Patience Torlowei, founder and creative director of Torlowei, an all-encompassing fashion house in Lagos, Nigeria, and Patience Please, Nigeria’s first registered lingerie manufacturers, has been featured in Legendary American Vogue Editor Andre Leon Talley’s fashion industry shaking memoir, The Chiffon Trenches. The biography covers the life and career of the former Editor-at-Large at Vogue Magazine and judge of the wildly popular television show, America’s Next Top Model, who was once described as the most influential black man in fashion globally, and sheds light on a time when the great masters of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Halston were at their peak.
In the book, Talley celebrates the couture Swiss broderie anglaise agbada made exclusively for him by Patience Torlowei. He describes the bespoke piece “proudly”, worn by him for a special presentation at NeueHouse with Tonne Goodman (Vogue Fashion Editor), on the evening of Karl Lagerfeld’s Memorial in Paris, as “opulently embroidered and flowing like a Baptist’s Summer garb.” The mention brings to light the collaborative nature of their deep friendship.
The pair first met in April 2019 during the Arise Fashion Week, which Talley had been personally invited to by fashion icon, Naomi Campbell. They were introduced after Talley admired an intricate silk and lace camisole worn by Patience Torlowei’s daughter, during a panel discussion on the global fashion industry and the screening of his documentary, The Gospel According to André. The conversation about the garment led to a meeting between Andre Leon Talley and Patience Torlowei and the birth of their friendship. He wanted to see the brand, which aims to capture the true essence and mystery of femininity while staying true to its African heritage elevated to the global arena.
Later that year, Talley hosted an intimate dinner in honour and celebration of Torlowei’s achievements in fashion. The dinner was attended by fashion and media industry insiders, including Tonne Goodman (Vogue Fashion Editor), Wendy Goodman (New York Magazine Editor), Robin Givhan (Washington Post Fashion Editor), Lola Ogunnaike, Sharon Chuter (UOMA Beauty), Candace Marie (Blogger), Irene Akufo-Addo, Vanessa Prempreh, Stephanie Horton (Alexander Wang) and Aba Kwawu (TAA PR).
One of the great achievements celebrated by Talley was Patience’s creation of the “Esther dress”, a hand painted silk ball gown, which is the first and only piece of couture to be included in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art’s permanent collection. The “Esther dress” is on display in Washington DC until July 2020 as part of the “I AM...” exhibit, a celebration of female contemporary artists from Africa.
Of the honour, Patience Torlowei said “meeting André has been one of the most divine moments in my life. From being someone, I used to see on television and the magazines from afar, to coming to this point where a true legend on earth chose to host me, small me from an even smaller village in the Niger Delta, to this powerful dinner with all these powerful players in the international fashion circuit. I’m still lost for words.”
The luxury fashion brand, Torlowei, continues its mission to become a major player on the global fashion scene. The sustainable fashion brand has recently been featured on CNN and the BBC for being the first Nigerian fashion brand to produce face masks in support of the country’s fight against the Corona Virus Pandemic and their ongoing efforts to support vulnerable communities through what is universally acknowledged to be the most traumatic global event in living memory.