pink, surrounded by greenery, light chairs adorned with the brand name, and wood-paneled floors that created an enchanting oasis. In the background, an orchestra played interpretations of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” and Drake’s “Laugh Now Cry Later”. As this show marked Hanifa’s first in-person fashion show, Mvuemba made sure to leave no one behind as the planned event was also streamed live on YouTube for all fans of the brand to tune in.

At the start of the show, a documentary-style video was released featuring the designer on her journey of building Hanifa. Mvuemba sought to make an impact beyond clothing, exploring the importance of home, the trial and error of running a business, and reminders that his journey is fate. At the end of the video, the first model showed off the first look of Hanifa’s fall 2021 collection, dubbed ‘Dream’, wearing an eye-catching sapphire blue patent-leather trench coat with white knee-high boots, called ‘Zoe », Which marks Mvuemba’s first foray into footwear. In addition, the minimalist yet user-friendly ‘Zeta’ strappy sandal comes in three different colourways and paired with mini dresses with balloon sleeves, long floor-length gowns and a relaxed, casual outfit. jeans look.

Paying homage to the brand’s 10th anniversary, Mvuemba has fused designs from the past, present and future. “Each piece reminds me of an era. Maybe last year or something I designed five or ten years ago, ”she says of the evolution of the brand. The collection of 35 looks included iconic pieces and also introduced new styles and silhouettes, like structured denim, fringes, dramatic sleeves and a host of bold colors. Mvuemba says she’s tried denim in the past, but it hasn’t worked. However, it was clear in the final look – a voluminous halter-style denim dress – that she had ultimately perfected the material.

Photos by Getty Images / Shannon Finney

While Hanifa’s virtual show last year visualized curvy silhouettes that aren’t typically included on runway shows, her live presentation deepened her commitment to body inclusion, featuring a diverse cast of models. For Mvuemba, the creation of a world where women see themselves as limitless was woven into the brand – literally and figuratively – and her message shone in every piece that graced the catwalk.

At the end of the show, Mvuemba borrowed the pink carpet in a pleated pistachio green dress with white stitching and a pair of her own “Zoe” boots. As she moved around the dreamlike world she created, she received a standing ovation from the audience, which was made up mostly of black women and men. Shortly thereafter, drinks and small bites were served before guests left for the after party, held on the rooftop of the Eaton Hotel in downtown DC. For the rest of the evening, people celebrated Mvuemba and all the dreams she made, not only for herself, but also for her Hanifa brand and her beloved home.

Check out the rest of Hanifa’s fall 2021 collection from her debut show below.

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