style now – into Africa  

Trending Now or you could say “finally” as it only takes a matter of time for what has

Bustier - Emilio Pucci S/S 2014

Bustier – Emilio Pucci S/S 2014

been in fashion somewhere in the world for centuries to make its way over to this hemisphere.

Masai Handiwork

Masai Handiwork

On this side of the globe Masai and other African fabrics are having a fashion moment, but maybe it will last longer than a Paris or New York Minute

More Emilio Pucci S/S

Emilio Pucci Spring/Summer 2014

Last week I posted about wearing beads and shells in “going global” but this is different. Summer weather always brings out a certain amount of shell and beaded belongings but mostly in shoes and other accessories.  I bought a t-shirt with a shelled collar that was not the norm a few years ago. But now the Spring/Summer runways were featuring traditional “Masai” fashion incorporated into daily wear like dresses, skirts, jackets and even a bustier as seen at on the Emilio Pucci S/S runway (photo above).  And why not?   Not only is it fun and colorful, but it has a rich history behind it. So along with fringe, art prints and florals, the shows featured Masai embellished beading for all kinds of  clothing along with other African prints.

I bought so many pairs of these leather/beaded sandals in Tanzania.

I bought several pairs of these leather/beaded sandals in Tanzania – all one of a kind.

Some History:  The Masai have been creating bead jewelry for a long time, well before their first contact with Europeans. Beadwork has been an important part of Masai culture for many years. The women set aside time every day to meet and work on beaded jewelry which includes colorful necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. It is considered the duty of every Masai women to learn the jewelry making craft. All the tribes beadwork is made by the women but is worn by both women and men. The jewelry they create is not only beautiful but also has important cultural significance. The beadwork an individual wears will signify their age and social status. Generally individuals of high social standing will wear more colorful and intricate jewelry. Beads also serve as an important source of income for the Masai. Tourist visiting the Masai regions in Kenya and northern Tanzania will find many beautiful pieces for sale that make great gifts for both women and men.

A beaded clutch

A beaded clutch

masai6These are a few examples of how beading was incorporated into the shows.  Keep in mind these are obviously over the top.  I can’t see anyone in my city dressing this way unless they put beading on fleece.  I would carry the clutch bag, wear a wide beaded belt, sandals and some beading here and there on clothing but certainly not all together and not masai1 (3)to excess.  masai4masai3

Louis Vuitton's take on the traditional Masai blanket.

Louis Vuitton‘s take on the traditional Masai blanket.

What would you wear?

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