Vogue’s First Fashion Week in Africa Highlights Renewed Interest in the Continent

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For the last 20 years, designers have been heavily mining African influences. Ralph Lauren took his empire to a new level in the ‘90s presenting khaki separates and fragrances in the context of African safari, even as Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2005 collection referenced Irving Penn’s portraiture of indigenous African costumes. But designer and cultural fascination with African-influenced style seems to have reached fever pitch in the last year.

The style blogosphere had a collective orgasm when Beyoncé stepped out with daughter Blue Ivy, rocking box braids and a tribal-print romper; even as the same reporters faithfully chronicle Solange Knowles’ penchant for Afro-luxe looks. Often sporting headwraps and eclectic African prints, Beyoncé’s younger sis, in particular, has led the curve of celebrities and style stars that have embraced Continent-chic. From Anna Wintour to Lady Gaga, Afrique c’est chic.

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