The famous American designer Vera Wang once said, “I want people to see the dress, but focus on the woman”. Our designer spotlight is on the Mozambican designer Taibo Bacar. He owes his success to his gift for accentuating a woman’s natural attributes. That is to say, he designs outfits that show them off to the best advantage.
Taibo Bacar has established a high fashion brand that is classic and unique. It celebrates the beauty and essence of the African woman. Here is why his creations are divinely inspiring, and how Taibo Bacar rose to become one of the leading brands in Africa.
The Taibo Bacar ”Divine Feminine” Campaign
Early in 2020, Taibo Bacar launched a campaign entitled ‘The Divine Feminine”. The brand based their mantra on a quote from the Tantra teacher Michaela Boehm that partly says,
‘’If you have a feminine essence, you love the chaotic swirl of life, nature, bliss, color, texture, flavor, and communion. You love to relate, exchange, dance, celebrate, adorn and deepen into the fullness of existence.”
Boehm is a firm believer in the need to bring divine feminine energy to life. Moreover, this is achieved through, amongst other things, self-care, new experiences, and the effort to live your best life.
Celebration of the Femininity in Every Woman
After the launch of the campaign, Taibo Bacar invited celebrities from South Africa, Angola, and Mozambique to act as brand ambassadors. Their mission was to showcase the designs at different events. When the designer put together the collection, his vision was to recreate the glamorous looks of the ’50s. Hence, it consists of a mesmerizing array of gowns made from lush fabrics like lace, chiffon, and silk. In addition, the accessories consist of elaborate beaded headpieces that were common in that era, accompanied by delicate lace.
First African Brand to showcase at the Milan Fashion Week
Twice annually, fashion lovers converge in Milan for the fashion week. The Milan Fashion Week is one of four such leading events globally. The other three take place in London, Paris, and New York. Subsequently, during each season, leading fashion houses showcase their creations in over 40 shows. In 2011, Taibo Bacar was the first African brand to participate in the show. He presented a colorful, carefree collection that portrayed the vivid hues of his homeland.
The Struggle Continues
In 2014, Taibo Bacar presented another memorable collection at the Mercedes Benz fashion week that was held at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. The name of the collection was ‘A Luta Continua’ Portuguese for “the struggle continues”. This was the rallying call of the FRELIMO movement when the fight for independence was in progress.
The collection has a 60’s vibe, and it symbolized new beginnings. The onset of independence brought about both opportunities as well as challenges. The collection presented had an interesting blend of textures ranging from smooth organza to rough tweeds. The gowns carried beading and embroidery embellishments.
How it all started
Born in Mozambique in 1985, Taibo Bacar’s mother was a seamstress. This explains his early foray into fashion. From a young age, Bacar assisted his mother to design outfits for her clients. When he was a teenager, he moved to Spain to study the elements for design.
In 2008 together with the former model and fashion model Tatiana Ismael, Bacar founded the fashion label. It has since acquired a reputation for elegance and style and attained international acclaim. Here are samples of some of their unique designs.
The Taibo Bacar Fall/Winter 2013 collection celebrates the traditional ‘capulana’ fabric. The above creation is a blend of two different prints merged together with white lace accents. It is not only a blend of fabrics but also a blend of traditional and contemporary cultures.
Capulana is a traditional cloth worn in Mozambique and is similar to other popular ‘African’ fabrics worn across the continent such as wax cloth and kitenge. This elegant off-the-shoulder creation has a sweetheart neckline and embroidered bodice. The only accessory is a matching clutch in an identical print.
This rich textured gown in earthy tones has shoulder pads reminiscent of a bygone era. It has a flowing easy silhouette and a cinched-in waistline. The wide cuffs on the sleeve give it a unique, edgy look.
A sleek silhouette that is the essence of feminity, the above creation has a flawless cut. The sleeves have a whimsical look about them, and the mermaid paneled skirt displays timeless elegance.
Edgy Contemporary Looks from Taibo Bacar’s 2020 Collection
The above ensembles are from the Taibo Bacar 2020 collection. The stunning wrap dresses are made out of silk sateen. The prints are tantalizing, and the gowns have feminine flounces along the skirt edges.
This slim-fitting outfit in fern green is a delightful example of Bacar’s celebration of the female form. It has tiny cap sleeves that are pleated and a beautiful cream embellishment that runs across the neckline and down one side of the bodice. This is understated elegance at its best.
The Taibo Bacar ready-to-wear line is versatile as is evident from the about samples from the 2020 collection. It is young and fresh and appeals to the trendy, modern woman.
A Celebrity Rocking One of Taibo Bacar’s Creations
Sarah Langa of South Africa was one of the celebrities invited to support the ”Divine Feminine” campaign. Above, she rocks the feminine look in extravagant organza embellished with delicate beadwork.
Taibo Bacar’s Celestial Headbands
In line with the Taibo Bacar mantra of divine feminity, the brand showcases glamorous beaded headbands that will transform any woman into a queen.
Yet another of the design house’s ornate headdresses. This one features a ring of oversized pearls lining another comprising of silver-grey beads. The beadwork is echoed on the neckline of the dress as well as the sleeve. Black leather gloves stylishly finish off this iconic look.
A successful designer is one who makes a woman feel good about herself. The Taibo Bacar brand upholds the essence of a woman with class and elegance. A woman who dons their creations is a strong woman who confidently holds her head high. In an interview with Aphiwe Fredericks of IOL Bacar was asked whether he had any advice for young people seeking to break into the industry. His words of wisdom were brief and to the point.
‘’Be true to yourselves and work very hard for your goals.’’