As soon as Xuly Bet’s Paris collection appeared on the Pret-a-Porter runway at the Louvre in 1999, the audience went wild. Everyone knew Lamine Kouyate, designer of the line, had created a smash hit collection and that he was here to stay. Born in Bamako, Mali, the son of a diplomat and doctor, Kouvate was educated at the Architecture School of Strasbourg, France. Known for recycled clothing, he opened a store in New York on Orchard Street in 1997. For fall-winter 2016-17, his rags-to-riches story continues to play out in a grand, glitzy yet glamorous way.
Fashion folks were just as excited here in New York last Wednesday when Xuly Bet showed an outrageously, over-the-top show at the Gallery at Skylight Clarkson Square for New York Fashion Week. All of the VIP fashion folks, including Constance White, Beth Ann Hardison, Bill Cunningham and Nigel Barker of “America’s Top Model”, were on hand to meet and greet this friendly designer after the show.
In the collection, there were many looks from the ’70s, like high-heeled platform boots, that were shown with every outfit, long or short. Legs glittered and leggings were tight. Bomber jackets and pants added a sporty effect. The looks were street savvy yet sassy. Skirts fit to a fashion T. There were lots of silver and gold touches. An oversized aviator flight-suit looked smart and comfortable. Empire waist dresses were pretty, as were interesting print sheaths with long sleeves. Most of his lengths were just below the knee. Lovely hair styles were mostly braided in natural styles. As usual, beautiful models strutted their stuff.
For great-looking makeup, the credit goes to Black Opal. In styles, there was a military influence mixed with architectural forms and details. However, the Afro and braided hair dos, the high-heel platform boots and the overall glamour in Xuly Bet’s collection offered a glimpse of the “Shaft” era with Black glamour, street chic and fashions on the Ritz.
Hooray! Xuly Bet is here in New York again, and he brings back the ’70s fashion furor! This designer’s collection is every bit of what the Xuly Bet name brand means, so keep your eyes open. Good Show!