By Blessing Chinwendu Nwankwo
Cancelled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth edition of the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) held again in 2022. The event which took place on the 14th of May at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos was indeed a Night of Glitz and Glamour. Celebrities thrilled us with stunning fashion styles and floor-length hems from designers all across the globe. It is safe to call the AMVCAs the Met Gala of Africa because, although not initially intended to be a fashion night, the AMVCAs still have the biggest fashion display walkway in Africa.
For the first time, the AMVCA hosts a runway show, and this gave a room for the creative minds in the African fashion design space to bloom. The AMVCA red carpet is usually the altar of attention to showcase the glitz, glamour and sometimes weird fashion tastes of our celebs. The addition of an actual fashion show was not then out of place. The “Design for the Stars” competition attached to the runway show is a chance to make new fashion icons in the industry.
The runway show gave room for growing designers to be seen, and have their skills shown to the world. Showcasing their collection on the AMVCA runway were nine designers from the “Design for the Stars” competition: Oseluse Okpamen, Omowunmi Pillot, Sophie Chamberlain, Felix Asuquo, Amy Aghomi, Ikechukwu Nwosu, Azeezat Alawusa, Obinna Omeruo, and Ezioghene Egbelefiyo. Emerging as the winners were the trio of Sophie Chamberlain, Obinna Omeruo, and Felix Asuquo of the Pherla Nuba, Omeruo, and Fai brands respectively. They got each the sum of five million naira for outstanding performance.
With opinions flying around from viewers about dressing to the theme, and matching skin-suiting colours, many fail to understand the need for an elegant, stylish and jaw-dropping outfit.
However, the need to make a fashion statement on the AMVCA red carpet is received differently by attendees as well as their designers. While some celebs deliver grand and luxury, others bring costumes and a bit of drama to our screens. Over the years, fashion goddess, Toyin Lawani, has had her ways of delivering dazzle and drama to our screens, with her gothic fashion making waves and causing a range of mixed feelings across the Internet. This year is no different. Lawani seemed to have upped her game with strong fashion statements as showcased by former BB Naija housemate, Ifu Ennada. Also famous for serving glamorous pieces with fabrics and stitches is Nigerian designer, Mai Atafo, whose skilful tailoring and extraordinary designs have our male celebrities looking like full course meals with dessert. These two, as well as many more African designers, have invested skill and sweat in the growth of fashion and style, in our fashion industry. Atafo earned his place as a judge on the AMVCA fashion showcase.
Afrocritik brings you, in no particular order, a highlight of our top twelve most talked-about outfits that caught viewers’ attention – the bold and controversial pieces as well as the not-so-thrilling pieces from the 2022 AMVCA.
Besides making it in time to the best-dressed nomination booth, and bagging a double win at this year’s edition of the AMVCAs, Osas Ighodaro has been a delight to watch, and her contribution to the growth of the Nollywood industry was deserving of the award for best actress this year. Styled by Nigerian fashion guru, Veekee James, Ighodaro dressed like the star that she is, leaving us stunned with her dazzle. Worth every stitch and tag done, the outfit was red carpet-worthy, and suitable for Ighodaro’s fashion style of “simple and gorgeous.” Owning the silver-gold lace dress like a second skin, Ighodaro slew the look effortlessly with her idealised female figure.
Showing off her neckline in the sea-green bodice dress, Erica Nlewedim looked gorgeous as ever, as she stepped into AMVCA 2022. Serving us class and luxury, Erica was styled by Turkish designer, Patrcja Kujawa, and she came out looking all shades of pretty. The star who gained fame since her episode in the popular reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, in 2020, has since used her newly-acquired fame to build her platform and stay relevant as a Nigerian celebrity. Erica’s look is #MetGala worthy, hence the current fuss it is building on the Internet. American designer, Rachel Zoe, said, “Style is a way to say who you are, without having to speak.” With Erica, we bear witness to this truth.
Although the byline “A lady is never wrong in red” doesn’t suit every woman, I’m convinced it was made for Nengi. The fashion killer who never misses a chance to dish out spicy looks, stepped into AMVCA 2022 looking like hot spicy red pepper, and had the viewers’ hearts in a string. Being her first AMVCA attendance, the BB Naija star made a good first Impression when she stepped onto the red carpet wearing Nigerian designer, Medlin Couture. One look at the detailed beading on the feathery-looking forepart of Nengi’s outfit is proof that the designer understood the assignment. She dressed the luscious Nengi in a perfectly fabricated red dress, stoned and laid out to perfection. These, however, take us away from how perfect the dress looked on Nengi to how perfect Nengi was for the dress.
Looking nothing older than 18, the 31-year-old Denola Grey is a fashion god. The genteel and suave Denola Adepetun continues to bring art to fashion with his styles. Famous for his suits and his impeccable way of styling them, the fashion icon serves looks at every chance. Following his 2020 AMVCA appearance, where he wore a suit inspired by the Bostonian Museum piece, Denola rocks to this year’s red carpet with a three-piece beaded suit, so perfectly tailored it earned him the crown as best-dressed male at the 2022 AMVCAs. Denola’s knowledge of fashion is leveraged in his style, and wearing Nigerian designer, Mai Atafo, the fashion influencer, proves more fascinating than half the men in attendance at this year’s Met Gala.
