I never can pass up an opportunity to turn a red carpet green, especially when it’s a premiere of one of Colin’s films, as this was where the Green Carpet Challenge started. His new movie, The Railway man, premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, so I decided I had to wear something extra special. A pilar of the Green Carpet Challenge and our seamstress extraordinaire, Ms Minetti, used some beautiful Aso Oke fabric and created a classic design I can wear again and again, inspired by my fashion icons – Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jackie O. The Aso Oke fabric is hand spun by the Yoruba people of Nigeria; decades old, the craft supports their community and maintains their traditional way of life.
We sourced the fabric from inspirational young designer and the runner-up of last year’s Ethical Award at Graduate Fashion Week, Shola Ajayi. This fabric is mainly used for ceremonial purposes like engagement, naming, and chieftaincy ceremonies, but due to the introduction of foreign yarns from Japan, Tunisia, Italy and China, local hand spun yarns of cotton and silk are not used any more, which adversely affects the economic life of this trade. Reviving the use of Aso Oke encourages economic growth, empowerment of women and improved living conditions.
“My inspiration comes from Louis Vuitton’s quote ‘every journey begins in Africa’ and Vivienne Westwood’s “Made in Africa” awareness, which led into a deeper investigation of giving back to Africa,” said Shola.
For the accessories, I re-used my Roger Vivier clutch from the 2011 Oscars, when Colin won an Oscar for his performance in The King’s Speech, and I went for the Roger Vivier shoes I wore to the London premiere of A Single Man in 2009. I of course topped off the whole outfit with a glamorous pair of Chopard earrings.