DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Cameroonian Designer Claude Kameni Is Behind Viola Davis’ Buzzing Outfit At The Golden Globe

Claude Kameni
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Claude Kameni rocks one of her creations
African Designer Claude Kameni rocks one of her creations (Image credit: Claude Lavie Kameni)

The Golden Globe Awards is one of the biggest events in the entertainment industry. This high-profile event attracts millions of viewers from all over the world. Consequently, the event has become a valuable platform—not only for movie stars—but for designers to showcase their creations.

The 2021 Golden Globes Award was held on Monday 1st March 2021. However, Viola Davis’ outfit by African designer, Claude Kameni is still buzzing. Today, we want to take you through the world of Claude Kameni, who she is, and her background.

A breath of fresh air at the 2021 Golden Globes Award

Viola Davis’ dressing at the 2021 Golden Globes Award demonstrates her support for marginalized black artists. The entertainment industry in the United States often faces criticism for its lack of diversity and racial exclusion. Therefore, seeing an artist that is brave enough to challenge the norm is always refreshing.

Viola Davis selected a one-of-a-kind sensational gown by Claude Kameni of Lavie by CK. The African designer worked together with Viola’s stylist Elizabeth Stewart to craft a custom-made mermaid off-the-shoulder gown in enchanting shades of maroon and yellow. In an interview with British Vogue, Elizabeth Stewart throws light into Viola Davis’ vision,

“Viola wanted a designer who spoke to her specifically as a Black woman. Her look is all about rethinking glamour and couture on the red carpet in the age of diversity and inclusivity. It’s still an arena that needs cultural specificity.’


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A post shared by Claude Kameni (@laviebyck)


Who is Claude Kameni?

This young emerging African designer was born in Cameroon in 1994. Her family relocated to the United States when she was 8 years old.  Guided by YouTube videos, Kameni started sewing at the age of 17. This was when her aunt gave her a small sewing machine.

Her initial efforts were far from promising. However, when she enrolled in a fashion class in high school where she was able to fine-tune her skills. Finally, her determination bore fruit and she presented her first collection at the school talent show.

The Birth of an African Designer

After Kameni graduated from High School, she left Washington DC and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream. As she went into the design business, she drew inspiration from memories of her childhood in Cameroon. This infused her with the desire to promote African textiles and flaunt their beauty, displaying them in a modern light.

Lavie by CK

Claude Kameni’s fashion label, Lavie by CK, is inclusive. It caters to both men and women and the designs are made to suit all skin and body types. The word Lavie is from the French word for ‘life’. It is a reflection of the fact that the art of design is this African designer’s passion. It is part of her life. The label boldly and unapologetically features West African textiles and prints. Lavie’s signature look features the liberal use of colors and rich flowing fabrics. Her styles are eye-catching and dramatic.

Claude Kameni at the New York Fashion Week

On September 15th, 2020, Lavie by CK live-streamed their spring 2021 collection to the New York Fashion Week. Also, Kameni opted to use all black models for the event. It was digitally presented to 6.6 million subscribers worldwide.

The reception of the exciting and vibrant collection was warm and enthusiastic. It showcased figure-hugging creations with outsized shoulder pads, elegant wide-leg pants reminiscent of 80’s fashion, and bold colors and patterns.  As a result of this successful showing, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) named Kameni one of the most influential black designers to watch in 2021.

Some of Her Eye Catching Designs

Design #1 

This creation is aptly named ‘Royal Wedding’. It is exquisitely crafted, and the royal purple color is woven into the beautiful Kente cloth. The full skirt tumbles down in extravagant folds from a cinched waistline.

Claude Kameni
Photo credit: Instagram @LavieByCK

Design #2

A stunning display of vibrant African textiles. An unapologetically African look that is attention-grabbing. Note the dramatic sleeves and form-fitting cut of this creation. The colors are bold, in shades of brown, rust, and orange.

Claude Kameni
Image credit:

Design #3

This creation ‘Queen Zoma’ showcases Lavie’s famous touch of drama. Beginning from the unique headgear, the flowing cape, and embroidered chiffon, this is the epitome of cutting-edge fashion.

Claude Kameni
Image credit: Instagram @LavieByCK

Design #4

This is ‘Queen Kerlatana’, a member of the Royal house as is evident in the striking green and purple prints. She is in a form-fitting gown with a slit on the side. A matching headwrap completes the look.
African designer Lavie by CK creates masterpieces
Image credit: Instagram @LavieByCK

Design #5

This stunner is from her Royal Wedding collection. From the colors to the fit, every beautifully designed detail captures the allure and beauty of an African woman.

Claude Kameni
Photo credit: LaviebyCK

The African Designer that dresses Hollywood Celebrities

Claude Kameni has a reputation for producing original, show-stopping, striking looks for the red carpet.  Her cultural background gives her an edge over other designers. Thus, her creations stand out as novel and unique.  Consequently, numerous A-list stars have rocked her designs. Among them are Porsha Williams, Kelly Rowland, Bria Myles, Amanda Seales, and Tracee Ellis Ross. See how some of these celebrities look in Claude Kameni’s designs.

Viola Davis in Ankara

The African Designer Claude Kameni's creation that was showcased at the Golden Globes
Viola Davis (Image credit: Instagram @laviebyck)

This is the gown that made headlines at the Golden Globe Awards. It is simple but elegant and the mermaid ruffle at the bottom lends it that special touch of glamour.


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Jennifer Lewis in Ankara

Jennifer Lewis who plays the part of Ruby on the comedy series ‘Blackish’ wore this traditional gown to her on-screen wedding. It is exquisitely tailored and feminine with a dash of edgy style evident in the trousers underneath.

Claude Kameni designed Jeniffer Lewis's wedding dress
Jennifer Lewis rocking Kameni’s design (Image credit: Instagram @laviebyck)

Tracee Ellis in Ankara

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross wore this stunning African traditional outfit to the 2018 American Music Awards. The mermaid style accentuates her figure, and it has a daringly plunging neckline and dramatic ruffled sleeves.
Claude Kameni is one of the African designers stars run to for stunning red carpet outfits
Tracee Ellis Ross dazzling in Lavie by CK (Image credit: Claude Lavie Kameni)

Janet Jackson in Ankara

Claude Kameni
Janet Jackson wearing one of Lavie by CK designs (Image credit: Instagram @LavieByCK)

Claude Kameni’s outfit for Janet Jackson remains a stunner many years after its first public appearance. The elaborate beadwork and accompanying accessories display an undisputed African flavor.


Although Claude Kameni is only 26, she has earned the reputation of a ‘celebrity stylist’. However, her fame will not be possible if celebrities like Viola Davis did not put her in the spotlight. Sadly, we are yet to see this relationship with African designers and celebrities on the continent. This partnership is important and Viola Davis perfectly captures it in an Instagram post.

“The journey of a Black artist is littered with obstacles in creating, developing, and being acknowledged for our work. If we continue to keep silent, the younger generation of artists will have the exact same load to carry”

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