Tia Adeola kicked off New York Fashion Week in true Tia style. With a melodic R&B soundtrack, signature ethereal Adeola flair, and a diverse model cast.
As guests enter the Prince George Ballroom, calming melodies floated through the air as a harpist plays familiar covers of songs like “Telepatía” by Kali Uchis and “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R. Wearing a pearl-white ruffled Tia Adeola (fka Slashed by Tia) original and donning exquisitely sculpted baby hairs, harpist Lizzie Cohee Steiner welcomes guests. Her peaceful yet fierce presence – a metaphor for Adeola’s designs in itself.
No detail is spared. The grand ballroom is lined with gold gilded seating to match the emerald and gold gilded cathedral columns. Guests turn their heads upwards to find beautifully painted ceilings reminiscent of a chapel as if to say “Welcome all. Church is in session”.
As friends and fans file in on a pristine white carpeted runway, the show before the show begins. Attendees strut to their seats in vibrant garments and quite a few Tia Adeola originals.
The lights dim and the show begins. Ella Fitzgerald’s “My Funny Valentine” echoes through the room as a silver-haired model donning a feathered caftan-style gown glides down the runway. Adeola is known for using luxe feathers in her designs. They are expertly placed in look one gracefully draws eyes to the wearer’s face.
Look two is more risqué; a semi-sheer two-piece pants set with tousled feathers accenting the pants hem and a low-rise hip line paired with a triangle-shaped bralette making the whole look reminiscent of the 2000s meets the 70s vibe.
As the pieces take on a more colorful, eccentric look, the cinematic song transforms. We hear an uptempo funky Afrobeats track titled “Sorrow Tears and Blood” by Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti.
Looks three through eight introduce a refreshing pale blue and pink color palette to the collection. My personal favorite look, look number five, is a two-piece blazer + mini dress set featuring a pale blue gingham pattern. It is playful and childlike down to the models’ adorable double-buns and fresh Nike AF1 sneakers.
A crowd favorite was look number 21. A pale blue ruffled mini skirt with sheer paneling at the hem was paired with a pristine white faux fur top hanging off the models’ shoulders. Then topped with a blush pink sculpted headpiece. It was reminiscent of the magnificent geles worn by Nigerian women (true to Adeola’s background). As well as similar to church hats worn by African American women for special occasions. The model gives a knowing nod as the crowd is audibly impressed.
Look number 29 comes down the runway to Flo Milli’s unreleased track, “PBC”. The fierce, fearless lyrics “Pretty for a what?! Pretty for a who?!” are a perfect match for the design. – a slip dress that features bold black cursive text down the front that reads “You were supposed to protect us”. It is a message to the Nigerian government. Adeola is not one to shy away from activism within fashion. After being silenced for speaking out in support of the End-SARS movement, which aims to end police corruption and abuse of power in her home country of Nigeria, Tia channeled her feelings into her work. Tia says, “With this collection, I share my thoughts and my opinions through my apparel, unhindered.”
With 32 looks in total, the Autumn/Winter 2022 collection transforms classic pieces like ruffle sleeved tops, slip dresses, and peddle pushers. The collection even featured two bridal looks complete with veil and fascinator.
The hairstyling (by Lurissa Ingrid Hair) pays homage to Black Fashion history. We saw styles like the classic beehive, a 3-part Afro puff with nameplate earrings adorning each section. As well as intricate braids coiffed as if they were sculptures atop the models’ heads.
Adeola made her New York Fashion Week debut just one year ago. That show highlighted the regality and elegance within the intricacies of black fashion and beauty. Starting fashion week this year, her show highlighted the versatility and softness within black fashion and beauty.