Atafo SS24 Sartorial Reverie
The Sartorial Reverie show kicked off by taking us on a cultural journey, with the first set of outfits paying homage to the Benin culture. This collection is a tribute to Mai’s roots in the Edo culture, and marked its debut on the international runway. It commenced with the traditional Benin gown and seamlessly transitioned to a modern adaptation. Male models showcased meticulously draped bottoms and stylishly crafted tops in trendy colours like red, grey, and brown. This theme was extended to the women’s attire, too.
Following that, we were treated to the iconic Atafo bridal collection, which is a signature of the brand. This time, the focus was on civil weddings, a less emphasised aspect in the fashion industry. Mai underlined the importance of looking stunning at civil weddings, not just traditional ones. He encouraged self-expression, stating, “You don’t always need a fully beaded dress; you can opt for a cute, stylish dress that lets you express yourself freely.” This expression was vividly demonstrated in the array of dresses on the runway, featuring exaggerated bow details on blazer dresses, suit sets with sheer trains, and delicate, chic pieces.
The casual line of the collection was a major hit with the audience. It featured monogrammed t-shirts, matching sets, and pleated items like shorts, pants, and maxi skirts. Guests were excited about getting their hands on these pieces, proudly supporting ATAFO. Mai modestly acknowledges that this is a key brand objective, stating, “When people want to wear your logo on their chest, on their bodies, it means it holds significant meaning for them, and that’s a remarkable achievement.”
In translating their core elements and designs of menswear into more versatile pieces to tell a story, Atafo adapted cotton into denim and striped fabrics to make t-shirts. They also took a gentler approach with their tailored women’s designs, featuring a greater variety of skirts, including pleated and long styles. For the jackets and blouses, there were a lot of custom prints, and the brand experimented with bodysuits as well. Some of the designs with skirts were pretty genius. “We had what I’ll call an interesting innovation, which was a merger of a skirt and a jacket at the bottom to create a one-piece for girls, which hasn’t been done anywhere so it was interesting to do”.