In dashing gothic vibes, former BB Naija housemate, Ifu Ennada, walked into the AMVCA 2022 wearing the most controversial outfit for the evening. Attested to Toyin Lawani’s bold styles and the fashion statement they stand to make, Ifu had all eyes on her, and beyond the looks for the night, the outfit continues to stir up mud on the star, with many on-lookers attesting her choice of style to the devil. Totally out of context to the original plan, people fail to appreciate “Avant-Garde,” and Toyin Lawani’s style, famous for being unconventional, making her style a trend and subject to public opinions. There is no doubt, however, that the outfit looked a bit off for the event, especially considering the fact the theme didn’t say mask party or Halloween; still, the black costume looked ravishing on Ifu’s light-toned skin.
In the history of the AMVCAs, I have never seen a celebrity wear pink so subtle it could melt your heart. Matheba, the South African TV host, stole the show with her appearance and four outfit changes. Kicking off with a furry high-necked outfit, Bonang looked like a mystical creature in pink; the second outfit – a royal blue floor-length lush dress, made with sequence fabric screamed quality and luxury. The third outfit, although giving “wedding guest” vibes, looked seamless and perfectly tailored to Bonang’s fit body. The last of her four outfits was a white, unconventional suit, bearing crystal adornments and a furry design on the blazer’s shoulders and hemline. Seeing how she pulled off all these is proof that the SA star came prepared to slay.
Wearing designer Sevon Dejana, the Nollywood “soft life king,” Timini, came in with the drip as he gave a Scottish vibe with his unusual style of suit. The blazer, with numerous adornments as well as a print skirt in view beneath it, looked like a piece from the Versace Fall collection of 2015, only this time, it looked more glamorous. Timini whose fashion style is as good as his looks is an asset to male fashion as his style is known for setting trends, especially since he upped the street style at the London Fashion Week, 2019.
The likes of Uti, are the fashion kings of the Nollywood industry because they have not only been there to witness the changes but have contributed immensely to them. Being an old lad in this fashion business, Uti has a way of setting trends for the youngsters. Uti came wearing a blue, body clinging high-neck suit which gave off his built physique, making him look the most stunning. In the piece which matched his tone, the TV host was a delight to watch. Although the suit l tood a bit too uptight for the red carpet, Uti bodied the outfit, and with his throw-in of the trending stitch-braid hairstyle, he ate up this look by Caesar Couture
Asogwa should be featured in XtraBrides of Lagos, because her look spoke glitz and glamour. From the tie-knot neckline, the mesh cut-outs, the matching hem, to the crystal embellishment on the pretty blue dress, Alexandra owned the look and rocked it so well. Ensuring the outfit is the point of focus, she opted for a mild makeup look – glossy lip and a low-braid bun, completely serving a bride-to-be look. Her caption on Instagram – “One thing sure, when I decide to show up, I do it correct” – is completely justified in this look, as she captured the hearts of viewers. This is the content we signed up for. We love our dresses gorgeous and extra.
When you search for controversial celebrities in Nigeria, Mike Nwogu’s name is likely to pop up because of his incessant dramatic appearance to social events, and his style of always giving the Internet something to talk about. The socialite who made an appearance with his pet – a lamb – came dressed in a hand-drawn illustration of Lagos, featuring the yellow buses, masquerades, and market sellers. The outfit speaks volumes and makes me realise how unappreciated Toyin Lawani is as a designer because her pieces are next-level art, total Met Gala standard. However, I had mixed feelings about Mike’s choice to wear a headpiece, as it made him look like a human replica of the Lagos-Ikoyi bridge.
With his taste in over-the-top fashion, the celebrity TV host is famous for his styles. Living rent-free in our heads is Ebuka’s stunning look from the AMVCA red carpet where he was the host alongside Toke Makinwa. Toke had complimented Ebuka on his fashion style and how much she appreciates a man who isn’t scared of colours. Looking ravishing in his turquoise tuxedo from Mai Atafo, the star made a second appearance with another outfit from the same designer – a deep blue seamless Italian suit, which had an elaborate wide lapel, printed in white to complement the flapless pockets and button lines. This look is a total red-carpet style, I could photoshop Ebuka and place him on the Met Gala red carpet, and he would not look out of place.
Some say bad publicity isn’t strategic, but that’s a lie in Nigeria. Simi Drey has been on the radar of opinionated viewers since she attended the AMVCA show all wrapped in black, a similar concept to Kim Kardashian’s 2021 Met Gala style – a head-to-toe all-black Balenciaga outfit. Drey however did a recreation of this look and got a lot of backlashes from viewers. The attack was mostly on how the outfit designed by Whitney Black was unsuitable for the climatic condition of Nigeria. This is quite similar to the blast former BB Naija housemate, Emmanuel Umoh, received for wearing a mask to the Tecno BB Naija party in October 2021. A bright side to the drag about Drey’s outfit, however, is that she gained free publicity and trended on Twitter, hence an exposure for endorsement deals. I wouldn’t wear a mask to any event in this hot, populated Lagos, but I’m not against her outfit, either. It’s her style and her choice.
The award show was a thrill for days, and mostly for the fashion looks it served. Singer, Yemi Alade, and fashion influencer, Denrele Edun, gave us a show to remember with their runway walk for Lush Hair. The duo did a fashionable comedic walk which had the crowd excited. The AMVCA has taken it up a notch, and standards have been raised. We are all but curious to know what the 9th edition will bring. We are even more excited to see the designers in Nigeria’s fashion industry give us drop-dead gorgeous styles in the next edition.
Blessing Chinwendu Nwankwo, an accountant, writer and beauty enthusiast, who also has a passion for travel photography, is currently serving in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Connect with her on Instagram @bee_patrick_