Marie Claire Nigeria had the inside scoop at the ATAFO SS24 show – “Sartorial Reverie.” We got an exclusive look at the fabrics, pleats, and logomania set to hit the runway. Plus, we went behind the scenes with model fittings and chatted with Mai Atafo, the creative genius.

The grand show at Eko Hotel in Lagos drew 800 guests, including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Adesua & Banky Wellington, and Shaffy Bello, for an inclusive fashion experience. Mai Atafo connected with everyone, making it an unforgettable event.

Editor’s first impressions

“With every collection, we always stay true to our core, which is sartorial craftsmanship and amazing tailoring, and that’s the core of everything we do.”

ATAFO’s SS24 collection impressively blends cotton to create a range of captivating fabrics and textures, combining historical and modern elements to suit diverse fashion preferences. During a close-up look before the show, I admired the impeccable craftsmanship, high-quality materials, and exceptional finishing. One standout was a brown outfit, offering a unique twist on traditional Benin men’s clothing for women, with a velvety regal touch.

The models effortlessly embodied the collection, making it easy to envision wearing these garments for various occasions. I even chatted with Sonia Barbie Tucker, a renowned New York-based fashion model, who shared my appreciation for the intricate details in these carefully designed pieces. The entire journey, from conception to production of the Sartorial Reverie collection, which took two months and involved some last-minute stitching, resulted in a flawless show.

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”.

The Atafo Guests

The show was a stunning experience, from the lively cocktail lounge to the culturally rich runway collection.

As exclusive media partners, our Marie Claire Nigeria photo booth was a big hit. Guests captured fun moments on Polaroid, creating tangible memories of their time at the show. Couples and friends posed against a lovely floral backdrop, interacting with the Marie Claire team. Many even returned for more personal content after the show.

Mai Atafo’s remarkable connection with the fashion audience was evident in their respect and unwavering support. He keeps this relationship intimate, making sure every guest feels valued. Mai’s presence before and after the show, mingling with guests, reinforced this bond.

The show’s success was attributed to the sponsors who believed in Mai’s vision and his exceptional all-female team, who executed it flawlessly. Mai Atafo said, “If they hadn’t come on board, believed in my vision, and saw value in what I had to give in return, this wouldn’t have been possible”.

Check out the images to see the guests’ joy and fun at the event!

Photo Credit; Marie Claire Nigeria. ATAFO.


  • Wumi 'Tuase

    Fashion & Beauty Editor. Wumi holds a PR major with over a decade experience in the media; from print to broadcast and now digital media. Fashion is her passion and she sees Beauty in everything. Some of her favorite things are: a two piece set, white wine, beach days, thrift shopping & cheesy romcoms.