Esé Azénabor Wows Fashion Week with “Garden of Eden” Showcase, SS ’16

Photo: courtesy of Thomas Garza Photography

Known for her elaborate embroidery, beadwork, and multi-cultural inspirations, Esé Azénabor is a rising star in the world of fashion. We were lucky enough to snag front row seats to the young designer’s Spring 2016 showcase at Manhattan’s Affinia Hotel, as part of New York Fashion Week. Her “Garden of Eden” collection featured a stunning array of textures and silhouettes. From the white chiffon jumpsuit with its luxurious, beaded belt and sharp, masculine shoulders to the exquisitely draped, off-the-shoulder, silky golden goddess gown, each piece in this collection evoked a celebration of nature, color, and the power of the female form.

Photo: courtesy of Thomas Garza Photography

Azénabor cites a combination of vintage, African, Egyptian, and contemporary European influences as her inspiration for this collection. The “Garden of Eden” theme struck us as daring and ambitious, but the show that she sent down the runway presented itself as sleek and flawless, thanks to Azénabor’s masterful editorial eye and meticulous attention to detail. The digitally printed fabrics and extravagant beadwork came together to variously hug and expose the most fascinating angles of the models’ bodies. The effect was joyful, playful, and definitely Haute-Couture.

“The simplest garment took me four weeks to finish,”Azénabor told us after the show. “But the entire collection took me six months. Just for the New York Fashion Week collection, I worked everyday nonstop.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this collection is that it is Azénabor’s second time to showcase at NYFW. She only presented her debut Fall/Winter collection earlier this year, at Fashion Week in February, but she already carries herself like a seasoned pro.

“This was definitely one of my smoothest shows ever!” she said. “Usually I’m backstage for the show. I care for the back, I care for the runway. This time was, ‘Go, go.’ That’s what I love. That it came out that way.”

We look forward to seeing more work from this talented young force. Our favorite pieces from this collection included the heavily embroidered, blood-orange and sumptuous, jungle-violet mini-dress with long sleeves, golden epaulettes and dangerously plunging neckline and the elegant black chiffon dress, with its demure golden roses.

For more looks from the collection, see the slideshow below:

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Photos are courtesy of Thomas Garza Photography. Sponsors include handbag designer Allison Mitchell and sunglasses designer Enerjiee by Sherine.

-by Rachel Veroff and Arianna Levesque